Originally written November 25, 2012 on Thoughts from the Dark Side:
The Raiders lost an ugly game to Cincinnati today, losing 34-10 and falling to 3-8 on the season.  While the Raiders showed some fight at times it was a game that went all Cincinnati’s way. The Raiders were shut out in the first half of the game and went into halftime down 21-0.  The Raiders allowed BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who is not typically a big-play running back to run for 129 yards, just shy of his career high, on only 19 carries – a 6.8 yard average. The defense also allowed Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton to finish 16/30 for 210 yards, a QB rating of 109. On offense the Raiders weren’t able to do much.  The offensive line looked terrible most of the day, allowing constant pressure on Palmer and letting defenders into the backfield to limit running backs to minimal gains.  The OL did seem to pick up their game a bit after halftime but much of that appeared to be that the Cincy team as a whole looked to have relaxed a bit given their dominance in the first half. The game wasn’t ever in doubt but the Raiders may have been able to mount a comeback if it weren’t for some incredibly bad officiating followed by the Raiders’ players losing their collective cools. The Raiders had some momentum going late in the 3rd quarter that culminated in a TD from Palmer to Denarius Moore. Then, in the early 4th quarter, the team was marching down the field.  They had already gone 41 yards and had just gotten another 12 yard reception from Palmer to Reece but the officials called an extremely questionable clipping penalty on RG Mike Brisiel when reviews seemed to show that he was simply falling down as a result of contact and fell into another player.  The Raiders were unable to recover that drive, failing to do anything on 3rd & 24. The Bengals then took over after a punt that placed the ball on the Cincinnati 16.  On 3rd & 6, Dalton targeted WR Mohamed Sanu but he fumbled the ball after a well-timed hit from slot corner Joselio Hanson.   Hanson then made a great heads-up play by jumping out of bounds and batting the ball back in bounds before it or any part of his body touched.  That meant the ball should have been live. Raiders SS Tyvon Branch scooped up the ball and ran it to the end zone for a TD – the Raiders should have had the lead cut from 17 points to 10 points. The Raiders should have had a TD, there, but instead what was described as an inadvertent whistle blew the ball dead before the Raiders recovered it and instead of the Raiders getting a defensive TD or even the ball, the whistle allowed the Bengals to get the ball back either at the spot where it ended or to replay the down.  They chose to replay the down. Then, on the next play, there was a late false start before the snap but DE Lamarr Houston chose to ignore that and came through the line, throwing Andy Dalton to the ground.  The Bengals LT Andrew Whitworth took exception to this and came around to brawl with Houston.  Both players were ejected as well as Raiders DT Tommy Kelly who came off the bench and onto the field to brawl. Those three plays killed the Raiders hopes of coming back in a game in which all the breaks went Cincy’s way and the Raiders were never able to get any sustained momentum. The loss, the fourth in the row for the Raiders, brings ever mounting pressure on Dennis Allen to turn around a team that many thought were promising coming into the season.  Mark Davis had said he was looking for improvement but was seeing “regression” and it’s hard to argue with that right now. The Raiders are not only not winning, they haven’t been competitive this season, losing 3 games already by 20 or more points. Allen will have to dig deeper into himself, his coaching staff and the players to try to end the season with some progress and some wins as a springboard to the 2013 season. Follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
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