Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 10/15/12
Coming off the bye, the Oakland Raiders were trying to prove they are able to make the adjustments and find a winning formula. Against the Falcons on Sunday, the Raiders put their words into action by dominating and controlling the game against the Atlanta Falcons on the road. A few mistakes cost them the victory, when kick Matt Bryant made a last second 55 yard field goal to give the Falcons a 23-20 win. However, the Raiders made mistakes they can correct and showed they have the talent and heart to compete with the NFL's best.

 

“I thought we came out here today ready to play after a week off and our players played extremely hard,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “Offensively we were able to move the ball just weren’t able to finish things off. Defensively we got three turnovers that affected us. Obviously penalties affected us and we have got to tip our hats to Atlanta they came to play and they did just enough to win the game. That was a good football team. A good challenge for us we just came up on the short end of the stick.”


The Raiders coaching staff put together a fantastic game plan that was executed well by the players. The defense had been especially bad in recent weeks against the pass, but slowed the fast paced, explosive Falcons offense to just 53 plays and 286 yards. They forced three interceptions and had pressure on Matt Ryan all afternoon. They mixed up coverages and blitzes to keep the Falcons off balanced and shut down the running game by holding Atlanta to just 45 yards rushing, forcing them to be one dimensional. It was an inspired effort that was good enough to win.

On offense the Raiders moved the ball with ease. Quarterback Carson Palmer was very good for most of the game throwing for 353 yards and a touchdown. His fumble in the third quarter was brought back to the Raiders two yard line, but only led to three points for the Falcons after a huge goal line stand by the defense. Late in the fourth quarter he was intercepted by Asante Samuel, who jumped the route and returned it for a 79 yard touchdown. Palmer responded by driving the Raiders back down the field for a game tying touchdown. The Raiders amassed 474 yards of total offense. The mistakes by Palmer can be corrected by protection and his decision making. The fortitude he showed by driving the Raiders back down for a touchdown after a crucial pick six, cannot be coached.

“I didn’t think he was going to make the play he did,” Palmer said. “You have to give him credit. He made a good play, but I can’t put us in that position. I need to at least make the tackle. It’s a mistake I can’t make. It’s a mistake I made that cost us the game and can’t happen.”


Running back Darren McFadden carried the ball 27 times for 70 yards. He had several nice runs called back by penalties, but continued to keep the Atlanta defense honest by running hard and his ability to break a game changing run. The Raiders did a tremendous job on offense of establishing the run and keeping possession. They wanted to keep the Falcon's offense off the field and improve their 27 percent third down conversion rate. They completed both by holding a 13 minutes time of possession advantage by rushing for 149 yards and going 5-13 on third down.

It was a demoralizing loss for the Raiders. The coaching staff put together a terrific game plan that the players executed well. They played with heart and passion. They dominated an undefeated team on the road. They lost because of turnovers and penalties, which can be corrected. Oakland proved they are a dangerous team when they execute and play fast. The final piece of the puzzle will be learning how to finish and win games.

 

 



Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
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