A Clown Show Autopsy
I went to Oakland on Sunday, and there I saw the ghost of Stuart Schweigert.
There, I saw Doug Martin rack up 251 yards, like a glorious baby lamb galloping across green fields of open daylight, not a predator to be found, except for a distant wolf tripping over itself.
During the game, tapping away on my mobile, I wrote: "Halfway thru the third, it's amateur hour in our secondary."
After the game, I wrote: "What was amazing to me is how uncoordinated our pursuits looked after Martin and their receivers reached the open field. Our secondary once again reminded me of Cirque du Soleil: a bunch of clowns flying around, hitting nothing."
Did I mention that I had just watched a rookie rack up 251 yards on the ground, right before my very eyes?
Later, Gary watched the coaches' film and commented on the biggest runs: "The second one was a whiff by Lee at the LOS... then a complete circus act in the secondary...The third one was a whiff by Burris at the LOS and then more circus act."
Calico Jack chimed in: "Unable to shed blockers, weak arm tackles, poor angles, poor tackling technique, out of position, lack of penetration or disruption in the backfield, lack of awareness, lack of aggression at the point of attack ... everything and anything that had to do with piss poor rush D was on full display."
It's hard to really see fully what's going on while at the game, and to follow the action while at the same time surveying the field. That's what replays are for. But I saw enough to make me want to wash my eyes out with Comet.
On one pursuit, Matt Giordano got so twisted up that he hurt himself and crumpled to the ground as the Buc blew by. It reminded me of the good old days, of Schweigert and crew flying around, missing and bouncing off the other team.
I don't mean to pick on Schweigert. It's nothing personal. But he sort of epitomizes the bad angle bug that seems to bite the Raiders every year.
(Schweigert started 39 games in three years for the Raiders...and did not start in a single NFL game thereafter. He seems like a cool guy. He went on to play in the UFL, runs a charitable foundation serving his hometown of Saginaw, and purchased a stake in an indoor football league team.)
Anyhow, for all of us scratching our heads about what exactly happened, SI.com has given us this gift: a visual breakdown of Sunday's defensive clown show.
The writer doesn't have an axe to grind with the Raiders, as far as I can tell. He's just trying to make sense of a historic day of rushing in the NFL. To do so, he performs an autopsy on each of the big plays. It's a fascinating must-read for Raiders fans. A quote: But again, this is a play that should have resulted in a decent game … and nothing more. Even once Martin cleared the line, there are three Raiders defenders that appear to be in position to clamp down on him. Wrong.
So my question to all of you is: How does it happen, these epic lapses resulting in astonishing rushing yards, seemingly year after year? How can the fundamentals remain so poor? What do you think Dennis Allen says when he plays this game back to his team?
We're three DCs removed from Rob Ryan. We're on our third coach in four years, and our new one is a defensive specialist.
So, again: How and why does something like this still happen? Looking forward to your takes.