Two weeks in, and the Raiders have yet to win a game. They imploded in the third quarter against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams, and then they fell apart late against Von Miller and the Denver Broncos. What can they do to get their first win in the Gruden era against Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins? Let’s talk about it.
Oakland Raiders Week Three: Gameplan for Victory
1. Stop. The. Run.
In week one, the Raiders gave up 140 rushing yards to Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams. In week two, they gave up 168 yards to Phillip Lindsay and the Denver Broncos. This week, the Raiders face Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore, who are averaging a little over four yards per carry through two games.
Ryan Tannehill and a limited receiving group headlined by Kenny Stills aren’t anything to sneeze at, but they’re not going to cost Gareon Conley and the secondary to lose any sleep. The Raiders need to remain physical on the ground for sixty minutes, something they’ve struggled with so far this season. Stay rested, stay physical, and stop the run. Make Ryan Tannehill try to beat you.
2. Turn Impressive Drives Into Actual Points
As great as Derek Carr looked last week, it didn’t seem to matter. As accurate and efficient as he was, only two Raider drives resulted in touchdowns. We can talk about how Donald Penn cost us the game by failing to block on that extra point, but the reality is that the Raiders need to score more. We have analysts saying Colin Kaepernick would easily take Derek Carr’s job, and that’s because despite his best efforts, the Raiders haven’t turned moral victories into tangible wins.
He would beat out Derek Carr in 45 seconds. https://t.co/x8xxgQsyli
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 20, 2018
Even if they’re just stacking Mike Nugent field goals, the Raiders need to score on these efficient drives. Preferably with touchdowns. And I can already think of one way they can do just that.
3. Get Marshawn Going
For the love of all things holy, get Marshawn Lynch going. They gave him the ball nine times in the second half against Denver, but he never really seemed to get going. Jon Gruden keeps trying to make “Doug Martin” happen, but it’s gotta be Beast. They can bring in the smaller backs on passing downs, but if you’re going to be running in between the tackles, give it to the guy who is known for breaking tackles! Get. The. Beast. Going.
4. Maintain Long Drives
Last week, Bruce Irvin and the defense had a serious problem in the fourth quarter. It was the hottest game in the history of Mile High, in that ridiculous altitude, in only the second week of the season, and the defense was gassed. The video of Bruce Irvin and Arden Key stumbling around while the Broncos ran wild in the fourth has earned a lot of criticism for the defensive captain and the rookie, and while some of it is deserved, nature definitely wasn’t doing them any favors.
Unfortunately, in week three? That doesn’t change much.
While the Raiders don’t have to play in the Denver altitude, they have a different set of problems on their hands. Instead of Denver’s altitude, the Raiders will have Miami’s humidity, and conflicting weather reports indicate there might be some rain.
How do you counteract bad weather? By maintaining long drives on offense. By keeping the offense on the field, you can keep the defense off, and more importantly, well rested. It’s not like the Dolphins are world-beaters on offense, even in their wins, they’ve been unimpressive, but a gassed Raiders team could give up big plays to anyone.
This point basically sums up the other points. Get Marshawn Lynch going on long drives, preferably resulting in points, keeping the run defense off the field, and bada bing, Gruden gets a Gatorade bath on the sideline, and the season can really start revving up.
5. Just Win, Baby
Nothing more needs to be said. The Raiders have shown signs of life. They’ve shown signs of brilliance, but they just haven’t been able to put it together. Build on what they’ve been doing well, fix what they’ve been doing wrong, get the lead, and finish. There are reasons to be optimistic about this team, don’t listen to trolls talking about Nick Bosa, get excited, because once this team gets it right, it’s going to be fun to watch.