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NFL Wildcard Playoff: Oakland Raiders Fall to the Houston Texans

Wild Card doubted


NFL Wildcard Playoff: Oakland Raiders Cook(ed) by Broken Down Carr

The Oakland Raiders season came to and abrupt halt Saturday evening in Houston, Texas. The Texans handled the Derek Carr-less Raiders with ease, defeating them 27-14 in the first Wildcard game of the 2017 postseason. Starting a third-string quarterback in Connor Cook while playing against the number one defense on the road would not fair well for the Oakland.. The Raiders were also did not to force a turnover, only the second time all year they were unable to take the ball away from the opposing offense.

Oakland Offense

Without the Pro Bowler Derek Carr the Raiders offense continued to struggle, looking out of sorts in the passing game, and lethargic when attempting to run the ball against the dominant Texans defensive front. The Raiders started off slow, attempting to give Cook a bit of rhythm through screens and slants that were quickly shut down by Jadeveon Clowney. Both were knockdowns at the line of scrimmage, but the first Clowney snatched out of the air for Connor Cook’s first interception on just the Raiders second drive of the game. With Houston turning that into a touchdown on the next play, the Raiders were in a hole early.

That would only be the beginning of Cook’s struggles as he would throw two more interceptions before days end. Cook seemed to be a bit off when targeting receivers, having 13 of his 45 passes broken up and only completing 40% of his attempts. Cook was also sacked 3 times and had their struggles with the Houston front without Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn in the lineup. Oakland looked clueless on how to adjust versus the tough Houston defense.

Latavius Murray would run for just 39 yards on 3.3 yards per carry while the other running backs only added 25 yards to their rushing total. That being said, Murray would only tote the ball 12 times but was able to add a touchdown on the only successful possession of the first half. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard did not show up in this game either. In their first matchup with the Texans,

Washington caught three passes out of the backfield for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Jalen Richard took his three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. On Saturday, the two combined for 19 yards on the ground and just eight yards out of the backfield. In a game that featured a rookie making his first career start at quarterback the Oakland running backs were unable to help out the rookie behind center in their NFL Wildcard matchup and will need to establish a running game in future playoff endeavors.

Defense and Special Teams

The Raiders’ defense features plenty of players with playoff and Super Bowl experience, but were unable to force a turnover against the struggling Texans offense and were handed terrible field position. The Raider defense, led by Khalil Mack per usual, was able to hold the Texans to just 291 yards. Mack led the team with 11 tackles, two of which went for a loss. When the Raiders had opportunity to take the ball away from the Texans, they allowed Houston to recover three fumbles. Ex-Super Bowl MVP Malcom Smith had an opportunity to intercept Osweiler, but did not capitalize on the errant passes over the middle. Smith and Perry Riley Jr.

Both worked efficiently in both the run and passing game, combining for nine tackles and three tackles for a loss.The problem the defense faced was poor field position, allowing the Texans to begin scoring drives from the Houston 40, 47, the first from the Oakland 4 and an eight yard field goal drive beginning from the 40. The Raiders defensive were relied on too much due to the Cook turnovers.

The special teams also dropped the ball(literally) on a Marquette King punt that was batted out of the endzone before being fumbled around by the coverage team. King was also inconsistent, dropping just 2 of his 10 punts inside the 20 and carrying a net average of just 41.7 yards per punt. Though the Oakland Raiders defense was able to keep a hold on the offense of the Houston Texans, the poor field position placed them in multiple difficult positions that they were unable to recover from. Paired with an inability to force turnovers, the Raiders stood nearly no chance.