For what many view as a microcosm of 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Oakland Raiders 19-10. Oakland, already eliminated from the playoffs, showed defensive heart. On the other hand, the offense sputtered, failing to capitalize multiple times. Again, this team continues to struggle with the ball.
When John Pagano assumed control, few thought he would possess the ability to fix the defense. Tonight, the Raiders allowed only 216 total yards. That number matches the season-low yards given up by the defense. Ironically, that was Pagano’s first game. Additionally, the Eagles converted one of fourteen first downs. Pagano attacked all evening. Nick Foles completed half of his passes. When looking towards next year, assume Pagano will continue to make this defense an aggressive, opportunistic unit.
Although Derek Carr seems injured, there is no excuse for how he played last night. If his passes were not late, or short, they found the awaiting arms of Eagle defenders. Proponents will argue that missing Penn affected Carr. Granted, Penn provides blindside protection. At the same time, touch and release point while clean are not issues. Whether he is injured or not, Carr looked atrocious in the pocket, looking uneasy all evening. Consequently, the blame needs to find his shoulders first.
Raiders’ defensive lineman Jihad Ward notched his first career sack tonight. In front of his hometown, Ward dropped Nick Foles. While Ward’s tenure in Oakland remains marred by poor play, odd social media post and a lack of pass rush; last night gave a quick glimpse into what Reggie McKenzie saw. When you rewind the film, you will see Khalil Mack, doubled by two eagles, permitting ward to get home. No matter how the sack happened, Ward can finally celebrate.
Jalen Richard coughing up the ball in the fourth, pretty much put the game away. If you saw the fourth down botched laterals, you could guess that the Raiders did not have a clue, as to how to execute offensively. Richard continues his nightmarish 2017 season. Sooner or later, the Raider may upgrade, casting richard off.
In reality, the Raiders played for little, except the ability to finish .500. Beyond that, fringe players looked to gain positive film for their next stop in their NFL journey. Hopefully, this shows the management that certain assistant need replacing.
Up Next: With one game remaining, the Raiders head to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. A win gives the Raiders a chance to exit the season on a positive note. However, with looming uncertainty, a win will not distract from the long off-season. Additionally, the Raiders can spoil the Chargers last home game of the season. In and of it, the team will be hard-pressed to rally around that.