By Ryan Leong
Where to begin with the 2012 Oakland Raiders?
So far, they’ve been a tremendous disappointment. Sure, it’s a transitional year given the new head coach in Dennis Allen and the new general manager Reggie McKenzie, but the Silver and Black have only one win to show for themselves and a lot of negative stats to backup their 1-3 record.
All sports are pretty simple. It always comes down to execution. In football, you have to make plays. You don’t, and you don’t get results.
Offensively, the Raiders have scored the second fewest points in the AFC with 67. They’ve given up 125 which is a difference of 58. That ranks them near the bottom of the NFL, along with other teams at or near the cellar of their respective divisions. The 125 points allowed, an average of 31.2 point per game, is a surprise given that Allen is supposed to be a defensive-minded coach.
Richard Seymour has been a non-factor and the Pro Bowl defensive tackle is a big name in reputation only this season. The same goes for lesser-known linemate Tommy Kelly. Last year, the two combined for one-third of the Raiders’ sacks. This year, the team has only three sacks and the duo have combined for one, with a fourth quarter hit by Seymour on Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The best thing to happen for the Raiders this season? How about not playing and watching all the other three division foes lose in Week Five. The Chiefs lost to the Baltimore Ravens, falling to 1-4 and putting Kansas City in sole possession of last place in the AFC West. Quarterback Matt Cassel, who has been a disaster at quarterback for the Chiefs, was sacked hard by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in the fourth quarter. He was unresponsive on the ground for several minutes and later diagnosed with a concussion.
Of course football is a dangerous game, but no one wants to see anyone get hurt. Best wishes to Cassell for a speedy recovery while Brady Quinn fills in at quarterback.
Arguably, the Raiders biggest rival are the Denver Broncos, and they too dropped their game to the Patriots 31-21 despite an awesome fantasy football performance from Peyton Manning, with 345 yards passing and three touchdowns.
The nightcap was the division leading 3-1 Chargers taking on the winless 0-4 Saints on Sunday Night Football. You knew with Drew Brees on the verge of a milestone and with exiled coach Sean Payton watching from the stands at the Superdome, there’s no way the Saints would lose.
Brees needed only to throw for one score to pass the legendary Johnny Unitas for first place on the all-time list with 48 consecutive games throwing at least one touchdown pass. He didn’t throw one but four TD’s as the Saints outscored the Chargers 31-24, scoring the final 17 points for the victory.
The Raiders reconvene at their Alameda facility this week and hopefully the coaching staff has made adjustments to their schemes and plays. They need to channel the late owner Al Davis’ famous motto: Just win baby!
Oakland faces a huge test this week when the Silver and Black play at Atlanta to take on the Falcons, who are 5-0.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Raiders news, see CBS Sports Sacramento.
Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.