It took every fibre of my being to write about this game again this week. To be perfectly blunt, the last four weeks has been like pulling teeth when it comes to writing about this 2012 Oakland Raiders squad. As a Twitter friend @The_Matt_Ford told me, “Maybe write a statement like, ‘I will make an effort to update this blog when the Raiders make an effort to play’”. You’re exactly right, Matt – I was very close to typing just that.
The first half was a complete wash and a repeat of what the Raiders have put on display mid-season as Cincinnati went up 24-0 before the half…
- The offense still couldn’t find a solution to protecting Carson Palmer and were so atrocious that they couldn’t even find a way to get the best kicker in the league into FG range, and
- The defense was struggling to stop RB Green-Ellis and WR A.J. Green, who posted long gains all half long.
All of my praise to FB Marcel Reece, who rushed for 74 yards off of 15 carries on Sunday even when it seemed like a lot more! His running routes and the way that he runs reminded me of a 2011 Michael Bush; a true workhorse and one of the few who still plays with some heart. Also, to DE Matt Shaugh-nasty and LB Philip Wheeler for the sacks and to WR Denarius Moore for getting Oakland their only TD of the game.
The level of frustration is beaming from this team, from head office right down to the water boy (RIP Run-Run). It was blindingly apparent on Sunday once this happened:
Any other Raiders fans out there have a flashback from 2007? When Lane Kiffin (who is now the head coach of USC) was at the helm? Albeit this situation was very different and, in my opinion, the refs brought this fight on themselves with two horrid calls back-to-back on the Raiders. I know that other fans around the league see the Oakland Raiders as vicious or classless, but any fan who says they wouldn’t stand by their team after reacting the way that they did over two terrible and potentially game-changing calls is a bold face liar. It’s not that I expected the Raiders to win this game, but with two calls such as those, they killed any chance Oakland could have had.
That “clipping” call and an “inadvertent whistle”? I had thought the whistle was a joke at first! All I could do in that moment was curse repeatedly and roll my eyes, to be honest. I know that a lot of Raiders fans love to bring up the conspiracy theories between the late Al Davis and his, ahem… relationships with certain personnel in the league light years ago (and I am not one of those fans to be clear), but I am rather tired of learning a new rule that comes out of left field every year. Perhaps I’m getting used to it? Who knows.
What was even more perplexing: HC Dennis Allen’s blank stare and complete lack of reaction whatsoever. That is what brought me back to the days of Lane Kiffin.
I’ll also be one of the first to tell you that I do not condone fighting in a football game; I watch UFC events for that already. However, the ejections given to both teams were uneven and unfair for the Silver & Black, in my opinion. Raiders DE Lamarr Houston and Bengals’ T Andrew Whitworth both 100% deserved to be ejected (for blatant unnecessary roughness and instigating respectively), but I’m still left scratching my head as to why Raiders DT Tommy Kelly was ejected for leaving the bench. If Kelly was ejected for such an act, why weren’t any of the Bengals or Cincinnati coaching staff not ejected for also leaving the sidelines to join in?
Anyway, I will be utterly shocked if suspensions are not handed down, to Tommy Kelly in particular (being a repeat offender). If Andrew Whitworth isn’t suspended as well, something isn’t right. I just hope that Commissioner Goodell was watching this game, because the refs made him look like an absolute fool.
Moving on, as I said the Cleveland Browns will be coming to rendezvous at O.co Coliseum this Sunday! This should be a true test for the Raiders O-line (and particularly Carson Palmer), lining up against a D to be reckoned with the past few weeks. If we lose this game, only then will I say that they have hit “rock bottom” and there will be a good chance they will not win another game in 2012.