We only got into one matchup leading up this weeks game, but in that matchup we discussed several angles. Let’s take a look and see how those played out.
The Raiders offensive line did a good job of picking up the blitz on Sunday. They ended up getting only two sacks and Jason Campbell had sufficient time on most pass plays.
The line had help as the Raiders often utilized max protection units. They went as far as putting in Khalif Barnes as an extra Tackle in some formations. The other ways for the Raiders to neutralize the pass rush that we discussed were establishing the run, screen passes and throwing on first down.
I proposed that the Raiders could slow down the pass rush by establishing the run. This got John thinking that the Raiders should throw on first down to take advantage of the poor Seahawk pass defense and stay out of 3rd and longs.
I charted the first down plays up until the point that Campbell connected to Heyward-Bey for a 69-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter. Up to that point the Raiders had 18 run plays and 6 pass plays.
On the 18 run plays, the Raiders averaged 7.1 yards per carry. This included the 30 yard reverse. On those 18 carries, 7 of them ended up going for 1 or fewer yards.
On the six pass plays, Jason Campbell was 3/4 with 94 yards. He had two scrambles for 0 yards. The Raiders passed on the first, first down and then seemed more content to wear out the Hawks with the run. Given the way their defense was performing, you can’t knock the strategy.
The Raiders did not rely heavily on the screen pass, but they did execute it with great success when they did use it.
Another way the Raiders limited the Seahawks exotic 3rd down blitzes was to run into them. On the Raiders first touchdown drive in the second quarter, Jason Campbell audibled out of the shotgun on 3rd and 9 and handed off to Michael Bush. Bush pounded his way through a Seahawk defense that featured 7 DBs for a 8-yard gain. This set up the 4th and 1 play that went for a touchdown.
That was just one play, but it was enough to get the Seahawks to question sending 7 DBs onto the field.