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Recap and observations from Raiders 24-20 loss to NY Giants

The Raiders dropped to 3-6, today, after losing 24-20 to the NY Giants. Both teams struggled in the game but the Giants were able to make more plays than the hapless Raiders. The Raiders have now dropped 9 straight games to NFC teams.

Particularly worrisome, Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor looked terrible, going 11 of 26 for only 122 yards and a killer INT that set up the Giants for one of their TDs. The Raiders receivers were forgettable, combining for only 4 catches for 51 yards, most of which came from Denarius Moore (3 catches, 45 yards).

-The Raiders defense did well enough, holding the Giants offense to 17 points despite some good field position given to them by the offense. The Giants offense twice started the ball in the Raiders red zone and came away with 10 of their 17 offensive points on those drives. The Giants’ special teams added another TD on a blocked punt in the first quarter.

-For the Raiders, they only really scored when the Giants offense gave them the ball. The Raiders scored 17 of their 20 points after turnovers with two fumbles giving them great field position that resulted in 10 points and an INT that was returned by for a TD by CB Tracey Porter.

-Center Stefen Wizniewski had a number of low snaps in the game and has had a number of low snaps over the course of the season, too. In the offseason, it may be time to find a better player at Center and solve the team’s guard problem by moving Wizniewski to one of the guard spots.

-Terrelle Pryor struggled mightily over the course of the game, regressing to simply trying to out-run the defense instead of moving around and using his blockers to give him time to throw down-field. This is not the first time Pryor has focused on abandoning the pocket instead of using the pocket to his advantage.

-Second round pick Menelik Watson had his first career start at RT and looked okay. He has good motion and kicks out well in pass protection. He had one bad penalty on a false start but no other penalties, to his credit.

-On the other side of the line, LT Khalif Barnes was a one-man penalty machine. He was called for 4 total penalties, for a total of 35 penalty yards. That was half of the Raiders 8 penalties and more than half of the team’s total 65 penalty yards.

-The Raiders had some strong special teams’ play with one exception. They consistently forced Giants’ punter Steve Weatherford into poor punts and got a hand on at least one punt for good field position. KR Taiwan Jones did a good job as a returner. The Raiders did have one punt blocked for a TD, allowing pressure on Marquette King right up the middle of the line.

-Tracey Porter had a solid game with several passes defended and the INT of the Eli pass that he returned for the TD. The rest of the defensive backs were not as good and particularly struggled in man coverage. The Raiders were missing first round pick DJ Hayden, who comes in for nickel packages. In his place, Phillip Adams looked very, very rusty.

-RB Rashad Jennings, starting in the place of oft-injured Darren McFadden, ended with 88 yards on 20 carries for a respectable 4.4 yards per carry. It says here that Jennings is a better running back than McFadden right now. He's not as explosive but he's very consistent and able to run for tough yards. He has run well in the last two weeks with McFadden out. He's not likely the team's answer as a starting running back but he's worth resigning as a backup and special teams player.

-Today's game was not one of Greg Olson's better days. Many of the play calls he dialed up on short yardage situations were passes. This was puzzling because Jennings was running well and Pryor was not passing well at all. Sometimes play callers outsmart themselves and it appeared that Olson did that, today.

-On the other side of the ball, DC Jason Tarver made some great calls. He blitzed when they needed to blitz and, for the most part, called a great game against the Giants. Two time Super Bowl QB Eli Manning was only 12 of 22 for a mere 140 yards. He had a TD and a pick-six INT.

Andre Brown had a career high 30 carries for 115 yards, only a 3.5 yard per carry average. Brown did run for a TD on a goal line run where he followed a fantastic block by his FB, John Connor, who completely negated Charles Woodson.

-The Raiders now must travel to Houston next week before playing Tennessee at home. Both Houston and Tennessee have been like the Raiders this year in that they’ve looked good and bad from one week to the next. The Raiders need to put together a more solid game plan and execute to have any hope of success.