OAKLAND — If you’re wondering what Raiders coach Dennis Allen means when he says that his team’s offense is predicated upon patience, pounding away throughout the course of a game, just waiting for the dam to burst, so to speak.
In other words, it was running back Darren McFadden rushing for 21 yards on 15 carries and 108 yards on four carries. Add it all up, and McFadden averaged a gaudy 6.8 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
He had four rushes of 20 yards or more Sunday, the same number he had all last season.
His 129-yard effort marked the 13th time he has reached the century mark during his six-year NFL career. It also paved the way for the Raiders to amass 226 yards rushing overall in their 19-9 victory at the Coliseum.
Throw in a 28-yard run by backup back Rashad Jennings and a 27-yarder by Pryor and you see what Allen means about patience.
There are going to be times when McFadden gets stuffed at or near the line of scrimmage, as he was time and again Sunday. Then, he’s going to bust loose and rip off the kind of backbreaking run the Raiders are counting upon.
Part of that came about, Pryor said, because the Jaguars were so consumed by Pryor and his running ability. The Jaguars no doubt placed a huge premium on keeping tabs on Pryor on the heels of his 112-yard effort against the Colts a week earlier.
“That’s why D-Mac probably had a hundred and whatever he had,” Pryor said. “Then our other running back busted out, and that’s why I believe he had a great day. The Jaguars, they were shifting big time on me.”
McFadden averaged career-worst 3.3 yards last season. He averaged only 2.8 against the Colts in the opener. Yet, he always remained patient.
“Playing football so long, you know,” McFadden said. “It’s going to come like that, 1 and 2 yards here or there and then eventually they’re going to start popping. As a running back, you just have to know.”
– For all the talk, and backed up by a contract extension, the Raiders tend to pay little more than lip service to maximizing the talents of fullback Marcel Reece.
Against the Colts, Reece played only 24 of 63 offensive snaps. On Sunday, he ran the ball twice and had one pass thrown his way.
Reece scored Oakland’s first touchdown on an 11-yard run in which he spun off a defender inside the 5-yard line and dived across the goal line.
It was just another glaring example of how dangerous Reece can be with the ball in his hands and how misused he is by the Raiders most games.
– Sebastian Janikowski missed a field-goal attempt for the second straight game. This one came from 35 yards.
Let theories begin about what’s to blame, or rather who to blame. There are those who think Janikowski misses long-time holder Shane Lechler. Others say first-year punter, and holder, Marquette King still is working out the kinks as the holder on field-goal and extra-point attempts.
The smart money says, Janikowski will be fine and the two misses are nothing more than a talented golfer getting too quick on a swing or not finishing a swing.
After all, Janikowski drilled field goals of 46, 30, 29 and 29 yards in the same game that he missed Sunday.
– Allen said strong safety Tyvon Branch and left guard Lucas Nix suffered ankle injuries.
Of the two, it sounds as if Branch’s injury is the most worrisome.
“That looks to be a significant injury,” Allen said.
Branch was helped from the field by two team trainers in the first half, and the Raiders wasted little time announcing that Branch was out for the remainder of the game.
Brandian Ross and Usama Young saw time at safety after Branch departed.
As for Nix, he was replaced by veteran Andre Gurode. It sounds as if Nix was coming out of the game, one way or the other.
“I’m not sure when he hurt the ankle but, obviously, with some of the struggles, we decided to get him out of the game so we went in that direction,” Allen said of Nix.
There were a few occasions when Nix whiffed on a block or just got manhandled. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Raiders make a change for the Broncos game, be it with Gurode or someone else.
– The Raiders sacked Chad Henne five times Sunday. That upped their total to nine through two games.
To put that in perspective, the Raiders notched only 25 sacks in 16 games last season.
Why the change? Let’s give that one to Allen.
“It’s just a combination of rush and coverage,” Allen said. “I mean, there’s some times where we do a pretty nice job in coverage and give our guys a chance to get to the quarterback. We try to be multiple and send several different guys in different directions and our rush has continued to improve.”