Picture this: You have a chemistry test at the end of the week. You spend hours and hours getting familiar with and memorizing the material. Then, test day comes, and it turns out the test is actually in the subject of economics. That is essentially what happened with the Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
During the week, many Raiders coaches echoed that stopping Cam Newton would be the Raiders’ top priority. In that sense, the Raiders did exactly what they planned and shut down Newton. By the end of the game, Newton recorded 189 total yards (162 passing, 27 rushing). That stacks up as 47 percent of the Patriots’ total yards. In fact, Newton would average three yards per carry.
Missing Piece, No Excuse
The team’s effort, especially without Nick Kwiatkoski, was quite impressive strictly when it came to limiting Newton’s damage. Beyond that, the team appeared to have been studying chemistry in preparation for an economics test.
Don’t Believe All Stats
Newton would also record a criminally low 5.8 yards per completion, which quivers in comparison to Derek Carr’s average of 8.2 yards per completion. But therein lies the problem. In reading Newton’s statline, without watching a minute of the game, one could assume that the Raiders most likely won and, with the way the Raiders have been scoring, won by a lot. Yet, the Raiders lost 20-36 in a game that did not feel that close.
Throughout the game, it felt as though the Raiders came into the game so dead set on Newton, the team forgot about everyone else. Yes, the Raiders held Cam Newton to the fourth-fewest passing yards of any quarterback in Week 3, but allowed 233 rushing yards to Patriots not named Cam Newton.
In the first half, the defense really had a majority of the Patriots’ production locked down and trailed by only three going into halftime. But Bill Belichick must have seen something so glaringly obvious that he had no choice but to change their gameplan to exploit it.
So, while the tone has been relatively positive towards the Raiders’ handling of Newton, there is a chance that Belichick outcoached Jon Gruden. The Raiders struggled with Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in previous weeks. However, this 230+ yard outburst has to be due to scheme.
Regardless of the reasoning or coaching, the Raiders have to be better. Football is a team sport and completely selling out to stop one player leaves the rest of the team open. In order to shake off this can of worms, the Raiders welcome Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills to Allegiant Stadium, where the defensive focus should be centered around another mobile quarterback.