The Oakland Raiders offense has done a great job of starting games with big plays and points. The team then relies on their massively improved defense to take them the rest of the way. For the most part, this recipe has served the Raiders well because the defense has taken their play to another level. However, for sustained success in the NFL, Oakland will need the offense to finish games with critical first downs, clock management, and points.
A perfect example of the Raiders' offense needing to finish games came last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The offense got off to a terrific start with quarterback Terrelle Pryor keeping a read option and going 93 yards for the touchdown and an early 7-0 lead. The Raiders put together two more very successful drives ending in running back Darren McFadden touchdowns to lead 21-3 just before half time.
That's when things got dicey for the offense. The next nine Oakland drives resulted in two Pryor interceptions, a Jacoby Ford lost fumble, and six punts. The longest drive the Raiders amassed in that time was 29 yards. They lost yards on four of those nine drives, one being a kneel down before the half, and all five punts were the result of three and outs. No drive lasted longer than three minutes and 17 seconds. It is of the upmost importance that the Raiders make finishing games on offense a point of emphasis.
“You’ve got to understand how you’re going to win the game, and it’s not always about how pretty does it look,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “The ultimate goal is to win the football game. We had a defense that was playing outstanding in the football game, was taking the ball away, was creating a lot of pressure on the quarterback, that wasn’t giving up a lot of points. And the only chance that they had to get back in the game was for us to make mistakes and give them those opportunities. Unfortunately, we did that. So, I understand how you’re going to win football games and when the defense is playing really well, you’ve got to protect the football and you’ve got to let your defense go out and win the game for you.”
The Raiders defense was playing extremely well against the Steelers and finished the game to ensure the win. They intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice and played tough defense down the stretch. However, because the offense could not sustain a drive, the defense showed fatigue. They allowed two fourth quarter touchdowns to close a comfortable lead to 21-18.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson went very conservative with the big lead. Understandably, he was cautious because of the two interceptions and the fumble. He knew the defense was playing very well. All those things are logical reasons to run the ball and reign in the play calling, but in order to be better than average, the Raiders offense must find ways to make those crucial, drive extending first downs. They must be able to continue to score points and keep their defense off the field to rest. Oakland is clearly moving in the right direction and learning how to win in the NFL. So going forward, emphasis will be on the offense finishing.
You need to satisfy your competitive drive, so why not beat our experts in fantasy football. At FightClub, our official Fantasy Football partner, you can change you team weekly and win cash. Get a free $5 credit when you sign up and try them out. And each week, Sports Media 101 will sweeten the pot and award the player with top points an extra $25. Match-up and show them how good you are. Can you handle FightClub?
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Oakland Raiders Offensive Game Plan Won’t Change Much No Matter Who Starts at Quarterback
- Oakland Raiders Will Use Bye Week to Get Healthy Along the Offensive Line
- Oakland Raiders’ Offensive Line Exposed Against New Orleans Saints
- Oakland Raiders Offensive Line in Shambles Entering San Diego Chargers Game