CSI: Raider Take
Welcome to the inaugural episode of CSI: Raider Take. Tonight, we are conducting an autopsy of the final two minutes of the Raiders’ loss to the Vikings.
After a strange interception-fumble combo, the Raiders regained control of the ball with 1:46 remaining, needing a touchdown to tie the game. Here’s what the crime scene reveals:
1-10-OAK 18 (1:46) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass incomplete short right to 25-J.Fargas (52-C.Greenway).
2-10-OAK 18 (1:39) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass short middle to 17-T.Dwight to OAK 26 for 8 yards (52-C.Greenway).
3-2-OAK 26 (1:16) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass short middle to 36-J.Griffith to OAK 29 for 3 yards (52-C.Greenway).
1-10-OAK 29 (:50) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass short right to 80-Z.Miller pushed ob at OAK 36 for 7 yards (31-M.McCauley).
2-3-OAK 36 (:44) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass short middle to 36-J.Griffith pushed ob at OAK 46 for 10 yards (52-C.Greenway).
1-10-OAK 46 (:38) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass incomplete short right to 84-J.Porter.
2-10-OAK 46 (:33) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass incomplete short left to 36-J.Griffith.
3-10-OAK 46 (:25) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass short middle to 80-Z.Miller to MIN 36 for 18 yards (52-C.Greenway).
1-10-MIN 36 (:25) 8-D.Culpepper pass incomplete. PENALTY on OAK-17-T.Dwight, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at MIN 36 - No Play.
1-15-MIN 41 (:00) (Shotgun) 8-D.Culpepper pass incomplete deep middle to 89-R.Curry (42-D.Sharper).
It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to identify the common clue: the word “short” precedes each and every play between the time of 1:46 and a futile Hail Mary from the 41-yard line with two seconds remaining.
What’s that, Watson? You see something else? Oh, yes, that’s right—26 seconds elapsing between a three-yard gain and the next snap. Three yards and 26 seconds in the last minute while seven points down on your own 29-yard line!
Obviously, we’re dealing with the most heinous of crimes…
Oakland Raiders, you have been officially charged with intent to murder the concept of competitive football. How do you plead?
Honestly, is there any other explanation for this? Why bother to throw a long-shot Hail Mary when you can’t even take the chance of throwing downfield 20 yards to avoid a long-shot Hail Mary in the first place? It’s totally illogical and inconsistent.
As for the elapsed time, this has been going on for three straight years, spanning three coaching staffs, and amply documented here at Raider Take.
Think about it. This is the NFL. As bad as our offense is, they represent 11 individuals in a 32-team league of the most elite football professionals in the world.
Therefore, our continued inability to execute a hurry-up offense in the NFL is akin to a Harvard law professor misunderstanding the definition of “plea bargain” or a brain surgeon forgetting to apply anesthesia prior to drilling a hole in your skull. It’s simply unfathomable and inexcusable at this elite level.
So where are my other postgame takes? This two-minute autopsy is all I’ve got. Otherwise, I don’t have any takes. You want me to talk about our run defense? Our inability to score touchdowns? Our increasingly creepy resemblance to last year’s team? Of course you don’t.
After four years of sheer misery, I expected more than this by now, a lot more. Not necessarily a lot more wins (but at least a few more), but surely a different way of losing, with firmer hints of competence. But that's just not the case. Getting run over by a replacement running back, the absence of fundamentals, the false starts and other maddening penalties, the incoherent "two-minute" offense…Blah, blah, blah.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We soundly beat the Dolphins, a team so incompetent that they might not win a game this year. And we beat the Browns, narrowly, via missed field goal. That’s the sum total of our highlight reel as of November 18.
It’s not that I think that Lane Kiffin & Company can’t make a difference. It’s that I can’t believe our personnel problem is so radioactive that they haven’t yet been able to make much, if any, difference on the field.
Just consider the evidence.