McDonald grades Raiders off performance in loss to Browns

Here are the grades doled out by beat writer Jerry McDonald for the Raiders based off their performance against the Cleveland Browns in a 23-13 loss:

Passing offense
Derek Carr completed 34 of 54 passes for 328 yards and a touchdown, but the 18-yard scoring pass to Andre Holmes was with seven seconds remaining on their 13th possession. Mychal Rivera was reintroduced to the offense with seven receptions for 83 yards. It was the only drive during which the Raiders ran a play inside the 20-yard line. Grade: C

Rushing offense
Darren McFadden averaged 4.9 yards per carry, with 12 rushes for 59 yards. A lost fumble forced by Donte Whitner was the turning point of the game. Maurice Jones-Drew had only eight yards in six carries. Jamize Olawale couldn’t convert a third-and-1 rush. He has only two carries this season, twice on third-and-1, and he didn’t get the first down either time. Grade: D

Pass defense
Way too many breakdowns as Brian Hoyer completed 19 of 28 passes for 275 yards, a 6-yard touchdown throw to Andrew Hawkins and a passer rating of 111.5. He was sacked only once — by Justin Tuck — late in the game. Hawkins caught seven passes for 88 yards. Carlos Rogers dropped a would-be pick-six deep in Cleveland territory that could have changed momentum. Third-down pass defense was very good. Grade: C

Rush defense
The Cleveland three-headed monster of Ben Tate, Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell was stopped in its tracks, although Tate had a 5-yard scoring run. The Browns, who came into the game No. 5 in the NFL in rushing, had only 39 yards in 25 carries, averaging 1.6 yards per attempt, and had no run longer than seven yards. Six times Cleveland runners were dropped for losses, twice each by Khalil Mack and Sio Moore. Grade: A-minus.

Special teams
Marquette King punted seven times for a 44.0 average and a 43.0 net, placing one punt inside the 20-yard line. Sebastian Janikowski converted both of his field-goal attempts from distances of 46 and 38 yards. The Raiders ran a fake with Janikowski on the field on a would-be 56-yard attempt, with Jon Condo’s snap arriving low, Matt Schaub dropping it and then throwing an interception. Nothing of note in the return game for either team. Grade: C

The fake with the field-goal team on the field backfired. So did a trick play out of the wildcat, with McFadden throwing incomplete to Carr. It helped stifle momentum on the first drive. The Raiders failed to stick to the run when the game was close although McFadden was running well against the NFL’s 32nd-ranked rush defense. Whatever Jason Tarver did during the week to shore up third downs worked, as Cleveland was 2 for 12. The Raiders haven’t been flat under Sparano like they were at times under Dennis Allen, but they still can’t do what it takes to turn a close game into a win. Grade: C-minus

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