Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has been the favorite target of many disgruntled fans, but on Sunday it was Knapp who gets much of the credit for sparking Oakland’s second-half comeback.
Quarterback Carson Palmer said Knapp went into a rant at halftime, with the Raiders trailing 17-6 to Jacksonville in a game they eventually would win 26-23 in overtime.
“He let us have it,” Palmer told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur. “He was all over us and it fired us up. We took it as almost a threat. Sometimes you need that. He picked the right time and we came together.”
The Raiders had turned the ball over twice, leading to 10 Jacksonville points, and couldn’t sustain anything offensively.
Then, in the second half, Knapp had Palmer run a no-huddle offense that put some life back into the unit. Palmer threw for one touchdown and ran for another as Oakland rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to tie the game. Then, when Jacksonville fumbled the ball away on its first possession of overtime, deep in Jags territory, the Raiders were able to win on Sebastian Janikowski’s 40-yard field goal.
Oakland is now 2-4, with a game against the 1-5 Chiefs coming up Sunday in Kansas City, and suddenly the prospects for the rest of the season seem a little brighter.
Palmer says Knapp deserves much of the credit for the second-half turnaround, first for his tirade and then for his move to the no-huddle.
“It’s just a great change-up,” Palmer told Bay Area News Group columnist Monte Poole. “That defense was tired. Coach Knapp said to go with it. It was a great adjustment at halftime. We talked about what we were going to do with it. We hadn’t planned on using a ton of it.”
After gaining just 127 yards in the first half, Oakland put up 224 in the second half.
Said fullback Marcel Reece of the no-huddle: “It’s a natural tempo-changer.”
As Poole pointed out, the no-huddle offense has become the Raiders’ “best friend.” He noted it has been a key in the victory over Pittsburgh, in an almost-upset of the Falcons and in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville.
Though the Raiders’ running attack and zone-blocking scheme remain a hit-and-miss proposition, the no-huddle is proving to be an effective weapon.
Will the Raiders plan to go to it more often?
Palmer told Poole he’s not certain. But, it’s always there, always available when needed. He still believes in the Raiders’ standard offense, too.
“I’m sure we’ll use a little bit of it,” Palmer said of the no-huddle. “Some weeks, we’ll use a lot. If you’re not in a rhythm, there’s only one way to go. Coach Knapp did a good job of getting us into it today. The timing of it was right. But it’s not our offense. We have good plays in the huddle system, and we have good plays in the no-huddle system. But we’re not going to completely rely on it.”
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat that “we’re not going to be just a no-huddle offense and use it exclusively.”
But, it’s a good thing to have available.
“It will be something that we’re going to use from time to time to maybe help us get in a little bit more rhythm or give us more of a spark,” Allen said after Sunday’s win. “I felt like it did that today.”