Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/6/12
Week 13 has come and gone, and a couple more cadavers were dropped off at the mortuary.The Chiefs were merely a prelude to the slew of departed souls who would be making their way onto my concrete slabs.They've been inevitably tagged and bagged; now it's merely time to examine what caused these wretched souls to fulfill the destiny that their mortal coil demands.Subject: Oakland RaidersDate of Death: December 2, 2012Record at Time of Death: 3-9Contributing Factors to Death1. Descent of the Running Game3.77 yards a carry. That's what Oakland averages with their running game so far this season, which is the fifth worst mean in the NFL.Darren McFadden was having a rough year long before the ankle injury which has sidelined him for the past month. In 8 games, McFadden ran the ball 139 times for 455 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's a scant 3.27 YPA.A year ago, in another injury shortened season, McFadden ran for 614 yards on 113 carries, good for 5.43 YA.Think about that: with 26 less carries, McFadden still had 159 more yards last year than this year.Only four times has Oakland as a team broken 100 yards on the ground in 2012, maxing out at 149 against Atlanta.Their lowest total was just 22 yards, in a game where Carson Palmer and company had to play catch-up against Tampa Bay, still losing 42-32.2. Defense Generally AwfulOakland's defense in 2011 wasn't any great shakes, hence the non-retention of defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, and the hiring of new coach Dennis Allen, as well as new D-cord Jason Tarver.So far, they haven't gotten out of the starting blocks.For one thing, you can run on the Raiders: opponents are averaging 4.66 yards per attempt against them, and on three occasions, opponents have topped 200 yards rushing as a team against them.Doug Martin alone darted for 251 yards, a rookie record, while Reggie Bush hit the juvenation machine with 172 back in September.Oakland also has the lowest percentage of negative pass plays (pass plays ending in a sack or pick) in the NFL, a horrid 5.16 percent rate.Easy to understand that one: the Raiders have just 14 touchdowns and 8 picks all season.As if that weren't enough, Oakland has the seventh worst third-down percentage on defense, with opponents converting at a 41.88 percent clip.No wonder Oakland allows 31.3 PPG, the worst average in the league.3. Palmer Can't Save the DayWith a defense that terrible, you need an offense that can dig them out. Without much of a running game, Carson Palmer's had to rely on his talents in seeking out the likes of Brandon Myers, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Denarius Moore in order to undo the damage.It's not that Palmer's had a bad year. He's completed over 60 percent of his passes, has thrown 20 TDs, and has an 84.4 rating. Palmer throws 294.3 yards a game, which is a good indicator that he has to take to the air in order to try and save the day.Palmer has, though, thrown 13 picks through 12 games, which is to be expected when you throw the ball 503 times in those dozen matchups.The fact that Palmer has to average 41.9 pass attempts a game is pathetic.Oakland's third-down percentage on offense is a minuscule 33.94 percent, the sixth worst in the NFL. Maybe Palmer can be blamed for being unable to get over the hump in crucial spots, but when he has to shoulder the burden with little help, he deserves a little more credit for trying to make it all work.PREVIOUS AUTOPSIESKansas City ChiefsJacksonville JaguarsCarolina Panthers
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