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Raiders suffer defensive meltdown
JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12: Darren McFadden  of the Oakland Raiders runs past Daryl Smith  of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The Oakland Raiders had a defensive meltdown in northern Florida as they were overtaken in the . After only scoring once in the first half, the Jaguars posted a 21 point third quarter. And by the time it was over, both Rashard Jennings and Maurice Jones-Drew had eclipsed the 100 yard mark.  

With 1:53 left in the game, Darren McFadden would take a handoff up the middle for a game tying touchdown, but a failure in the Raiders kickoff coverage let the Jaguars returner, Deji Karim, set the Jags up at the Raiders 30 yard line. On the very next play, Maurice Jones-Drew would nail the coffin shut with a thirty yard touchdown run giving the Jaguars the victory 38-31.

The real turning point of the game came when the Raiders were holding a 24-14 lead in the third quarter. It was Jennings who would take the ball 74-yards for a touchdown and that play would be challenged by Tom Cable and upheld. The timeout that this challenge used up could’ve been useful at the end of the game when Jason Campbell hit Jacoby Ford on the Jaguars 22-yrad line with three seconds left on the clock.  

On the ensuing kickoff following the Jennings run, Jacoby Ford would fumble and it would be recovered by the Jaguars deep in Raiders’ territory. To cap that drive off, Jaguars’ quarterback David Garrard would throw a touchdown to Mike Sims-Walker. That was a play that the Raiders would’ve like to have had a challenge for because upon further review it appeared that Sims-Walker only got one foot in bounds. That touchdown call gave the Jaguars 28-24 lead, their first lead of the game.

The Jaguars would score 31 of their 38 points in the second half. While the Raiders’ offense would put up 474 yards, 209 by Darren McFadden, their defense that appeared to be in the Jaguars huddle in the first half, would turn out to be the thorn in the side of their playoff hopes. The Raiders defense was lights out in the first half, but in the second half, you could hardly tell they were on the field.

 They failed to shut down the Jaguars rushing attack, a must if you are going to beat the Jaguars. They failed to get to David Garrard in the second half, leaving him with far too much to scan the field. That was after they limited the Jaguars on the ground in the first half and had David Garrard running for his life at the same time. Although they were clearly trying to get a good rotation of fresh players on the field defensively, you have to wonder how much they missed Rolando McClain’s presence on their defense. McClain was ruled inactive prior to the game with a lingering foot injury that is now being referred to as tendonitis.

Meanwhile, Jason Campbell played as good of a game as a Raiders’ quarterback has had in a long time. He had a perfect rating headed into the locker room at halftime. Campbell would finish the game 21-30 with 320 yards and two touchdowns. Both of Campbell’s touchdown passes came in the first half of the game, one of them right before the end of the half. He would finish with a rating of 127.6.

Darren McFadden had arguably his best game as a Raider running for 123 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns and also catching three passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. He looked dynamic and explosive for most of the game, breaking tackles, throwing powerful stiff arms, and spinning his way past Jaguars defenders only to have his efforts short-circuited by a defense that normally plays very well when the offense has a good game.

 Jacksonville’s David Garrard was clearly outplayed by Jason Campbell, but threw three touchdown passes. Mojo and Jennings combined to give the Raiders defense a fit with a combined 210 yard two touchdown performance. Once again, you have to wonder if the game would’ve turned out differently with McClain in the Raiders line-up. Nonetheless, we will never know and the Raiders continue their trend of losing to the teams outside of their division, as well as losing to teams on the east coast, and most likely, their trend of not making the playoffs.

They drop to 6-7 on the year, despite being 4-0 in their division as well as 4-2 at home. They are now 2-5 on the road and 2-7 outside of their own division; a division in which they are clearly the best team when they play their best football. While this loss will be a heartbreaker, the Raiders still have a shot at finishing the season at .500 or better and they have a really good chance to break the streak of double-digit losing seasons that has now accumulated to seven straight seasons.

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