GRADING THE RAIDERS
How the team performed in a 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots in Mexico City.
Marshawn Lynch (11 carries, 67 yards) played well. So much for the good. Wide receiver Seth Roberts (key drop, fumble inside the 10-yard line, false start on first-and-10) had a terrible day, while quarterback Derek Carr finished with a 68.2 rating. His one interception was tipped. All of this against a New England defense that has leaked throughout the season while beset by key injuries. And the Raiders never took advantage of any of it. Some actually thought this could be a shootout. Must have been the thin air talking.
Tom Brady was the varsity senior playing flag football against a bunch of elementary school kids, completing 30-of-37 for 339 yards with three touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different receivers and was sacked once. The Patriots averaged 4.5 yards per rush and racked up a total of 420 yards. The Raiders extended their NFL record without an interception to open a season, now at 10 straight. They caused a fumble, but couldn’t recover it.
Special teams: C
As in a scoop of vanilla. Bland. Boring. Nothing of note. The Raiders punted three times for a 45.7 average, never attempted a field goal or extra point (they went for two following the team’s only score) and faced just one punt return and none on kickoffs.
What’s that line about coaches needing to put their players in the absolute best position to succeed? How, then, could Jack Del Rio and his staff ever believe it a smart move to start a rookie safety in Obi Melifonwu, who had played just seven defensive snaps before Sunday, at cornerback? He has neither the experience or speed to hold up against a wide receiver like Brandin Cooks, who beat Melifonwu for a 64-yard score. The Raiders are reeling, and it’s decisions like the one to start Melifonwu that prove their issues reach way beyond those playing.
Ed Graney Las Vegas Review-Journal