By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at 2:10 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Beat writer Jerry McDonald graded the Raiders off their performance against the Cleveland Browns in a 20-17 defeat at the Coliseum:
Once more, Carson Palmer had a big yardage day (34 of 54, 351 yards, 2 TDs) but had a lethal interception by Sheldon Brown on a first-and-10 pass to Juron Criner from the Cleveland 33 while trailing 13-10. Denarius Moore was benched for dropped passes. Darrius Heyward-Bey had a drop. Brandon Myers tied a team record with 14 receptions (for 130 yards) and a touchdown.
The Raiders ran the ball fairly well, but for whatever reason didn’t stick with it. Jeremy Stewart had 46 yards on nine carries and looked comfortable on inside and outside zone runs. Marcel Reece added 36 yards on seven carries. Palmer had a three-yard sneak for a first down on short yardage.
Rookie Brandon Weeden had his best day as a pro, completing 25 of 36 passes for 364 yards and a 44-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon. He was sacked only once and completed some passes after taking some ferocious shots. Matt Giordano and Phillip Adams both had interceptions before they left with concussions, but the Raiders gave up eight pass plays of 20 yards or more.
Trent Richardson had to work for his yards, needing 20 carries to gain 72 yards, a 3.6 yard average, with one touchdown on a 1-yard run. Monterio Hardesty had a 19-yard run and finished with 39 yards on five attempts. Strong safety Tyvon Branch was credited with 12 tackles.
Sebastian Janikowski had a 51-yard field goal and missed from 61 — hardly a gimme. Shane Lechler had two punts inside the 20-yard line and had another trickle into the end zone. Josh Cribbs was held to 16 yards on two punt returns. The Raiders lost 15 yards of field position when Coye Francies got a facemask penalty while covering a punt.
There was some valid second-guessing of Dennis Allen’s decision to continue on for a touchdown while trailing 20-10 instead of taking a field goal and going for an onsides kick for a chance to tie. By the time the Raiders scored, the game was over. Offensive game plan abandoned the run as if the makeup margin was 20 points instead of 10.