Posted by:
Stabler Gannon

The fade route - a play-call go to for many offenses when in the red zone. The QB puts it up - and it's basically a jump ball between the receiver and the defensive back. It works best when you have a big, athletic receiver, say like Raider receiver Andre Holmes, matched up against a smaller defensive back. When it does not work - and should have never been thrown - happened in the 4th quarter of Thanksgiving's Cowboys/Raiders game. When Matt McGloin killed what could have been a game-tying drive by throwing a fade up to, the smallest receiver on the team, 5'9 Jacoby Ford. A very questionable decision.

The game started out as good as it can get. Newly-signed from the practice squad, in what was his very first NFL action, Greg Jenkins scooped up a Dallas fumble and ran it in for a TD. The review was inconclusive (I thought the Cowboy's knee was down, but we'll take it) and the Raiders were up 7-0 just like that. While many Raider coaches may be feeling the heat right now, Special Teams coach Bobby April should not be one of them. Time and time again this year we've been treated to great ST play. It has been a huge upgrade over last year.

The Raiders for the most part kept Tony Romo in check in the early going. The Raiders were looking good, making the Boys punt their first 3 possessions. But after a curious fair catch by the previously mentioned Jenkins, the Raiders were backed up in a dangerous part of the field. Disaster struck, as the snap between Wisniewski and McGloin was botched. Rashard Jennings could have just fallen on it, but inexplicably tried to pick it up, and could not. The Cowboys ended up with the ball on our 2-yard line, and one play later the game was tied.

McGloin bounced back though, and the Raiders took the next possession for a long drive, that culminated in a Jennings TD. McGloin makes quick throws - he's only been sacked 2 times in 3 games - and the combination of him and Andre Holmes looks real promising. Holmes finished the day with 7 catches for 136 yards. The very next time the Raiders got the ball, they once again marched down the field and in for a touchdown. In a game many thought the Raiders didn't stand a chance to win, with just 2 minutes left in the first half (and deferred on the coin toss, so we were getting the ball first in the 3rd quarter) we were up 21-7. Things were looking good.

But then Romo got rolling. The Raiders have struggled all year against no-huddle offenses. Whether it is an athleticism issue, or a defensive play calling issue, I'm not sure. But every time an offense goes into the no-huddle or hurry up against us, we just get worked. Romo deftly lead his team down the field, and instead of going into the halftime with a 14 point lead and getting the ball first, the game was 21-14 with all the momentum going in Dallas' favor.

I have to confess, I was on a mountain most of the day, and only watched this game on the DVR after getting home. This allowed me to skip all the commercials and announcers going "blah, blah, blah" but, I did notice this performance for about 10 seconds before returning to the game action. What the heck is going on here? Is this supposed to be a Thanksgiving theme? Not only do I not get the appeal of her or her music, this whole thing just seemed wildly out of place. Is she supposed to be an Indian and backup dancers are pilgrims? I have no idea what this was. Whatever...

The Raiders then continued their annoying pattern of second half collapses. The Raiders got the ball first, but the drive stalled and were forced to punt. The Cowboys went right down the field and tied the game. Next possession, the Raiders were 3 and out. Cowboys got the ball and drove in for a TD, 28-21 Cowboys. Raiders next possession 3 and out again. The D did manage to stop the Cowboys this time, and with a big play McGloin-Holmes it looked like the Raiders could be primed to tie the game up, or at least get a FG to stop the bleeding. Instead, a poor decision led to an interception in the end zone. Cowboys went down the field just far enough to get a FG to make it a two score lead. McGloin made some good throws getting the Raiders back downfield. The game now under 2 minutes, Dennis Allen elected to kick an early FG (and Seabass made it, hopefully whatever was wrong is fixed now) just to give us a chance with an onside kick. Seabass responded by kicking what is arguable the worst onside kick attempt I've ever seen. Ballgame over.

This coaching staff needs some help to keep their jobs. Another 4-12 season, and these guys should be looking for new employment, despite the fact that the team at times has looked so much more improved over last year. That's not going to be easy. Our next game is at the Jets, and we all know how miserably we play on the east coast. After that it's KC (who may be in freefall by then and hungry for a victory) and San Diego, who may be in the thick of capturing a playoff birth, and then finishing the year out with the Broncos, who may need a win to stay ahead of NE for the #1 seed. We need an upset, or two. I'm not sure a 5-11 year will buy DA another season. It's too bad. This is a team that many thought would be 2-14 at best, 0-16 at worst. They've played really well at times, but just like Jacoby Ford, they may be coming up just a little bit short.
Comment #1 has been removed
December 1, 2013  12:26 AM ET

New poll up on the group page.

Love the poll and nice read. Tough game to swallow on Thanksgiving. I was in Oakland amongst Dallas fans if you can imagine that...

I agree on DA. He needs another year because the players play for him. So many other teams in the past have quit and this team doesn't. But I'm a little worried about RM and the money. Will he make the right decisions? Lots of guys on one year deals...

December 1, 2013  04:54 PM ET

Very disappointing.

I think Allen deserves another year.

December 1, 2013  04:55 PM ET

They have lost 4 games by a combined 19 points. They easily could be 6-6 or even 7-5.

Losing close games is a sign of a young team and they need to use some of the nearly 70 million in cap space wisely. That will determine the future of the franchise imo. Make some smart pickups and they will be headed in the right direction.

December 1, 2013  04:57 PM ET

Let McFadden walk as a FA and re-sign Jennings to a team friendly contract (if he wants to stay). He plays the game the right way and runs hard. He's also a good receiver out of the backfield and helps in the passing game.

Comment #6 has been removed
December 2, 2013  06:15 PM ET

I've got to think there's nothing that can save McFadden at this point.

Watch the Pats get him and he runs for 1200 next year.

December 3, 2013  02:13 AM ET

Watch the Pats get him and he runs for 1200 next year.

No matter where he goes I can see that happening. All he needs is a by committee system and he'll run for his life (for possibly a whole season).

December 3, 2013  02:57 AM ET

No matter where he goes I can see that happening. All he needs is a by committee system and he'll run for his life (for possibly a whole season).

Yeah, it's bullcrap. I'll bet he'll go to the Niners just to stick it to management!


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