Postgame Report: Texans at Raiders

Offense

Play balance for the Raiders skewed slightly to the pass (36 pass plays, 28 running plays), which shouldn’t be a surprise, given they trailed most of the game, but even in the first half it looked as though the game plan wasn’t going to focus squarely on grinding it out. Despite the good words from the coach and some of the players, the offense needed a lot more work having gained just 175 yards all day.

The running game looked particularly anemic. Raider ball-carriers gained just 70 yards on 28 rushes and had no run longer than 11 yards. Buddy Allen was the workhorse back, getting 16 of the 28 runs with the remainder spread among four other players.

The passing game, on the other hand, looked decent enough when quarterbacks had time, but the Texans sacked Oakland passers six times for a whopping 68 yards giving the team just 105 net yards through the air. Also hampering the attack was Erdelatz’ failure to include any long passes in the game plan. Without some downfield routes to stretch the defense, all but three of the 16 completions were to backs.

Player notes

Buddy Allen: Allen showed a good nose for the end zone, scoring twice in short yardage, but he only ran for 37 yards overall on his 16 carries. He added a couple of catches for 10 yards, but this wasn’t a particularly impressive showing out of the gate.

John Brown: The speedy Brown never got going, gaining just one yard on his three runs, and worse, fumbled the ball away in one of them.

Tom Flores: Just a few days earlier, Flores was a possible scratch for the game because of injury, but he ended up playing almost the entire game. He was an efficient 14 of 25, passing for 151 yards and threw only the one interception late when he was hit in the act. Lauded on all sides for his play-calling, he made a strong opening argument for a starting job.

Charlie Hardy: Hardy caught just two passes for 13 yards, but did draw the pass interference call against in the fourth quarter that put the Raiders in position to score their second touchdown.

Jack Larscheid: The 5’6″ Larscheid had the team’s longest gain on the ground at 11 yards, but was strictly boom or bust, getting only 13 total yards on his three runs.

Paul Larson: Possibly in the running for the starting quarterback job, Larson put in only a token appearance, completing just one of four passes for ten yards during his brief time in the game.

Billy Lott: Lott showed good hands catching passes out of the backfield, grabbing five tosses for 70 yards, including a 25-yard jaunt in the first quarter that set up Allen’s first score. He added ten yards on four rushes.

Brad Myers: Lott’s chief competition at fullback, Myers showed up only briefly on the scoresheet, catching one pass for ten yards.

Gene Prebola: The big end out of Boston University caught one pass for 14 yards.

Tony Teresa: Teresa was a triple threat on the day, catching five passes for 56 yards, rushing for nine yards on two carries, and throwing a pass that was complete for a 12-yard gain.

Defense

The Raider defense didn’t look any better than the offense, though it’s hard to put much blame on the players given that the coaching staff essentially just sent 11 guys onto the field and wished them luck. The Texans went run-heavy, with 48 plays on the ground and just 22 through the air to get 313 total yards.

There was a reason for Dallas’ emphasis on the run. They were good at it. The three-headed monster of Spikes, Robinson, and Jim Swink led the way to 211 net rushing yards. Their passing game was less efficient. The Raiders got no sacks, but their defensive backs blanketed the Dallas receivers all day. Only Stanford-grad Chris Burford was able to catch more than two passes.

Player notes

Joe Cannavino: Cannavino was effective in pass coverage throughout the game and recovered Johnny Robinson’s fumble to end the Texans’ first drive. He again thwarted Robinson by stopping him short of the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter.

George Fields: Fields had a good day on the line, filling gaps effectively and stuffing running plays that came his way.

LC Joyner: His failure in pass coverage on a third-and-11 play in the third quarter allowed Chris Burford to convert, extending a drive that resulted in an eventual Dallas touchdown.

Eddie Macon: Macon was a bear in pass coverage all day. His interception in the end zone defused a Texans threat in the second quarter and he later broke up a two-point try after Dallas’ last score.

Special Teams

The most interesting thing about the special teams play in this one was the liberal use of the two-point conversion. The Raiders chose to kick following their first touchdown, but after that, both teams went for two. And, in fact, only one other placekick was attempted by either team.

In the field position game, both teams seemed to have adequate kickoff coverage as there were no long returns. The Raiders averaged over 37 yards per punt, outdistancing the Texans’ 30-yard average, but Oakland didn’t return any of them, suggesting that they were mostly kicked from near midfield and probably weren’t very returnable to begin with.

Player notes

Larry Barnes: In addition to his linebacking duties, Barnes did all the team’s placekicking and punting. He was successful on his only extra point try, but failed badly on his one field goal attempt.