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McDonald’s grades Raiders off Cowboys game

By Steve Corkran
Friday, November 29th, 2013 at 11:15 am in Oakland Raiders.

Beat writer Jerry McDonald graded the Raiders off their 31-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s a look at the Raiders’ grades:

Passing offense: For two series in the first half, Matt McGloin gave the Raiders quarterback play that was as good or better than anything they’d seen this season. He led two touchdown drives and was 5-for-5 on third-down conversion passes for 81 yards. Other than that, not much. He lost a snap from center at the 2-yard line that turned into a touchdown. Threw a fourth-quarter interception into the end zone toward Jacoby Ford — a jump ball to a 5-foot-9 receiver. Andre Holmes had the best game a Raiders receiver has had this season with seven catches for 136 yards.

Grade: C

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) is tackled by Oakland Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. ((AP Photo/Tim Sharp) )

Rushing offense: The Cowboys, giving up more than 133 yards per game against the run, were supposed to be easy to run against given Dallas’ Tampa 2 defense that plays it fairly straight. Instead, the Raiders had their second worst rushing performance of the season (25 carries, 50 yards). Rashad Jennings had only 35 yards on 17 carries, but had two 1-yard touchdown runs. Darren McFadden had 13 on five attempts, a 2.6 yards per carry average below the 3.6 he had before.

Grade: D-minus

Pass defense: The Raiders never got close to an interception against Tony Romo, who started slowly but finished 23 of 32 for 225 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant. Romo completed 17 of his last 19 passes, starting with a 73-yard drive to end the first half that swung momentum decidedly in the favor of the Cowboys. The Raiders were mostly OK with the “top down” coverage which prevents deep balls, but Romo too often found open receivers in short and intermediate range.

Grade: D

Dallas Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (25) run away from Oakland Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter (23) for a first down during the second half of an NFL football game on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. ((AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jose Yau))

Rush defense: The big surprise was how the Cowboys, the NFL’s 30th ranked rushing offense, pushed around the Raiders in the second half. Lance Dunbar, an undrafted rookie free agent, had 12 carries for 82 yards, including a 45-yard run. DeMarco Murray was kept in check for much of the game but began to gain ground late. He finished with 63 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns. Dallas had only one game of more than 100 yards rushing all season and had 132 of their 144 yards in the second half in taking control of the game.

Grade: D

Special teams: Great start with a 23-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Greg Jenkins, with Kaelin Burnett forcing the fumble from Terrance Williams. Punter Marquette King continued his excellentccpunting of late, with a 53.0 average, a 43.6 net and two punts inside the 20-yard line. Jenkins averaged 10.5 yards on four punt returns, an upgrade over Ford, who whose duties as a wide receiver were expanded because of injuries. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 45-yard field goal when the Raiders were trying to hang close in the fourth quarter.

Grade: B

Coaching: Another fast start, no finish game for the Raiders, although it’s hard to know if the coaching staff can do anything to help the team’s psyche. Coach Dennis Allen insisted the Raiders threw everything they had at the Cowboys and didn’t play “coverage” and limit rushers with a 21-7 lead. If so, they weren’t doing it very well. Still hard to fathom why Raiders didn’t involve Terrelle Pryor, their most explosive runner, in the wildcat instead of using Rashad Jennings.

Grade: D

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  • willy91137

    I am first should DA be fired
    I don’t think we ought to fire him yet I think he should get at least one more year I think he has a four-year contract

  • willy91137

    the defense is well assembled it just lacks good backups and in this years draft we can get a couple more corners and keep some of our veterans and and they should played much better plus a real edge pass rusher

  • DJ Johnny

    I don’t know if he should be or not.
    I like to present reasons for and against.
    Most are firmly on one side or the other.
    Blowing 14 pt leads 4 times already this yr doesn’t speak well for him imo.
    He certainly isn’t a miracle man. As evidenced by his 8-20 record.
    Maybe he’s a capable coach…I’m not sure.

  • willy91137

    there are Is only one way to find out keep him around for his full contract and see what works out and then because we are deftly rebuilding

  • DJ Johnny

    Reg has said he’s gonna “build it the right way”. He has pointed to how GB does it as an example of that.
    We know GB’s roster is filled with guys they have brought up. 51 of 53 players are draft picks and UDFA’s.
    Their roster is still basically the same as the one Reggie help build…less the last 2 drafts.
    Is it the last 2 drafts w/out Reggie that have caused the problems in GB? We can hope that plays into it.
    Fact is that the GB roster consists of ONE PLAYER..Aaron Rodgers.
    WITH Rodgers, the Packers are a juggernaut. A successful team that wins consistently and is a perennial SB contender.
    W/OUT Rodgers? 0-4-1 coming fresh off a major beatdown by Detroit on Tgiving day.
    Is the absence of Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley that devastating? At the very least it shows a severe lack of roster depth if it is.
    So what is the “GB WAY’ really?
    Might it be the real KEY to their success is ONE PLAYER?
    The results certainly suggest that.
    So…if Reggie does it the GB WAY then fine w/me.
    He’s got 50 mill. Does he go after a HOF level QB with that $ ?
    Should he? If so…who?

  • Michael

    The raiders never got close to an interception? Um Jenkins had one he should have caught, one almost fell into the hands of c wood, and there was another one that bounced off a linemans helmet that almost was in the hands of our linebacker

  • SlashNHack

    This is the first Raider team in a long time that is competive week in and week out. Sure we got blown out by Philly, but we are close.

    It was clear that the defense is NOT good unless they are running blitzes that bust through and we crowd the line. Every time there are 4 linemen with the linebackers and Dbs backed off we get gouged or burned. This tells me these guys are overmatched and only succeed because of the scheme. Dallas blew these guys off the ball when they lined up straight up….. We need some gamechangers on D. Houston was neutralized completely and he is our most dominant physical player on D size-speed wize. Roach and Burnett get eaten alive when the O line gets to the second level…. My guess is they are gassed… As they have been in 2nd halves

  • Raider Rick

    judging by the way Reg and D.a. conduct business……..Looks like TP2 has seen his last start as a QB for the Raiders. By not using our most dynamic player in any capacity yesterday should tell you that TP will not be used ever again. This coaching staff IS to blame, they are the ones that have to motivate an athlete’s psyche…….D.A. is done….hopefully Reggie “cookie monster” Mckenzie too……and nope I dont want Gruden either. Id take my chance with Lovie !

  • Raider Rick

    Green bay sucks…Besides Aaron rodgers….name a player……..This guy cant build shiznit

  • just sayin

    wow – NEVER got close to a pick – what game were you watching? #dumb&blind

  • MapleLaugher

    I’m sick of watching McFadden and Pryor on the sideline. They may get injured and take more chances, but they present an actual threat to the opposing D and give us a chance to win. McGloin and Jennings are awesome at playing very average and not messing up too bad (except for when McGloin fumbled a snap and Jennings foolishly tried to pick it up instead of falling on it on his own 2 yard line), while we look pedestrian and lose to beatable teams. Plus it’s nice to watch entertaining football, although watching recievers actually catch passes yesterday was fun for the first half of football. I wonder what kind of passing stats Pryor would have if he had one game his recievers made a few plays and his O line wasn’t a scrap heap of spare parts?

  • MapleLaugher

    You’ve correctly identified the fact the Raiders offensive coaches have not put our most talented players in the best mental or strategical positions to suceed. For a team as bad as we are, there are players standing on the sideline for us while plummers play in their spots that better coaches would have thriving on the field. It’s a shame.

  • wildsach

    agree. DA is fine w/ me. Let him live out his contract. Unforntunately this seems to be such a injury-laden yr for us. Plus, we def need more quality players on the defensive side of the ball. I think our QB situation is fine w/ McG in there—seems to be solid, just think we need a viable backup—not Pryor. He is more of a TE/WR type. Be nice if we get Clowney or similar type.