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Raiders' Defense Continues to Crumble

It's hard to imagine Oakland's slumping defense stopping Chiefs, Chargers or Broncos over final three games this season

By Doug Williams
|  Monday, Dec 9, 2013  |  Updated 9:51 PM PDT
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Raiders' Defense Continues to Crumble

Getty Images

Jets running back Chris Ivory powers through two Raiders for a touchdown Sunday. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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Raiders safety Charles Woodson was disgusted by his team’s defensive performance Sunday against the Jets.

“We were like the Bad News Bears out there today,” he told reporters after the 37-27 loss to the Jets at East Rutherford, N.J.

The Oakland defense, which had been the most consistent aspect of the team earlier this season, fell flat, allowing the Jets to post a season-high point total and make rookie quarterback Geno Smith – who’d been benched in his previous game – look terrific.

“We allowed him to be sort of great today,” said Woodson of Smith. “That’s as embarrassing a game that I’ve ever been a part of.”

Unfortunately for the Raiders, the defensive lapse on Sunday isn’t an isolated incident. And with three games remaining – against the Chiefs this Sunday in Oakland, the Chargers and Broncos – it’s hard to see the Oakland defensive unit being able to stop any of those offenses at this point.

Since the Raiders beat the Steelers in Week 8, 21-18, the Oakland defense has been on a downward spiral.

It was torched in a 49-20 loss to the Eagles, stumbled in the second half of a loss to the Giants, couldn’t stop a late Titans’ TD drive in a 23-19 loss, gave up a first-half lead in a loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and then played poorly vs. the Jets.

The Raiders – who were speculating they could surge into the playoff picture in early November – have now lost three straight and five of six to fall to 4-9 and are in danger of finishing 2013 at 4-12, the same record they posted last season.

The Raiders’ third-down defense was especially bad, allowing first downs on five-of-six Jets’ third-down plays to start the second half and 7-of-13 for the game. The Raiders gave up 352 total yards and four touchdowns and were only able to sack Smith just once.

After Sunday’s loss, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen admitted that the Oakland defense may simply be worn down by injuries, a lack of depth and a long season in which the Raiders’ offense often hasn’t been able to sustain long drives to keep it off the field.

On Sunday, linebacker Sio Moore and defensive tackle Vance Walker were both injured during the game, further thinning the unit.

“I do think the defense is worn down,” Allen told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. “But we’ve got to go out and tackle. … We’ve got three more football games, and we’ve got to tackle better. We’ve got to do the things that we have to do to be able to get off the field.”

The Raiders have dropped to 18th in the NFL in total defense, allowing 356.4 yards per game, and 24th in scoring defense, giving up 25.9 points per game.

That’s certainly a bad combination when the Raiders are scoring just 20.3 points per game.

 

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