Dick Lebeau is one of the best defensive coordinators in the league and he has low-key turned the Tennessee Titans defense to one of the best units in the league. Before they played the Raiders, the Titans only gave up one offensive touchdown all season. With that said, they did not stop the Raiders. The Raiders stopped the Raiders. The offense scored two first half touchdowns, had one called back, and shot themselves in the foot repeatedly to finish with a measly 17 points.
Another Great Game by the Offensive Line
The Raiders offensive line continued its stellar play and with the injuries mounting on the Dallas Cowboys line, I don’t think its hyperbole to say that the Raiders might have the best line in the league. Lebeau is known for his innovative, aggressive blitzes and he blitzed the Raiders 17 times on 34 pass plays and only managed to get 11 pressures and one sack. This means that although Lebeau blitzed on half of all pass plays, the defense only managed to pressure Carr one third of the time and sack him once.
Now Carr does do a good job getting rid of the ball quick, but watching this offensive line pick up blitz after blitz is impressive considering that the Raiders had a guard play right tackle for most of the game.
On this play, the Titans bring five and attempt to cause confusion by looping a defensive tackle from the backside A to the frontside A, while slanting the end into B gap, and blitzing the nickel on the edge. The Raiders easily match the Titians five rushers and gives Carr a nice pocket to throw the ball to Richard running a speed out to where the rush came from. This shows that Coach Mike Tice and Bill Musgraves are doing a good job of preparing their players for opposing blitzes and giving them a good plan of action for how to deal with them. Carr’s recognition for where the blitz came from and throwing “hot” show his grasp of the game.
The offensive line didn’t have their best game running the ball. Although they started the game strong, the run game fizzled in the second half. Latavius Murray wasn’t particularly impressive in this game, but he begin the game with a spectacular touchdown run in which he wasn’t touched until he got into the secondary.
This run concept is by far the Raiders favorite concept, but I really don’t know what to call it. The line runs an inside zone concept to one side while the back gets the ball going the opposite away. In this example, the line steps and zones left, while Murray gets the hand off going to the right. I’ve just come to call it opposite zone. The key block on this play is the backside combination block between Watson and Gabe Jackson.
The key to any combo block is to get movement on the double team while keeping eyes on the inside linebacker. Watson overtakes the block and Jackson is free to come off to the linebacker. This produces a great hole and Murray isn’t touched until he gets into the secondary.
Washington superior to Murray?
Although Murray’s touchdown run was impressive, he was rather quiet for the rest of the game. When Murray is at full speed, he is extremely difficult to stop, but the problem is when he has to make multiple cuts, it takes a long time for him to get to full speed.
Murray runs counter trey to the left and A hole seems to develop inside but Murray takes forever to change directions causing him to trip on Olawale’s foot and stumble into a tackle. Murray is definitely an improved back this year, but his lack of change of direction skills causes too many 0-2 yard gains.
Deandre Washington runs counter trey to the right and you could see how his acceleration makes the difference in getting stopped for no yardage and a six yard gain. Washington is forced to cut inside of a pulling block where a number 31 is waiting for him in the hole. Washington makes another sudden cut to the outside and drags the defender for positive yardage instead of getting tackled in the hole.
Carr’s Boot Game 💪🏼
The Raiders used a lot more of the boot concept in this game than they have in the past. The Raiders improved run game and Derek Carr’s athletic ability are great reasons to go to this concept more. They ran it five times for a total of 60 yards, but Roberts also dropped two passes that should have been caught running this concept.
Carr has remarkable body control on the run and is able to throw darts on the run, suddenly stop and throw, or drift and throw. All of these abilities are on full display when the Raiders roll Carr out or run boots. On this play, the Titans pressure him, but he is able to drift and throw an absolutely perfect pass to Roberts that he drops. More about the drops later.
Carr improving as an Improvisor
One of Carr’s major weaknesses last year was improvising when the structure of the play broke down. When Carr tried to maneuver the pocket and buy extra time, it usually resulted in an incompletion or worse and an interception. However, so far this year, we’ve seen Carr been extremely efficient when the play broke down.
This is another boot play in which the backside end does a good job of staying home and forcing Carr to set his feet. A backside blitzer get free, but Carr steps up at the perfect time and causes the two defenders to collide. Immediately after, Carr has to make another defender miss and run right. He then throws a great jump ball across his body to Michael Crabtree who comes dow with the ball for a huge gain. Although this play is not one you want to see your quarterback make every often, it just shows Carr’s remarkable ability.
- Carr feels interior pressure and breaks the pocket running to his left
- Keeps his eyes downfield and resets his feet
- Patiently drifts away from a linebacker coming to knock his head off.
- Throws an absolute dart to Clive Walford.
The ball is a bit behind Walford, but it’s hard to blame Carr because he is getting hit as he is throwing. This should have been a catch and a first down.
Drops and Penalties
Drops were an absolute drive killer during this game. In my charting, I counted five drops during the game. All of them looked like they could have gained 10+ yards each.
The Titans didn't really stop the Raiders O. Oak shot themselves in foot with penalties/ drops. Cooper absolutely destroys CB at line. pic.twitter.com/UPUE6R3xuN
— Ted Nguyen (@RaidersAnalysis) September 27, 2016
This play was on a critical third and three in the fourth quarter. If the Raiders get the first down, the game is essentially over. The Raiders are in an empty formation and the Titans are in 2-man, meaning they are playing man with two deep safeties. This means the middle of the field could be open and Carr knows it. Cooper is in the slot and absolutely destroys the corner off the line and is wide open on an in cut. Carr delivers the ball but Cooper drops the ball. With Coopers explosiveness, it looked as if he would have broken for a huge gain.
If its one thing that the Raiders offensive line has to work on, it has to be to cut down on the penalties. No matter how good an offense is, it cannot continually overcome big penalties. The Raiders even had a touchdown called back because of a holding penalty.
The defense won this game for the Raiders, but they cannot rely on playing the bite-less Titans offense every week. In order for this team to take the next step, the Raiders cannot keep shooting themselves in the foot. Penalties and drops have to be major themes in practice this week. Those “jugs” machines better be burnt to dust after this week.