When the players hit the field this past Sunday for the Week two Oakland Raiders Atlanta Falcons showdown; the mystique of my team couldn’t have been bubbling more. This was the first Home Game of the 2016 season & the Coliseum was packed with roaring fans & plenty theatrics. Let’s not forget about the infamous “BLACK HOLE” which contains the most passionate, loyal, over the top fan base in all of the NFL cheering from the minute they go to the stadium to the initial kickoff. With all of these great factors going into week two, we fell short of a victory due to a below average performance on defense.
The defense needed a bounce back game after that horrible showing in week one versus the New Orleans Saints. The D-line didn’t do well in this matchup. All Pro Khalil Mack has yet to register a sack in the first two games. No need to panic Raider fans! Khalil Mack recorded 15 sacks last year but; to start the 2015 season he started relatively slow. Unfortunately, this year’s reason is completely due to opponent’s game plan. Teams are doubling Mack on majority of the snaps and when they’re not doing that; they’re keeping running backs into chip block along with tight ends. Life for Mack is becoming extremely difficult but the all pro will get back on track. I’m more concerned with the other players on the defensive line. Rookie defensive linemen Jihad Ward had increased playing time from week one along with his second straight start but didn’t register more than a few tackles but nothing flashy. With Mack drawing double teams on almost all Passing downs, we need the D-line to step up and beat one on one battles. Linebacker Malcom Smith didn’t have his best performance but was still solid. However, LB Ben Heeney was a consistent liability in coverage and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan returned to old form when throwing his way. Heeney’s play was the reason that we saw rookie LB Cory James replace him in the fourth quarter. Free Agent pickup Bruce Irvin aside from a few tackles in the run game didn’t show as much as well.
The secondary had another long day. I wouldn’t call it a bounce back game for Sean Smith but he indeed played better. His physical attributes match up better with WR Julio Jones of the falcons but Julio still had a good day with plenty of big plays. Cornerback David Amerson had a solid effort with pass break ups and one interception on Matt Ryan in the red zone. New starter at Strong Safety Keith McGill who was drafted as a CB a few years back struggled in his second start greatly which has now left the door open for first round pick Karl Joseph to play in week three.
All in all, we lost. Defense has a lot of holes to fill and quickly. Aside from a solid day from the offense; it just wasn’t enough to take over despite the defenses struggles.
Derek Carr threw for 299 yards on 34 of 45 completions + 3 touchdowns. Latavius Murray ran for 57 yards on 8 carries (avg 7.1 ypc) + a TD. Rookie RB also averaged 6.6 ypc. We definitely had plenty of fire power to win but we didn’t win due to a horrible defensive showing. The Oakland Raiders over the past first cpouple of games this season have given up over 1’000 yards to opposing offenses. An NFL record! It’s time to fix it and fix it now before we head into week three! GO RAIDERS!!!