The O'Reilly Report

This was a horrible, horrible game, with potentially horrible consequences for the Broncos. If ever there was an example of a game where the opponent didn't win the game, but rather the Broncos gave it away, this was it. For this team to have an 11 point lead with eight minutes left in the game and still lose, took a special effort at mediocrity.

The weather wasn't a factor - both teams played in the same weather. The Raiders came out with a more aggressive game plan, the Broncos defensive backs played their worst game this year, the Broncos offensive line gave lousy protection to Plummer, the defensive line couldn't put any pressure on Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins with a four man rush, and the Broncos took penalties at exactly the wrong time several times.

The Broncos are now in serious trouble for their season. This game could well have knocked them out of the playoffs, as they're now in fourth or fifth place for one of two wild card spots. And frankly, I don't see them going into either San Diego or KC and winning in those cities. The Broncos are pretty much going to have to go no worse than 4-2 the rest of the season, starting with beating San Diego, to have any chance at winning the division (which is likely their only route to the playoffs).

Offense: D

The offensive line put up their worst overall performance this year. Their run blocking was inconsistent and their pass blocking was just plain terrible. Plummer was under pressure most of the night. There were a few dropped balls, and none was bigger than the pass that Darius Watts let go right through his hands in the end zone. The tight ends were basically MIA most of the night (two completions).

If there's a bright spot to be found, it was the Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie kept up with good play, and I really believe we've found a fullback in Kyle Johnson (he took out two defenders on Reuben Droughn's TD run).

Defense: D

This defense was either great (ask Tyrone Wheatley about Al Wilson's hit on him, or the touchdown run by Ellis Johnson), or it was incredibly porous (the DB's played their worst game this season). The play of the DB's was especially embarrassing, given the long completions that Collins made time after time after time with real ease. And could SOMEBODY ***PLEASE*** explain how Jerry Porter could get so wide open in the end zone on 4th down, where a stop wins the game? I mean, there weren't even any orange jerseys in the isolation shot when he makes the catch! Bailey was just plain toast most of the night. I still think he was worth what we gave up for him, and that he's the best cornerback in the game. But he needs to go back to this game and do some SERIOUS studying to see what happened - and you can bet San Diego is doing exactly the same thing!

The defensive line wasn't putting any pressure on Collins with a four man rush. This is a major weakness, along with offensive guard, that needs to be addressed this off-season. Without Trevor Pryce, these guys don't get to anybody (and Collins is known as having clay feet). Time after time, Collins had all day to stand in the pocket and survey the field. And the Raiders receivers, particularly Curry and Porter, are pretty darned good, too good for just about anybody to cover for as long as they had to run around the field.

Bright spots: Wilson and D.J. Williams. These guys are going to be a real force in the future!

Special Teams: F

Short kickoffs. Shanked punts. Low, short punts with no hang time. Blocked field goal. Long runbacks by the opponents on kickoffs and punts. Time after time, the kicking game put the Raiders in great field position, while the Broncos were pinned way back in their own end by the Raiders kicking game. After a good start this year, it sure seems as if the special teams are becoming an Achilles heel for the team again.

Coaching: D

This was, I think, a perfect example of a time where the 16-play script should have been tossed out the window after the first couple of plays. The Raiders came out with a very aggressive game plan, based heavily on the run.

While the Raiders had success with the running game, the Broncos seemed determined to pass even with one of the best runners in the game. This added up to 48 total yards of offense until the last few minutes of the 2nd quarter. It just plain wasn't working.

Then, for the defensive side, there's that STUPID, STUPID, STUPID fallback into the prevent defense (that only "prevents" a win, like last night). I listened to an interview with Kelly Herndon this morning, and he said, in essence, "we knew all we had to do was prevent a score and we win the game".

So they go into that STUPID defense where the backs play 10 yards off the receivers, and all that does is give the Raiders a guaranteed 6 or 7 yards per reception. Then you add into it the lack of a pass rush, and you get the results we saw last night.

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