Raiders defensive players talked a good game this summer, about how excited they were to finally play a “real” defensive scheme.
They talked about how they would play smarter, how they would show more defensive fronts, use up-to-date pass coverages and play to the strengths of the players they had.
Yet on Sunday in Miami, the Dolphins shredded the Raiders’ new defense the same way they shredded the old Raiders’ defense in December of 2011.
On Sunday, the Dolphins beat the Raiders 35-13 to drop Oakland to 0-2 this season under new head coach Dennis Allen. And, at 0-2, the Raiders now face a tough road over the next three weeks to pick up their first win, with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons on deck.
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush – who rushed for 100 yards in Miami’s 34-14 win over the Raiders last December – looked even better in Game No. 2 of the 2012 season, rushing for 172 yards and two long touchdowns to lead a Miami ground attack that pounded Oakland for 263 yards.
After the Raiders took a 10-7 lead at the half, Bush exploded for 23 yards early in the third quarter to give Miami a 14-10 lead, then came back soon after with a 65-yard scoring run around the left corner and down the sideline to put Miami up 21-10.
When the Raiders countered with a Sebastian Janikowski field goal to close the margin to 21-13, the Dolphins came right back with two more fourth-quarter touchdowns, on a 14-yard pass from rookie Ryan Tannehill to Anthony Fasano and a 15-yard run by Lamar Miller.
The Raiders’ rushing game, meanwhile, was almost nonexistent. Oakland – which lived on the running game early last season with a healthy Darren McFadden – has been bottled up in consecutive weeks by the Chargers and Raiders. McFadden, who rushed for 32 yards vs. San Diego in Week 1, was able to get just 22 on 11 carries against Miami with the team rushing for just a grand total of 23.
In addition, Oakland time and again stalled on offense, converting just 1-of-12 third-down opportuntities.
Obviously, with a huge roster turnover this offseason and new schemes on offense and defense implemented by a new coaching staff, the Raiders figured to be a work in progress.
But a disappointing loss on Monday night to the Chargers – which could have been a victory if not for some key mistakes – followed by a blowout loss to a team guided by a rookie quarterback is not an auspicious debut for Allen’s team.
The Raiders will try to get back on track this coming Sunday at O.co Coliseum at 1:25 p.m. vs. the Steelers.