Raiders-Dolphins Recap

Raiders take step back, slaughtered by Dolphins

9/17/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Sep 16, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) eludes Oakland Raiders cornerback Joseph Hanson (23) and linebacker Roland McClain (55) to score on a 23-yard touchdown run at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 35-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIREAfter showing promise last week against the Chargers, the Raiders came out and tanked on Sunday against a Dolphins team that boasted a rookie quarterback and a 30-10 Week 1 loss. Though the Raiders' defense looked stout last Monday, they were just the opposite this week, giving up 35 points to a team that averaged only 20.6 in 2011. Though the Raiders' 35-13 loss suggests a number of issues (which there certainly are), there is one glaring problem that accentuates the rest of the team's deficiencies.

The offense line was simply despicable. Darren McFadden, one of the most electrifying players in all of the NFL, was held to 22 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Not only is that a poor average, but it suggests that ground-and-pound offensive coordinator Greg Knapp doesn't even have any trust in his line to open holes for his star running back. McFadden, who has averaged 5.4 and 5.2 yards per carry the past two years, is sitting at 2.1 through two games this season.

In addition, his longest run of the day on Sunday was four yards. That means that he offensive line isn't giving McFadden the slightest bit of room to operate. McFadden is a one-cut, straight-speed power back that is most effective when he can burst into the second level. It's the line's job to give him at least a small hole so he can blow by and/or run over linebackers and defensive backs, but he can't even get four yards down the field.

A lot of fans are chalking these struggles up to the new zone blocking scheme that new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has brought in. That's just a ridiculous area to place the blame. That same blocking scheme under that same coordinator had the Houston Texans as the second best rushing team in the league last year, so it's not Knapp or his scheme - it's the linemen who aren't doing their jobs.

The abysmal offensive line play has also made it difficult for the Raiders to carry out play action fakes, and to let quarterback Carson Palmer sit in the pocket while longer passing routes develop. The Raiders are built on speed. If you give their receivers just a little bit of time, they'll blow by anyone covering them, but if the line let's the pocket collapse as soon as Palmer steps back, he can't wait for his speedsters to get open and just has to dump the ball to a short route.

The Raiders actually averaged more yards per play than the Dolphins (6.4 to 6.1), but when you can't run the ball, there's no consistency to your offense. You may take out a big chunk of yardage with a pass, but then hit a wall on the next series of downs. This also resulted in the Raiders' defense being on the field much longer (Dolphins up 35 to 25 in time of possession).
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9/17/12   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

Kansas City and Oakland might be in a race to the bottom in the AFC West.