Beat writer Jerry McDonald graded the Raiders off their performance against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Here is a look at how the Raiders graded out:
Carson Palmer (22-for-40, 312 yards) had his third straight game of 300 yards or more, but 113 of those were tacked on with the Raiders already trailing 35-10. Two interceptions were costly — one that Malcolm Jenkins returned 55 yards for a touchdown, the other that bounced off Brandon Myers in the end zone for a Saints interception. Palmer and Denarius Moore were barely in the same area code.
Marcel Reece gave the Raiders steady yards on the ground, finishing with 103 yards on 19 carries as the Raiders rushed for 120 yards overall and a respectable 4.6 yards per carry. The Raiders got no surge on a first-and-goal play at the 1, with Reece getting stuffed for a loss, starting a sequence that ended in an interception.
Lance Moore got cornerback Michael Huff on a double move for a 38-yard touchdown inside of a minute left in the first half and later beat Ron Bartell for a 16-yard score. Drew Brees was a coolly effieicent 20-for-27 for 219 yards and no interceptions. Brees was not sacked. Miles Burris failed to cover tight end Jimmy Graham on a goal line play. Touchdown. Grade: D
The Saints, not known as a big rushing team, gained 153 yards on 28 carries, averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. Mark Ingram had 12 rushes for 67 yards and a 27-yard touchdown run on the first offensive snap of the second half. Defense gave up runs of 27, 25, 19 and 14 yards. Rolando McClain had 10 tackles in the base defense.
Coye Francies had a chance at a big kickoff return and fell at the 20-yard line. A 75-yard kickoff return by Travaris Cadet to open the second half swung momentum permanently to the side of the Saints. Sebastian Janikowski converted his only field goal attempt from 40 yards. Shane Lechler can’t catch a break kicking inside the 20 as everything rolls into the end zone. Grade: D
Whatever the coaching staff is saying at halftime isn’t working. The Raiders have been outscored 123-34 in the third quarter. However, the loss to New Orleans had more to do with players getting beat by better players than it did with offensive or defensive play-calling. If the Raiders could have gotten out of their own way and taken a lead, they might have run the ball all day.