Postgame report: Raiders vs Bills

Offense:

The game was very much a tale of two halves and the first half was all about the Raider offense. The team came flying out of the gate with big plays, and with the help of a Buffalo miscue or two, jumped out to the 20-0 tailwind. While the passing game was responsible for the touchdowns, it was the running game that sustained the effort, and a good thing, too, because aside from the early scores, the passing game was atrocious.

Jack Larscheid and newcomer Luther Carr set the pace on the ground and proved that, when the Raiders could run, they could win, just as they had against the Titans. But the futility of the aerial game made clear how valuable Tom Flores was to this team. Eddie Erdelatz appeared to have alternated Babe Parilli and Paul Larson throughout, maybe by quarters, but they were both inaccurate the entire game and it’s a good thing they had the running game to lean on or it could have been very ugly.

Player notes:

Luther Carr – In his first chance to shine, Carr made good, gaining 71 yards on just six carries. He didn’t show up in the receiving column, but that could easily have been someone else’s fault entirely.

Ron Drzewiecki – Making his first appearance on a score sheet, he scored the team’s second touchdown on a 13-yard reception following a botched punt snap by Buffalo, and contributed a solid 28 yards on seven carries in the ground game.

Alan Goldstein – Caught a pass for the second game in a row, for 28 yards, and given the weakness of the receiving corps on this team, was in line for a regular season roster spot as a result.

Charlie Hardy – He didn’t catch a pass, but he continued to prove adept at blocking on the outside. His block on the third play from scrimmage set Larscheid free to score on his 53-yard catch.

Jack Larscheid – Speaking of whom, Larscheid cemented his spot on the team with another big game. He set the wheels in motion by returning the opening kickoff across midfield, then scored the game’s first touchdown. He had another big play very late in the game, ripping off 55 yards on a run to shift field position and leave the Bills with too far to go and not enough time to make a comeback in the waning seconds. His play was not blemish-free, though. In the third quarter, he coughed it up at the Oakland six leading to a quick Buffalo score that closed the gap to five points and shifted momentum the Bills’ way.

Paul Larson – Larson got his big chance and blew it. He completed just 3 of 13 passes for 38 yards and ran 3 times for 8 yards. Just after Larscheid’s big run that could have salted it away late, Larson threw an interception, giving the Bills a last gasp opportunity.

Billy Lott – A decidedly subpar performance by Lott, though he could still have been feeling the effects of his bruised shoulder. He carried six times for a net loss of two yards and didn’t make a catch for the first time in the preseason.

Babe Parilli – In his first appearance with the Raiders, Parilli showed confidence and poise, but he had a very inconsistent game overall. He did have a hand in all three Raider touchdowns, passing to Larscheid and Drzewiecki for scores, and he showed excellent mobility in the pocket. His rushing touchdown came on a scramble in which he was menaced by three Buffalo lineman and barely escaped with his life.

Dean Philpott – Philpott was the team’s leading receiver, with just two catches for 10 yards.

Tony Teresa – In his first game as a full-time wideout, Teresa was a non-factor, catching one pass for 16 yards.

Defense:

If the first half belonged to the Raider offense, it was the defense that won the second half. While the offense kept giving the ball to Buffalo on turnovers, the Oakland defense, time and again, came up with the big stop or the big takeaway to preserve the lead in what had become a tight game. Utilizing a bend, but don’t break, strategy, they gave up some yards on the ground, but kept Tommy O’Connell off-balance and made the plays when they were most needed.

Player notes:

Buddy Alliston – Alliston merited his first game mention with a game-saving recovery of Carl Smith’s fumble inside the Oakland ten with less than two minutes to play.

Bob Dougherty – The Bills looked to carry their late first half momentum into the third quarter, but fumbled on their opening drive of the period. Dougherty was there to land on the ball, which led to Larry Barnes’ second field goal.

John Harris – Up 26-21 in the third quarter, Parilli had just thrown a long interception, giving the Bills one of their many second half chances, but Harris stole it right back with a pick of his own off O’Connell.

Special Teams:

It was Larscheid’s big return that set the tone in the team’s first game on the road and they never looked back. The team was solid in both the return game and in kick coverage.

Player notes:

Larry Barnes – Barnes made his two field goal attempts, but missed an extra point after a penalty had moved him back five yards.

Wayne Crow – Crow was nothing special in this one, averaging just under 39 yards a punt.

The Mid-Week Take: August 23, 1960

After three games, with a 1-2 record, the Raiders were a definitively middling team. All three games were close and the team’s point totals on both sides of the ball were near the league median. The Raiders had significantly outscored their opponents in the first and fourth quarters, but the reverse was true in the middle two periods and they had yet to score at all in the third. Yes, it was the preseason and this was all meaningless, but the Raiders were thought to be under a real handicap because of their late start and to see them play competitive ball was both a relief and encouraging.

Offense

Overall, the Raider play calling on offense was balanced, with a 98 to 104 run/pass ratio, but the running game was lagging behind at this point, with the team averaging less than 3.5 yards per carry. Only Jack Larscheid, with his 6.3 yard average, was anything more than workmanlike in the run game. Billy Lott and Buddy Allen were given the lion’s share of the work in the backfield, but Lott’s pass catching ability gave him the advantage when it came to competing for a starting spot. Tony Teresa was the only other runner getting a serious look, but he, too, was more effective catching the ball and, in fact, was going to get his reps in at the flanker spot going forward, at least until tight end Gene Prebola returned from injury.

As for the quarterback spot, there was no competition. Eddie Erdelatz had to all intents anointed Tom Flores the starter and, despite his recent injury, he would presumably get his job back as soon as he returned. In the meantime, Babe Parilli and Paul Larson would fight over the scraps.

The biggest area of uncertainty, though, was at wide receiver. Prebola was the tight end, by default, and Charlie Hardy seemed to be taking the split end spot as his own, but the other side was still up for grabs. Teresa was working there for now, but the team’s long-term plans for him were still unclear. He had thrown a few halfback passes and was adequate catching passes coming out of the backfield, but he was woeful in the running game, averaging just a couple of yards per carry and was often stuffed behind the line.

On the offensive line, only 5’9″ Don Manoukian was mentioned with any regularity in press dispatches, so it was hard to tell what was going on there. It was clear, however, that the offense was still very much a work in progress.

Defense

The Raider defense was in the same boat. They were good at getting the ball from their opponents—eight turnovers in three games—but they were giving up a lot of yards otherwise. Opponents were averaging nearly a yard more per run and better than six yards a clip through the air, and the Oakland rush had sacked opponent quarterbacks only once for a paltry five yards.

On the defensive line, end Carmen Cavalli was getting the most attention, but it was clear that the unit wasn’t getting it done. Among the linebackers, Bob Dougherty and Tom Louderback seemed to be doing a fair job, but still needed to get stouter against the run. And in the secondary, cornerback Joe Cannavino was rising above the crowd in pass coverage and was showing a nose for loose balls.

Special Teams

Erdelatz appeared to have settled on linebacker Larry Barnes to do the placekicking. He was true on extra points and was okay so far on field goals as well. Halfback Wayne Crow had laid claim to the punting job with his 45-yard average. The return and coverage teams were performing within expected norms.

The consensus among observers was that the Raiders had beaten expectations so far. They held their own in preseason losses against the Texans and the Chargers, teams that were thought to be title contenders and, above all, they hadn’t embarrassed themselves. And it was clear that many people thought they would. They were about to face a pretty stern test of two games in five days, but they were also in a position to get a good feel for the players who, to this point, hadn’t played all that much. After that, they would have two full weeks to get ready for the Oilers in the regular season opener.

Postgame report: Chargers vs Raiders

August 19, 1960

Postgame Report

Offense:

The weather was atrocious. Temperatures were on the chilly side and the fog, according to those who where there, prevented people from being able to see across the field and balls in the air, on long passes or kicks, were in danger of disappearing altogether. And according to reports at the airport weather station the wind was blowing at over 20 miles per hour, though maybe not at field level. Either way, it wasn’t a night for passing. And yet, that’s the all the Raiders were left with. The Charger defense held their run game to just 43 yards on 31 carries. If yardage was to be gained, it was going to have to happen through the air, regardless of the weather, but that didn’t go all that well, either, with Flores getting bounced around pretty good by the Los Angeles defensive line.

Oakland held their own in the first half, but they were stifled in the second. It’s possible that had the two controversial calls gone the Raiders’ way, it might have made a difference, but the Chargers had plenty of bad luck of their own, losing two fumbles and committing nine penalties for 109 yards. The Raiders were game, but they were simply outplayed.

Player notes:

Buddy Allen – He had his moments in the first two preseason games, but didn’t do himself any favors in this one, with just four carries for a net -1 yards. He did catch three passes, but Lott, probably his primary competition, outclassed him in both facets of the game.

Tom Flores – He continued to earn praise for his poise and his smarts, but he had his worst statistical performance of the preseason, completing 16 of 39 passes for just 188 yards and a touchdown.  He also threw a pair of costly picks to Dick Harris. The first led to an easy Charger score and the second, a contested toss to Alan Goldstein that, admittedly, could have gone either way, ended the last best hope for his team. Still, nothing in his performance probably did anything to unseat him as the top man in the quarterback race. What did cost him, though, was an injury to his elbow he sustained during a scramble run early in the fourth quarter. He returned to the game, but his status for the upcoming game in Buffalo was uncertain.

Alan Goldstein – Made his first catch of the preseason, for seven yards, but was really only noticed for the aforementioned play late in the game where he was unable to wrest the ball free from his Charger defender.

Charlie Hardy – He had another decent performance, catching a pair of passes for 29 yards, one of which was made while in the grasp of a defender. Probably the best of an unimpressive Raider receiving corps at this point.

Jack Larscheid – After an excellent outing in the second half of last week’s game against the Titans, he was given every chance to prove it wasn’t a fluke, and failed. Gained just 18 yards in eight carries. Granted, he didn’t do much worse than his backfield mates.

Paul Larson – With the signing of Parilli, who didn’t play in this one, Larson’s time in the spotlight was just about done. Erdelatz tried him for a few plays at halfback (no carries) and let him hold on placekicks, but gave him no time under center.

Billy Lott – The offensive player of the game for the Raiders. Despite suffering a bruised shoulder, he stayed in the game, running for 33 yards on nine carries and a second quarter touchdown, and continued to shine in the passing game, catching five balls for 80 yards.

Don Manoukian – The dimuntive (5’9″) guard continued to get singled out for his blocking prowess in the running game.

Charles Moore – His play continued to earn at least a look as the coaching staff tried to find anyone who could man a wideout spot. Caught one pass for 16 yards.

Brad Myers – Losing whatever slim hold he had on a roster spot. Caught one pass for a four-yard touchdown, but was quickly joining Larson among the forgotten men of the backfield.

Gene Prebola – So far, the tight end spot was his by default, but he pulled a hamstring (who hadn’t this preseason?) and was expected to miss the last two games as a result. Caught one pass for 16 yards.

Tony Teresa – The former San Jose State quarterback was still looking for a permanent position and didn’t make a strong case for any of them in this one. After fine receiving performances in the previous two games, he was almost completely shut down in this one, with only 14 yards on three passes. He was even worse at running the ball, gaining seven yards on five carries.

Defense:

As hinted at in the offensive discussion, the Raiders were pretty lucky to keep things as close as they did. The Chargers had no problem moving the ball against the Oakland offense and only the penalties and turnovers prevented a likely rout. The Chargers averaged just over five yards a carry on the ground, with only one run over 20 yards to inflate that total and Kemp was able to overcome the bad weather with an efficient 15-of-25 evening through the air. The 398 yards given up by the Raiders was their worst performance of the preseason by a wide margin.

Joe Cannavino – The former Buckeye continued to demonstrate a nose for the football, even on a bad night, recovering a Royce Womble fumble in the first quarter that led to the Raiders’ first touchdown, giving him three takeaways in three games.

Bob Dougherty – Noticed only for his failure to stop Howie Ferguson on his way into the end zone on his one-yard go-ahead scoring run in the third quarter.

Tom Louderback – Was right there with Dougherty on the Ferguson touchdown and was run over.

Eddie Macon – Only standout play was the defensed pass against Womble that resulted in simultaneous possession awarded to the Chargers.

Special Teams:

A pretty unremarkable effort by both teams. No missed placekicks and the return game for both teams was steadfastly average. The only advantage went to the Raiders who won the punting battle handily.

Larry Barnes – Succeeded on both extra points and was good on a 29-yard field goal.

Wayne Crow – Probably earned the punting job with a fine effort, averaging 52.6 yards on five boots.

Postgame Report: Titans vs Raiders

OFFENSE

The Raiders won this game for two reasons: an overall improvement in both run and pass blocking in the second half and a superior rushing attack. Statistically, the teams were roughly even in the end, except for the running game where Oakland had a 227-103 advantage in yards. With the exception of the team’s opening drive and the big screen pass to Lott at the end of the half, the Titan defense did a good job of shutting down the Raider offense. In the second half, though, the Raider running game opened up, especially when an injury to Lott forced Erdelatz to give more carries to Larscheid, who took full advantage of the opportunity. Oakland runners also came through at the end of the game when they took the last 3:35 off the clock to snuff out any chance of a Titans comeback.

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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.

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