Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 10/20/14
Perhaps the only big play from Oakland’s week 4 loss to Denver was a 37 yard pass and catch from Palmer to second year receiver Denarius Moore. The play looked to be the result of an audible call from Palmer at the line and the long completion got the Raiders into position to make a field goal at the end of the half – the last points they’d score in the extremely lopsided game. The Raiders came out in a run formation with two wide receivers, Derek Hagan and Moore, a TE, FB and RB. The Raiders looked likely to be running to the right side – where Hagan was the receiver but not in wide position – because they were in an offset I to the strong side (the strong side is where the TE is lined up). In the backfield were McFadden and Reece with Palmer directly under center.  TE Brandon Myers was in the strong side slot between RT Willie Smith and Derek Hagan. The Denver defense was in a 3-4 combination with 6 in the box (the box is the space between the tackles).  They had the 3 down lineman and the LBs were shifted to the strong side with the strong-side OLB lined up versus Myers in the slot. Denver’s SS had come down for run support on the strong side as the indication, again, was the Raiders would be trying a strong side run.  The FS was back and between the hashmarks so the Broncos were in a man cover-1 formation.  Man, meaning that the DBs were matched up 1-1 on the receivers and backs and there was one safety back deep.   Palmer saw this formation and called an audible, possibly calling out of the run play and into the deep pass play once he saw that Moore would likely be single-covered on the outside left. From right to left, at the snap, Hagan ran a shallow crossing route across center, Myers ran outside and then curled back in for a reception and Marcel Reece ran out of the backfield into the right flat.  McFadden delayed a moment then headed up between the RG and RT to be an outlet receiver, chipping the DE on his way out. Denver had to account for all of those receivers and didn’t get any great rush on Palmer.  Had he held onto the ball longer one of the MLBs would have had a pretty good shot on him but he got the ball out before that player got to him. The action of the other receivers in the pattern was all close to the 1st down marker and that froze the FS because he didn’t know where the ball was going to go, so he waited a moment to make sure the ball wasn’t going short.  That allowed Palmer the space to fit the ball into Moore who ran a 9 route- straight down the field. Palmer had good protection on the play and made a fantastic throw – as you can see, it got right into Moore’s hands over the outstretched hands of the DB, Tracy Porter. Had it been a shade farther, Moore probably could have continued his acceleration and reached the end zone but he had to stop his momentum slightly to get the ball which gave the FS a chance to cover ground and get to him.  The FS made a TD saving open-field tackle on Moore’s legs to bring him down.   The play was a reminder of how explosive the team can be when they are working well in sync.  The Raiders hope that this bye week allows them to get their offensive and defensive kinks worked out so that they can come out week 5 versus Atlanta with a much better showing.
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