Willis McGahee broke free often Sunday against the Raiders defense. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Raiders don’t have much time to ponder their bruises and massage their trampled egos.
After Sunday’s 38-24 loss to the Broncos, Oakland – which has now lost two straight to AFC West teams -- must regroup in time to play the Chargers in San Diego Thursday night.
Both teams are 4-4 and coming off losses, the difference being the Chargers were expected to lose to the Super Bowl-champion Packers; the Raiders were favored to beat the Broncos.
A week after being crushed 45-10 by the Detroit Lions, the Broncos were the ones doing the crushing, erupting for 31 points in the second half and doing it with big plays and a rushing game the Raiders couldn’t come close to stopping.
Willis McGahee rushed for 163 yards and quarterback Tim Tebow ran for 117.
Using a read-option offense – a throwback, college-style scheme more suited to Tebow’s talents – Tebow could give the ball to McGahee or, if he saw the Raiders ends and linebackers collapse in, keep the ball and go outside.
The Broncos rushed for 299 yards, the team’s best rushing game since 2000.
“We knew exactly what they were going to do and we just couldn’t stop it,” Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour told reporters. “We knew exactly what was going to happen, and they ran exactly what we thought they were going to run and we didn’t get the job done. That’s the disappointing part.”
Added defensive tackle Tommy Kelly: “We just spit the bit today.”
Especially in the second half, when Denver rushed for 230 of its yards.
Perhaps some of the Oakland defensive problems could be attributed to the absence of middle linebacker Rolando McClain. But stopping the run has been an ongoing problem the past couple of seasons, and Seymour for one just said it was lack of execution.
“You have to do your job,” he told Monte Poole of the Bay Area News Group. “The things that happened out there today … It’s Football 101.”
In addition, the Raiders continued to commit penalties. The NFL’s most penalized team this season was was flagged 15 times for 130 yards, which allowed the Broncos to keep several drives alive.
Head coach Hue Jackson says his team is “not a very intelligent football team right now” when it comes to penalties. Oakland has been penalized 84 times for 730 yards through eight games.
Porous defense, plus penalties equals a problem. The Raiders have four days to make some improvements, or Jackson’s quest to get this team to win the AFC West may slide away.