MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04: Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins rushes during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Raiders barely looked like a professional football team when they took the field against the Miami Dolphins in week 13, earning them a GPA that Ralph Wiggum would be ashamed to take home.
Just a week ago, the Raiders had the AFC West lead and a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 in their grasp. Now, after going to Miami and being stomped by the Dolphins, the Raiders suddenly look like a team in peril whose chances of making the playoffs are slim at best.
Passing Offense: Carson Palmer finished the game with decent stats. He completed 20 of 41 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. However, 150 of those yards were put up during garbage time in the fourth quarter and one of his touchdowns came on a blown coverage where TJ Houshmandzadeh found himself wide open for an easy score.
Rushing Offense: For the second week in a row, the Oakland running game struggled. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they could not overcome that with better play from the rest of the team. Michael Bush had his worst week since taking over for the injured Darren McFadden. Bush had 10 carries for 18 yards and his longest rush for the day was a measly 3 yards. The Raiders combined for an embarrassing 46 yards on the ground for the day.
Passing Defense: Matt Moore did not have a big day for the Dolphins throwing the ball. He finished the game with 162 yards and a touchdown. But, he did not throw any interceptions and completed more than 50 percent of his passes. If not for the fact that the Dolphins had so much success running the ball, Moore might have had a better day.
Rushing Defense: The flood gates along the Raiders defensive line were opened once again on Sunday. Reggie Bush may be running a lot better than he was early in the season, but he is still a back that can be kept in check. The Raiders, however, opted not to do that. Bush put up 100 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Daniel Thomas added another 73 yards to that and the Dolphins finished the day with 209 yards on the ground.
Special Teams: Special teams, for the most part, was a non factor in this game, mostly due to the fact that the Raiders were out of it from almost the get go. Shane Lechler had a good but not great day punting the ball. Sebastian Janikowski was not asked to kick any field goals. The Raiders did allow one big return that went 77 yards. Overall, it was unimpressive, but not necessarily due to poor play (besides the kick return that is).
Coaching: This one, like any blow out, has to fall squarely on the shoulders of the head coach, Hue Jackson. While Jackson is having a good year as a rookie head coach, he has shown an inability to get his team to focus and to focus himself, when there are distractions. When the Carson Palmer trade went down, the Raiders suffered two humiliating losses in a row, due largely to the fact that Hue Jackson was focused more on the media show surrounding Palmer than on the games. With the arrest of Rolando McClain last week, it appeared as though Jackson fell into the same trap. Focusing more on the McClain situation than on getting the team ready for the Dolphins.
Overall: This was simply a pathetic performance. Early in the third quarter, you could see the Raiders quitting. You could tell that there was not a single player on that sideline who believed the Raiders could get back into the game. This was simply an unacceptable performance for a team hoping to make the playoffs.
Hopefully the Raiders are not sick of humble pie yet because up next on the schedule, they travel to Green Bay to take on the undefeated defending Super Bowl Packers and their super hero quarterback Aaron Rodgers.