Tale of the Tape: NFL Week 5 — Chargers at Raiders
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A LiveBall Sports Game Tape Review.
The first section will review the Chargers offense against the Raiders defense.
- On the second play from scrimmage, Raiders DE Matt Shaughnessy de-cleated Legedu Nannee on a crack block, then threw the pulling right guard to the side on the power toss, and blew up the running back, Tolbert, three yards in the backfield.
- Rivers went right after Asomugha on the first third down of the game. The Raiders were in man coverage with cover two behind it, and Asomugha defensed the pass.
- The Raiders have such flexibility in their third down pressure packages based on the personnel in their front seven. The problem, of course, is that the Raiders really struggle to cover the field on first and second downs because their outside linebackers are converted pass rushers, and this really isn’t a blitz-heavy team.
- Matt Shaughnessy is also a smart defender with a great feel for keeping contain.
- The Raiders are inconsistent at the corners and downright horrible at the safeties. Both Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt combine great, aggressive plays with fairly excusable lapses in concentration. Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff hardly ever do anything right between them. A possible strategy the Raiders could employ in the offseason is to clean house in the secondary: trade Nnamdi Asomugha and rebuild from scratch in the secondary. These are all experienced veterans making these mistakes, and the other players in the unit prevent Asomugha’s greatness from ever being reflected in the product that is the Raiders’ defense.
- Richard Seymour still has a lot left in the tank. He’s still an excellent pass rusher who is improving the Raiders’ run defense game to game. This also is as healthy as the other DT, Tommy Kelly, has looked since he has been on his big-money contract, now in his third year since signing a rich deal off of ACL surgery.
- Matt Shaughnessy does something ultra impressive every third play or so.
- The Chargers have displayed an impressive ability to melt down when points are imminent. A goal line fumble and two blocked punt scoring plays for Oakland. Bruce Gradkowski was 1-7 in this game, took half of the offensive series’, then tried to play though a muscle injury that prevented him from, you know, throwing the football. This is the kind of thing that the Raiders allow to happen that can easily cost them winnable games, except in this game, the Chargers managed to out-Raider the Raiders.
- Philip Rivers’ deep ball is unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it. He can hit a window of space smaller than a yard 50 yards away. Again, and again, and again. Rivers had 290 passing yards this day. In the first half.
- Oh hey, Matt Shaugnessey sacked Rivers and forced a fumble. Needless to say, Chargers’ LT Marcus McNeill’s long-term deal was done shortly after this game ended.
- Antonio Gates is a match-up nightmare for defenses. In Week 1, the Chiefs used three players to jam him at the line on a single play. Usually, the engine of any passing offense is a dynamic slot receiver, but for the Chargers, to cut off their head, you need to find a way to take Gates out of the game. Problem is, you still won’t even take away their big play ability if you do that.
- Gates didn’t hurt the Raiders as much as Malcom Floyd did in this game, but I thought their strategy on Gates at the line was poor. Too many free releases. Best defense of Gates all day was leaving Floyd wide open in the deep field.
- Rolando McClain rarely misses a tackle attempt.
- The Raiders are doing a lot of man coverage in this game and it’s just wasn’t working. There are very few match-ups the Raiders can win. However, even with everything that they gave to San Diego this game, the ability to go with man-concepts in crunch time was responsible for the ability to double safety blitz the Raiders used against the Chargers on the strip sack return that clinched the win.
- The Raiders acquired Richard Seymour last year with no real idea how he would fit into their defense. At this point, he might be the best player in that defense, and he has taken to the 4-3 defense in a way that looks like he didn’t know what he was missing playing in a 3-4. The Raiders DL could be among the best in football. Certainly, it is the deepest.
- The two decisive plays of the final Chargers’ drive following the crucial holding penalty on Antonio Gates the Raiders brought an identical defensive call: 7 man pressure, both safeties off the edge, both linebackers from the middle, and straight man-to-man coverage. Darren Sproles had Michael Huff on the front side, didn’t pick him up, and gave up the forced fumble. It’s inexcusable for Rivers to be beaten by the same blitz call on consecutive plays, especially since the Raiders had no choice but to call it and hope for the best.
This next section will review the Raiders offense against the Chargers defense.
- Antoine Cason is the physical corner that Ron Rivera’s defensive scheme needs. He’s better for that role than the departed Antonio Cromartie.
- The Raiders are doing a much better job of blitz pickups and pass protection in general. Extra guys could not get pressure on Campbell early.
- The pocket clock in Jason Campbell’s head was set to :03 in the first half, which is about a second faster than normal for a QB. Campbell had more time in the pocket than he was using.
- Campbell hit Zach Miller on a short flat route on 3rd & 14 that Miller turned into a first down. The play worked because Campbell waited patiently in the pocket on downfield action, and the defense lost Miller after he chipped and leaked out. Good ‘Plan B’ play design by the Raiders.
- Campbell is still excellent against the blitz, with one exception: if you can break down the protection scheme to get a free runner on Campbell, he’ll eat the sack and possibly fumble.
- The 4&1 conversion from Michael Bush in the second quarter was a simple weakside lead with a man blocking scheme. The Raiders don’t use a lot of man blocking anymore, but they ran this one perfectly. No double team scrapes in short yardage, just a hat on a hat and the Raiders won every assignment.
- Raiders OC Hue Jackson had excellent run/pass balance in this game. This was a banner offensive day for the Raiders against a great defensive team.
- The Raiders running game has been the one element of their football team that has been there for them every week of this season. Michael Bush has stepped into a feature back role for Darren McFadden as McFadden got hurt. They’ve been able to run the ball against every opponent this season.
- Campbell’s best throw of the day might actually have been a throw to FB Marcel Reese down the sideline, where Reese just didn’t get his feet in bounds, despite plenty of space to do so.
- Campbell’s 45 yard throw to Louis Murphy came against a single high safety. Murphy destroyed the press coverage getting into the route, and the Chargers had a double A-gap blitz look. SILB Kevin Burnett looked awkward getting into coverage and never got into the zone where Murphy made the catch. Murphy got the sideline on FS Eric Weddle.
- The Raiders won this game because Campbell, who was jittery to say the least in the first half, won the game for them in the second half.
- The Chargers lost this game because they had been a fierce pass rushing unit throughout their first four games. In this game, they lost the battle at the line of scrimmage to an injury-riddled Raiders OL that isn’t even settled on it’s personnel yet. Next week, that unit gets Robert Gallery back at LG. For the first time in years, the Raiders are now a contender in the AFC West.
- If the Chargers aren’t dialing up pressure packages, as they got away from in this game, they are not a winning team.
- Bottom line, Jason Campbell led the Raiders offense on just three second half drives, which included a 97 yard TD drive, and a 73 yard TD drive. He threw just two incomplete passes, the sideline go to Marcel Reese, which should have been a 40 yard catch, and a missed two point conversion. A thorough one half domination of the Chargers defense.