The Oakland Raiders lost a heart breaker in week two after starting the game looking absolutely dominant. For the second week in a row, the Raiders struggled after half time, looking like two different teams from one half to the other.
The week two grades for the Raiders feature a surprising switch in roles between the running game and the passing game while the defense did its best Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde impersonation. The painful way this game was lost means tough grading for the Raiders this week.
Passing Offense: The passing offense actually had a pretty good day against the Bills. Jason Campbell finished with a quarterback rating of 108.5 quarterback rating as he completed 23 of 33 for 323 yards and two touchdowns. He is also credited with an interception, but that came on a hail mary with one second left to go in the game and is not Campbell's fault. In addition, despite missing three of their top receivers, the Raiders did not skip a beat in the passing game. Rookie Denarius Moore had a huge day with 146 yards and Derek Hagan had a very respectable day with 61 yards as the Raiders were able to complete 17 first downs through the air.
Rushing Offense: The Rushing game struggled this week. While the Raiders as a unit finished with 131 yards on the day, Darren McFadden did not have the type of dominant performance the Raiders would like to see every week. McFadden had a decent first half but did not have a great second half. He fumbled the ball on the Raiders first offensive drive which was a major momentum shift in the game. McFadden finished the night with 72 yards on the ground and a touchdown, averaging only 3.6 yards per carry. This was certainly not the type of dominant running game the Raiders have envisioned.
Passing Defense: I feel like the Raiders defense, both passing and rushing, could easily get two different grades, one for their performance in the first half and one for their drastically different performance in the second half. The Raiders secondary gave up 264 yards through the air and three touchdowns, including the game winning touchdown with 14 seconds left in the game. Chris Johnson had a terrible game as he was used the entire second half by Stevie Johnson. Not only did CJ give up a number of big plays, he was also called for a number of bad penalties. While 264 yards is by no means gaudy numbers, three touchdown is hard to swallow, and most importantly they gave up the winning touchdown on a pass to a painfully wide open receiver.
Rushing Defense: Boy oh boy was the Raiders run defense bad in week two. The Raiders shut down the Broncos run game in week one, and looked as though they might do the same thing in week two. That was, of course, until Fred Jackson came out in the second half and tore the Raiders run defense a new one. Jackson finished the game with 117 yards and two touchdowns as he controlled the second half and lead the Bills back into the game. On five fewer carries than Darren McFadden, he was able to put up 45 more yards and one more touchdown. This looked like the pre-Seymour Raiders rush defense.
Special Teams: One week removed from the Broncos game where the Raiders Sebastian Janikowski was the hero after booting an NFL record tying 63 yard field goal, the Raiders special teams were virtually non existant. Janikowski did not attempt a single field goal, and the Raiders kick return game was nothing short of pathetic. With Jacoby Ford out of the game, Hue Jackson made the shocking and stupid decision to have Nick Miller return kick offs. The result? Oakland started every drive where Miller attempted a return, behind the 20 yard line. The Raiders post kick off drives started from the 18 yard line, the 14 yard line, the 14 yard line again and the 12 yard line. The Raiders kick return game was nothing short of pathetic this week.
Coaching: Mental errors, lack of discipline and poor coaching decisions doomed the Raiders in the second half. All of this should fall squarely on the shoulders of head coach Hue Jackson. Mental errors and a lack of mental toughness by the Raiders almost cost them the win in week one and did cost them the win in week two. This is a loss that head coach Hue Jackson and defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan should step forward and take credit for.
Overall: After starting the game in absolutely dominant fashion, the Raiders allowed a Bills team that was showered with boos by its own fans at the end of the first half, to get back in the game and pull off a win that they certainly should not have gotten. This was a loss for the Raiders more than it was a win for the Bills. The Raiders choked away an 18 point first half lead and did so in dramatically poor fashion.