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Game Grades: Bengals at Raiders

Full box score here.

Pass Offense: Don’t be fooled by the almost respectable stats. Derek Carr went 7-for-12 for 61 yards before hurting his hand trying to stiff-arm Pacman Jones (who should have been ejected several plays earlier for his assault on Amari Cooper, but that’s another story). Matt McGloin was 23-31-142, with 2 TDs and 1 INT, but all well after the game was out of reach. (The total between both QBs is just under five yards per attempt on average.) The Raiders did not start an offensive play beyond the 50-yard line until the fourth quarter. Amari Cooper looked very good in his rookie outing, showing the poise and great hands that got him picked 4th overall this spring. Michael Crabtree had a couple of clutch catches. Marcel Reece caught both of McGloin’s TD passes. Grade: D+

Rush Offense: Latavius Murray averaged 4.0 yards per carry, which sounds decent, until you see that that means 44 yards on 11 carries. The Raiders could not generate sustained drives until garbage time, and by then they had to abandon the run. There simply wasn’t enough to get a decent assessment on line push and run blocking, not to mention rushing. Grade: C-

Pass Defense: What pass defense? Oakland’s pass rush generated no sacks, allowing Andy Dalton to carve up the Raiders secondary at will, going 25-34-269, with 2 TDs and no interceptions. Tight end Tyler Eifert, who missed almost the entire season last year, had 9 receptions for 104 yards and 2 TDs, frequently on basic seam routes that kept confounding the Raiders’ secondary. DJ Hayden continues to be a liability, alternating between getting burned in coverage and blatantly molesting AJ Green to prevent a touchdown (which of course gave the Bengals a fresh set of downs inside the Raiders’ 5-yard line). Either a true pass rush is going to have to develop to take pressure off the secondary, or one or more of the DBs is going to have to step up. Otherwise this team is going nowhere. The offense is simply not built to get into shootout-type games.Grade: D-

Rush Defense: Running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard gashed the Raiders defensive line early and often. A key early play was on the Bengals first scoring drive, when the went for it on 4th-and-goal from the 1, and Hill ran around the left side, leaving linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong grasping at air. I don’t know what Sio Moore did to get in the doghouse of the current coaching staff, but it’s not like the LB corps is any better without him. Hill and Bernard totaled 126 yards on 27 carries (4.67 yds/carry), not catastrophic but not exactly much of an improvement either. Grade: D

Special Teams: Kicking and punt returns were serviceable enough, which given the other facets of the game almost qualifies as a bright spot. Marquette King set a league record for number of punts last season, and it would probably be a good idea to keep his leg in shape this time around as well. Most of his six punts were fine, though he shanked the first one. Sebastian Janikowski had no field goal attempts. Grade: C

Coaching: During the course of the game, Derek Carr, Nate Allen, and Charles Woodson left with injuries. Until the extent of those injuries is known, it’s tough to say what head coach Jack Del Rio and his crew have signed up for. But this was a thoroughly underwhelming inaugural outing in all phases. The offense had trouble gaining first downs, and never even crossed the 50-yard line until the end of the 3rd quarter. The infield dirt of Oakland Coliseum, the last such intrusion of a baseball diamond on an NFL field, serves as a middle finger throughout. It would be one thing if the Raiders could use the dirt as a tactical advantage over other teams, but they’re as prone to it as anyone else. It is an obstacle to be dealt with, and this is not a team built to handle obstacles.

The condition of the field is bullshit, but it’s not the fault of the coaching staff. What is the coaching staff’s problem is that they fielded a team that was clearly underprepared and overmatched. The Bengals, no doubt exhorted by their offensive coordinator (and former Oakland head coach) Hue Jackson, came out strong right from the start on both offense and defense. The Raiders did not seem to have that sense of urgency on either side of the ball, and failed to execute at critical moments.

The next time a cheap-shot asshole like Pacman Jones takes the Raiders’ star #1 draft pick receiver, rips his helmet off after he’s been tackled to the ground, and slams his head into the helmet, one of the special teams players needs to take Jones on his next punt/kickoff return, and snap him over his knee. Don’t worry, Mark Davis will pay your fine. But the Raiders’ failure to respond at all to that was all the Bengals needed to know. Del Rio may feel that he’s instilled a stronger team culture of discipline and execution, but the results did not show on the field. The team needs to play with aggression and purpose, and Jones’ conduct alone — mauling Cooper and knocking Carr out of the game — should have been something to rally around. The old Raiders would have sent a backup DE in to late-hit Dalton and knock his ass out of the game in retaliation. Instead they derped their way around their own side of the field until it was 33-0 in the 4th quarter.

With most teams, you can spot “easier” parts of the schedule where they don’t have to worry as much about a blowout or an automatic loss. Part of that is parity, part of that is just the general level of competence in teams, coaches, and players. Every team should be able to point at a few games and say to themselves, “Yeah, we got that one.”

But looking at how the team performed today, there are no such games on the Raiders’ schedule. The Ravens next week, even though Steve Smith is their only real offensive weapon, are a threat. The trip to Cleveland in two weeks is no joke. And so on. Even the lowly Titans — you saw Marcus Mariota beat down the Buccaneers today, but did you also know that the Raiders have only won in Tennessee once, and that was in 2005? Did you know that in 11 visits to Oakland, today was the first time the Bengals won? The Raiders are clearly going to have to fight and claw for just a chance at victory this season, whether the opponent is “good” or “bad”.

As such, the coaches need to install a game plan that emphasizes the run game, ball control, low-risk passing, keeping the opponent off the field. They didn’t do that, and they failed to adapt long after the score got out of hand. As a general observation, the best thing that the coaches can do for this team is to get them to play so that other teams will fear and respect them. They need to know that if Pacman Jones takes their star receiver, sits on his chest and beats his head against his own helmet, Pacman Jones is going to leave the game with some broken bones, preferably a sternum or collarbone or fibula. The Raiders’ meek response instead showed that they were to be neither feared nor even respected, but merely pitied or laughed at.

And the sooner the A’s season is done and that goddamned dirt infield is gone, the better. Grade: D

Game Grades: Raiders at Broncos

Full game stats here.

Pass Offense:  Aside from the sole touchdown drive in their first possession of the second half, the Raiders’ offense was a wretched mess, punting six times and amassing 45 yards of total offense in the first half. Derek Carr in particular had a bad day, with three fumbles (one returned for a touchdown). Stefen Wisniewski is apparently playing his way out of town, somehow managing to get a false start, which is a pretty neat trick when you consider that he’s the one who snaps the ball. Grade:  D

Continue reading Game Grades: Raiders at Broncos

Game Grades: Raiders vs. Bills

Pass Offense:  Derek Carr’s numbers (17-34-214-2TD) weren’t quite as strong as they were in the wins against the Chiefs and 49ers, but they were enough to get the job done. More importantly, where much of Carr’s numbers came with receptions by TE Mychal Rivera or Marcel Reece, rather than the wide receivers, this time the bulk of Carr’s passing yards went to WRs Kenbrell Thompkins and Andre Holmes, each of whom had fantastic 50-yard receptions in the game. When Carr has an off day, it’s way off, but when he’s on, he shows a poise and control well beyond his rookie year. In giving up just one sack, the offensive line continues to protect Carr well. Grade:  B+

Rush Offense:  Latavius Murray had yet another solid outing (23 carries for 86 yards), and Darren McFadden had his best day yet this season, posting 54 yards on 9 carries. Both Murray and McFadden had long carries of 25 yards, and in fact McFadden had perhaps his best run of the year, where he clearly hit the goal-line pylon but the ball was spotted at the 2-yard line. Still, a very solid and balanced complement to the passing attack. Grade:  B+

Pass Defense:  Kyle Orton ended up with 329 yards and 3 TDs for the day, but much of that occurred in garbage time at the end of the game. The score did get perilously close toward the end, due in part to the conservative offense after Brandian Ross’ game-sealing interception, but also due to Ross conservatively running out of bounds well before he needed to. Still, Charles Woodson also had an INT, Justin Tuck and Khalil Mack each had a sack, and third-down conversions were just 4/15 (26%). Grade: B+

Rush Defense:  Buffalo was held to 13 total yards on 13 carries. That is not a typo. Mack was a major part of that effort, tackling ball carriers in the backfield and generally disrupting plays despite being routinely double-teamed. Star running back C.J. Spiller was held to -4 yards on 4 carries. Grade: A

Special Teams:  Returns and coverage continue to be average at best. Kicking game is consistent at least; Janikowski went 4 for 5 on field goals, missing a 48-yard attempt in the fourth quarter, which given the field conditions is no surprise. Marquette King set the team record for most punts in a season. Grade:  B

Coaching:  As always, the watchword is balance, and having a 34-36 pass-run play ratio makes all the difference in the world. Sticking with the run game is starting to show results. Coming after yet another disappointing loss, at the end of yet another lost season, the coaching staff deserves credit for keeping the players in the game. The Raiders have won their last three home games, spoiled playoff aspirations in the process, and kept focus in the wake of a lost season. Grade:  B+

Game Grades: Raiders at Chiefs

Pass Offense:  As effective as Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offensive line was against San Francisco’s stout defense, they were completely flat in Kansas City, and got pushed around all day. Carr ended up with 27 completions in 56 attempts for 222 yards, with one touchdown at the very end of the game. Carr was sacked four times, and the Raiders ended up with an abysmal 3.4 average yards per pass play (versus 9.2 for Kansas City). Grade:  D

Rush Offense:  It’s a shame Greg Olson gave up on the running game, because Latavius Murray averaged a hair under 5 yards per carry, gaining 59 yards on just 12 carries, including a 25-yard rumble. Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew each had two carries totaling 13 and 6 yards respectively. Grade:  D+

Pass Defense:  Despite still not having completed a touchdown pass to a wide receiver all season, Alex Smith still managed to do what he needed to do without much argument from the Raiders defense. Smith posted 297 yards on 18 completions (out of 30 attempts), with two touchdown passes. The lone bright stat is the 3 for 13 (23%) third-down conversion rate the Raiders held the Chiefs to, which makes the end result just that much more perplexing. Grade: D+

Rush Defense:  The run defense actually posted fair numbers, just 93 yards allowed on 27 carries, and just 3 rushing first downs allowed. The 3-yard TD run by Knile Davis was the most glaring miscue. Grade:  C

Special Teams:  Sebastian Janikowski continues to quietly but effectively come back from a terrible season last year, making both his field goals (including a 53-yarder). Matt Schaub has been holding for kicks, so he’s at least doing something to earn his keep. But Schaub obviously will be gone at the end of the season, and Seabass supposedly had issues with Marquette King’s holds last year. Speaking of King, he had to punt 11 times in the game, and is well on his way to setting a record for number of punts, for the team and the entire league. De’Anthony Thomas’ punt return for a touchdown strangely did not dissuade King from kicking to him again. Kickoff and punt returns continue to be average at best, while coverage has clearly suffered with the absence of Pro Bowl gunner Taiwan Jones. As the team rebuilds in the coming off-season, hopefully this unit gets some attention with everything else going on. Grade:  D

Coaching:   On the one hand, as we saw last week, it says something about the coaching staff that they can keep a team that started 0-10 able to even show up and finish out the season respectably, which they proved with last week’s thumping of the 49ers, as well as their first victory over Kansas City. This is a team that’s still learning how to jell and play together, and so it’s frustrating to see them follow up an impressive win with a mistake-laden dud. But the Chiefs are a solid team, on their home turf, playing to retain a slim hope at a playoff berth.

The main complaints as far as coaching goes are:  giving up on the running game far too soon; and leaving Derek Carr in the game after the score is out of reach, as Carr came up limping after being sacked with just a few minutes left in the game, when Schaub should have been in for mop-up time. It’s admirable that Carr is a competitor and wants to play out the string, but the smart move when the game is out of reach is to keep your QB healthy for the next game. Grade:  D

Game Grades: Raiders vs. 49ers

Pass Offense:  Derek Carr was practically flawless, going 22-28 for 254 yards, with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. The offensive line provided outstanding protection for Carr to spread the ball around, especially to Mike Rivera and Marcel Reece — but also a surprise 3-yard TD pass to left tackle Donald Penn. Carr was sacked just once. Especially coming against a 49er defense that has ranked in the top five for most of the season, Carr showed that given time and skill personnel, he has the potential to be an elite quarterback.  Grade:  A

Rush Offense:  Latavius Murray continues to show promise for the running game. While Murray’s final stats (23 carries for76 yards, long of 16 yards) aren’t record-breaking, what the stats don’t reflect is how many of those carries came at critical points in the game, getting the team crucial first downs on key drives. Darren McFadden had 4 carries for just 5 yards, and Marcel Reece had 2 carries for 2 yards.  Grade:  B

Pass Defense: This is what you get when your offense has a time of possession of 32:55 — a defense that doesn’t get gassed by the 4th quarter. The Raiders’ D harassed Colin Kaepernick all day, sacking him five times, including on the final play of the game. Khalil Mack and Antonio Smith each had two sacks, and Charles Woodson and Brandian Ross each intercepted Kaepernick, who finished the day 18-33-174-1-2.  Grade:  A-

Rush Defense:  The 49ers were able to gain 97 yards on 18 total carries, including 3 for 26 by Kaepernick, but for the most part the Raiders were able to hold the quarterback’s run-option abilities in check. Mack proved to be a force in this respect as well, dumping Kaepernick for a 7-yard loss at one point. Grade:  B

Special Teams:  As usual, nothing spectacular, but nothing bad, either. The return game is nothing special, but not turning the ball over. Janikowski made his lone field goal attempt, and King was solid on most of his five punts for the day. Grade:  C+

Coaching:   After enduring the team’s worst loss in over fifty years, as well as a season that was lost before Halloween, it would have been understandable if the team had half-assed its way through this one. Instead, Carr and his receivers had their best game of the season, helped in part by balanced play-calling and big plays on defense. True, Kaepernick has regressed, and the Niners are imploding, but too often this season the Raiders have proven to be the cure for what ails bad teams, and this time they punished one. It’s probably too late for the coaches to save their jobs, but if they can finish out the season strong with this type of performance, you could at least make an argument. Grade:  A

Game Grades: Raiders at Rams

It’s tempting to keep this one short and sweet, and say F or Incomplete right across the board. But it turns out there are details worth reviewing.

Pass Offense:  The entire offense was completely inert until the Rams were so far ahead, they could afford to let up a bit. By the time the Raiders got a first down, they were already behind 21-0. On that possession, they finally got past midfield, and stalled at the Rams’ 38 on 4th & 1. They were going to go for it until a false start made it 4th & 6. Even then, the decision to punt spoke volumes about the confidence the coaches have in this offense — and more importantly, the players’ ability to execute properly. Both of Carr’s interceptions were incredibly poor throws, and he got more reckless and desperate as the game got further away from him. Amazingly, Schaub was even worse, fumbling twice (one recovered by the Raiders), and throwing a pick-6 directly to Rams CB Trumaine Johnson. Unless Carr gets injured and the coaches inexplicably don’t turn to Matt McGloin, Schaub’s stint with the Raiders will end with 5 completions on 10 attempts for 57 yards, 2 fumbles (1 lost), and 2 INT (1 returned for TD). Remember, he cost $8.5M and a 6th-round draft pick. To be fair, with the complete absence of a ground game, and no true #1 receiver, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady probably wouldn’t have much more success than Carr or Schaub. Grade:  F

Rush Offense:  20 attempts for 60 yards, total. Jones-Drew had one nice run, a 13-yard gainer for his season-long. It should be noted that in a narrow loss today for the Giants, the Raiders’ 2013 season rushing leader Rashad Jennings had 26 carries for 91 yards and 2 TDs. By himself. While neither Jones-Drew nor McFadden are in their prime anymore, it doesn’t help that the scheme of running them straight up the middle has never favored their strengths, as both backs have done their best work getting to the edge and making a cut. Even in garbage time, up 45-0 and expecting pass, the Rams still stuffed the few Raiders run plays effortlessly for the most part. In a theme consistent with the rest of the team’s performance, Marcel Reece fumbled away his best carry of the day. Grade:  F

Pass Defense:  Not quite a tale of two halves, but aside from the Rams sitting atop a 38-0 lead to start the second half, the Raiders defense did come out of halftime looking sharper and more focused. Unfortunately, their play in the first half was so dreadful, it didn’t matter. The Rams scored on their first six possessions (five TDs and a field goal) to go up 38 points at halftime, and did not have to punt until the second half. Shaun Hill exploited the defensive weaknesses with ease, burning them with quick screen passes for Tre Mason and Stedman Bailey to turn upfield and make tacklers miss. Don’t be fooled by the measly 1 for 8 allowed in third-down completions; in the first half, the Rams barely needed a third down. Grade: D-

Rush Defense:  The 89-yard TD run by Mason was the backbreaker, and exposed the entire unit. Mason’s other TD run went right through Hayden, Burris, and Woodson in quick succession. Even QB Hill, who will never be mistaken for Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick when it comes to running, had a bootleg keeper for a 2-yard TD run. With very few exceptions, the Rams ran at will all day. Grade: F

Special Teams:  Since Denarius Moore is a liability as a returner, and on his way out the door, it made sense to give George Atkinson III a shot at returning kickoffs — until he actually returned a few. Atkinson was fortunate that his muffed return in the first quarter, with the Raiders already down 14-0, was recovered by Kenbrell Thompkins, but it still affected field position, as did his second muff, as well as Atkinson’s poor decision to run a return from deep in the end zone to the 14. Obviously, with their offensive woes, field position is absolutely critical for the Raiders, and they haven’t had a halfway decent returner since Jacoby Ford. Marquette King’s 8 punts were generally serviceable, though two were very nearly blocked, and considering all the three-and-outs, more distance on some of them might have helped. Then again, maybe not. Grade:  D

Coaching:   After their encouraging performance against Kansas City, and with ten days to prepare, it was reasonable to speculate that the Raiders would give a solid Rams team a fair run for their money, maybe even squeak out another win. Right from the very first three-and-out, it was clear that it was not to be, and after the first couple Rams possessions, it was clear that the defense would not keep them in the game until the offense got going. The lack of talent on this team is always going to be an issue until it improves, but a blowout of this degree has to also be attributed to poor preparation. With absolutely no chance at the post-season, a journeyman backup QB, and no proven running back, the Rams came out playing crisp, focused ball on offense and defense, while the Raiders seemed bewildered at every turn, always a step behind.

When the Raiders did have opportunities — such as when a great King punt forced the Rams to start a drive from their own 5, an encroachment call on Antonio Smith handed the Rams enough breathing room for Tre Mason to break off his monster TD run the very next play. Receivers colliding into each other, QBs throwing the ball up for grabs in desperation, poor execution and tackling and fundamentals, the continued inability to generate anything resembling a running game, week after week after week, all of these things reflect on the coaching staff’s ability to get the players prepared and focused, and give them plays with a better risk/reward ratio. At one point, they went for a 3rd-and-1 in a shotgun formation. Who does that, except an offensive play-caller who doesn’t trust his line to get a decent push?

Ironically, the Raiders had their best time of possession of the season so far, just under 37 minutes. And the Rams had the ball for four minutes toward the end of the game and just chewed up the clock. So what that really means is that with just 19 minutes of possession time, the Rams rolled up 45 offensive points and a defensive touchdown. Up to this morning, Sparano and his staff had actually done a fair job of keeping the team on track, even as their record spirals downward. It’s difficult to imagine them finding a way to melt down any worse than they did today, but not at all difficult to see them repeating it once or twice more in the last four games. Grade:  F

Game Grades: Raiders at Chargers

Pass Offense:  Derek Carr had a rough day right from the start, fumbling the very first snap of the game, which led almost immediately to the Chargers scoring the game’s only touchdown. Once he got going, Carr spread it around, hitting eight receivers over the course of the game, but nothing sufficient enough to get in the end zone. Receivers for the most part continue to have trouble getting separation, and at times even run into each other on their routes. The offensive line continues to do an excellent job of preventing sacks; while Carr was sacked twice during this game, his season total is just 12 sacks. Grade:  C-

Rush Offense:  Three words — more Latavius Murray. His four carries for 43 yards were just a teaser, a hint of what a competent running could be for this team. One of Murray’s runs was for 23 yards, amazingly a season high for Raiders running backs. By way of comparison to Murray’s 43 yards, the other four ball carriers (McFadden, Jones-Drew, Reece, and Carr) had a grand total of 28 yards on 19 carries. Any questions? Grade:  D

Pass Defense:  Antonio Smith and Khalil Mack each notched their first sacks for the season, and the line did a fine job keeping pressure on Rivers all day long. Rivers finished with subpar numbers for him (18-34-193-1-0), and came up limping after an especially nasty hit. They did get burned at critical moments by Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates, but as each of them are 6’5″, Rivers is in the habit of throwing them jump balls, and even elite defenses have trouble with them. This unit continues to improve, despite being stuck on the field for 35 minutes a game. Grade:  C+

Rush Defense:  After last month’s squeaker in Oakland, the Raiders D has learned their lesson about Branden Oliver, holding him to just 36 yards on 13 carries, with a long of 8 yards, and no touchdowns. Ryan Mathews was more successful (16-70), but overall, the 120 total rushing yards was at least below the Raiders average for yards allowed. Grade:  C+

Special Teams:  Nothing particularly good or bad; Janikowski made both his field goal attempts, and King had 9 punts for a 44.7 average. Mike Scifres was San Diego’s most potent weapon by far, dropping punt after punt deep in Raiders territory, forcing hem to start drives with awful field position all day. Denarius Moore appears to have fallen off the wide receiver depth chart and into the punt returner doghouse; at the rate he’s going, he’ll never get out. Grade:  C

Coaching:  If there is an identifiable theme to this season as it progresses, it is something along the line of “too little, too late.” Whether it’s Greg Olson or Tony Sparano, the insistence on running McFadden and Jones-Drew up the middle for two yards, over and over and over again, is perplexing and tedious. They’ve done a good job in scheming the offense to keep Carr upright, but it doesn’t do much good when he’s 3rd and 7 every single possession, and opposing defenses just sit back 8 yards out in a two-deep shell. Maybe if they had brought Murray in a quarter or two earlier, the Raiders might finally have their first win. Someone from the press should ask them about this. Jason Tarver’s defensive unit, as banged up as it is, continues to improve. Brandian Ross, in his second stint with the team, has proven to be a more than adequate substitute for the injured Tyvon Branch, and Charles Woodson continues to play lights-out ball. Grade:  C-

Game Grades: Raiders at Seahawks

Pass Offense:  While Derek Carr performed poorly in the first half, throwing two interceptions (including a pick-6) and fumbling once (Raiders recovered), he made up for it in the second half, bringing the Raiders very close to what would have been one of the biggest upsets of the season so far. He’s not afraid to try deep throws, which is great, except they rarely seem to work out; the Raiders’ longest completion for the day was a 23-yard screen to Darren McFadden. The longest completion to a wide receiver was 17 yards to Andre Holmes. But without a running game, it’s about as good as can be expected. Grade: C-

Rush Offense:  Again, what running game? Whether it’s the running backs, the offensive line, or the coaches’ lack of faith (probably some combination of all those), Oakland has nothing resembling a rushing attack. This has put undue pressure on Carr to make things happen, often with bad results. 30 carries a game for 110 yards or so would be a modest goal to shoot for, and would make a world of difference in this offense (and therefore in the defense); instead the Raiders had 37 yards on 18 carries yesterday, including 2 runs by Carr for 9 yards. The team will not win until this improves. Grade:  F

Pass Defense:  The defense gave up just one play for more than 20 yards, a 39-yard catch-and-run to Marshawn Lynch that put the Seahawks in field goal range. Russell Wilson was held to 17 of 35 for 179 yards, one sack and two near-picks dropped by D.J. Hayden. Hayden also was flagged for pass interference on Seattle’s opening drive, a 36-yard penalty that set up their first touchdown. His coverage and tackling throughout the game were solid, however. T.J. Carrie continues to improve at his corner position. The ageless Charles Woodson made a superb stop for a loss on a screen attempt, sniffing it out right away. Seahawks were held to 7 of 18 (38%) on third-down conversions, as the Raiders markedly improve in that area for the second consecutive week. If they can pull it off against Denver next week, we’ll know they’re on to something good. Grade: B-

Rush Defense:  This was a tale of two halves for the Raiders’ rush defense — in the first half, Seattle ran Marshawn Lynch right up Oakland’s gut, and the Raiders had no answers; in the second half Lynch was held to 25 yards on 11 carries, but ended the day with two touchdowns. Russell Wilson had a 19-yard run, and Robert Turbin had a carry of 17 yards, but other than those two, the longest run allowed in the game was 11 yards. Still, a grand total of 149 rushing yards, just a week after they held a very good Cleveland running game to a mere 37 yards, is way too much, although some of those yards came near the end, with Seattle running down the clock and the Raiders defense gassed from being on the field for too long. Grade: C-

Special Teams:  T.J. Carrie had several solid punt and kickoff returns, and was fortunate that his one fumble, at the end of a great return but at a point where Oakland was already down 17-3, didn’t translate into any points for Seattle. The blocked punt in the 3rd quarter was a turning point, and set the stage for the Raiders to get back in the game. Marquette King continues to perform at a high level, averaging 46.2 yards on his 6 punts. Sebastian Janikowski made a field goal on the opening drive, and missed one from 53 yards shortly before halftime. Grade:  B+

Coaching:  Tony Sparano continues to get more out of the team than Dennis Allen was able to; despite muddling through yet another lost season, they are playing hard, and with effort and passion against a superior team that most people assumed would blow the Raiders out (the spread was 14½ points). Jason Tarver is getting what he can out of an injury-riddled defense, and they have kept the Raiders in games over the last month. Offense is a tougher call — while Greg Olson is certainly a competent coordinator who is doing what he can with the talent they have, he won’t commit to a run game, he won’t use Reece or Murray to any significant extent, and he calls a baffling run-pass ratio of plays. Once again, the stats do not lie:  41 pass attempts versus 18 rush attempts (2 of those by Carr). This unbalanced approach results in drive-killing dropped passes, questionable reads, interceptions, and the defense being on the field an average of nearly 35 minutes per game. If they can balance the offense out better, and lean on players to minimize mistakes and penalties, they will see results. Grade: C