Playoffs 2017 for Raiders... Already Started!!

Captain Jack Rack Levy – Nov 19, 2017

The Raiders played in Miami on Sunday November 5th after spending a week training in the IMG academy, mirroring what they did last year in the week preceding their clash with the Bucs which immediately followed their tussle with the Jags.  On a side note… aren’t you glad we’re not playing the Jags THIS YEAR after the way Jacksonville’s defense has been shutting down most of their opponents in 2017? I certainly am glad we didn’t face them this year… yet. 

Yet? Yes, there’s always a chance this team can play past December, but it involves the Raiders getting their collective heads out of the group anuses they’ve managed to hide their ‘top of the torso hat racks’ so far this season.  In 2017, much like in years preceding the inspiring push to the playoffs last season, the Raiders are a collection of ‘What Ifs’ and ‘Coulda, Shoulda, Wouldas’ which have been their calling card through the Kiffin, Cable, Jackson, Allen and Sparano leadership lineage.

When Jack Del Rio was announced as Head Coach of the Raiders in January 2015, the reaction was mixed.  Many amongst the Raider Nation shrieked “Oh No… not ANOTHER Donkey Defense Coordinator who’s changed sidelines!!!” while others cheered as a “Prodigal East Bay Raider Son has come home to lead us out of the dregs of the NFL doldrums.” 

And to this day we as a fan base appear to be schizophrenic idiots and manic-depressive ingrates, going back and forth emotionally due to how our Raiders play each week.  Notwithstanding a horrific injury to Derek Carr last year which essentially cost the Raiders an AFC West Division crown, first round playoff bye and possible contest against the hated Patriots in the AFC Championship game, most fans of the clan had 2017 pegged as finally “The Year” of a deep playoff run and possible trip to the Super Bowl. 

As Lee Corso would say on a Saturday ESPN College Football preview broadcast… “Not So Fast…”

Last week I detailed succinctly (well… succinctly for ME anyway) the course of this voyage so far this year - http://raidernationtimes.com/article.php?id=10282 - and the Raiders still haven’t showed any consistency in righting some glaring issues needed to sustain winning… consistently… this year.  When your longest win streak to date is two games, while your longest losing streak is four games, one can see this team is playing for their playoff lives just past the midpoint of this season. 

I was literally front-row to the game as our Raiders played the Houmiami Oilphins – based on their monotonously insipid team fight song which the South Florida team stole lock, stock and barrel from the old Texas “Luv Ya Blue” team.  This characterless melody indeed was the straw breaking the camels’ back in having the Fin hemorrhoid fan sitting next to me bounced from the game…


… Unfortunately taking a member of Raider Nation with him who was kind enough to point out to said hemorrhoid “nose to nose” as to where his drunk toucas needed to be at the end of the contest, if not right there and then.  The Captain salutes the efforts of our Raider Nation brother, and please get back with me if I can do anything for this awesome gentlemen I only got to speak to in quick passing, although I tried to stop his departure with a personal plea to the Miami Dade cop to no avail…

Remind me to tell you the full story another time, as it’s quite a hoot aside from our brother getting bounced as well. 

So the Raiders take the ball and drive 58yards on the opening drive for ultimately a field goal, looking efficient in their offense.  Thank God if you ask me, after the debacle in Buffalo for sure.  But when they gave the ball back to the Dolphins, the ‘stupidity bug’ hit our team in the form of a successful Miami onside kick immediately after their go-ahead touchdown, along with three Personal Fouls which were just uncalled for in action! As we’re apt to say… gotta clean up those stupid penalties, but at least Miami shot themselves in their foot with stupid penalties of their own. 

Good scouting on Miami’s part for the onside kick… it took me by surprise, too, so our Special Teams need to prevent such actions again, as it was well executed on their part.  Thank goodness Bruce Irvin stripped ‘phin back Drake deep in Oakland territory or possibly Miami could have dictated play thereafter (and a possible 10-12 point lead). 

Additionally, I like Lee Smith’s motor, but no need to commit a stupid penalty and possibly quell a drive; it didn’t, as Carr’s bomb to Holton for 44yards and a Raiders’ lead needs to be executed more often (are you reading this Mr. Downing?) as Holton I believe has two catches for two touchdowns on the year… and I was at both games, too! Raiders back on top ultimately at the half 13-9 thanks to another surgical strike by Carr to Cook – THE STUD OF THE GAME – which gave the Raiders a field goal prior to the half. 

In the second half, it was great to see Marshawn Lynch finally get on track with two touchdown runs (3yds and 22yds) as it appears the Raiders stuck with the run until it succeeded, yet I’m still one to call out some uninspired play-calling on Downing’s part.  The Raiders did ultimately prevail and beat Miami soundly 27-24, but the score was closer than it needed to be… and rightfully should have been a second half blowout to inspire Lynch to dance again like against the Jets, but the Raiders did everything in their power to almost give the game away. 

It used to be the running joke of many teams was ‘Running Back run left, Running Back run right, QB throw incomplete, Skinny guy punt’ over and over and over!! It was a breath of fresh of air that the Downing/Carr combo used play-action much more than they had in previous games, and this trend needs to continue if the Raiders have any chance of success this year. 

Use Cook more often!! He’s a STUD and can open up the running game for Lynch, Washington and Richard, and give more chances for Cooper, Crabtree, Roberts, and Holton – use this dude more, too!! Coach Downing, you have a dynamic offense waiting to blow the top off of any team, and you need to score as many points as possible since the Silver and Black Defense is about as hard to handle and worthwhile as an 86-year old man with heart, artery, kidney and prostrate problems who doesn’t take ED medication!! Soft and non-functioning…

Your Defense is Soft and non-functioning Ken Norton Jr… Do Something About this!! Alas, it looks like any problem solving for the defense will remain for NEXT YEAR when Conley (hopefully) and Melifonwu have a full year of playing time… some more players are added to the secondary in place of players needing replacement (Smith, Nelson, possibly Amerson come to mind)… some actual LINEBACKERS worth a salt are brought in at the START OF TRAINING CAMP VIA THE DRAFT OR FREE AGENCY (are you reading this Mr. McKenzie? I respect most of your accomplishments, but this need is GLARING!!)… and finally, a REAL Defensive Coordinator will take this group and ‘Make them razors!!’ ala the firepower and spirit of a General George Patton juggernaut!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah… let’s not get too juiced, as the Patsies await in Mexico City in another middle finger to the Oakland home audience, as the third ‘Home Game’ in four years is played overseas, taking away any home-field advantage for the Raiders.  By the way, giving the Raiders a bye was nice… but giving the Cheatriots a week of acclimation to high altitude with a game in Denver and practices at Colorado Springs is NOT a sign of fair play, but we know how ‘buddy’ the Commish and Kraft have become now that Deflategate is a distant memory… 

The 2017 Playoffs for the Raiders started with a win in Miami, and it will take every available Conference win from here on out to even think of Derek Carr playing his first playoff game.  We’ll see what happens starting today, Sunday November 19th

YAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH… Raider Nation!! Come by and watch the Captain’s Halftime and Post Game Raider Nation LIVE Videos on Facebook… See you there!!



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Who should the Raiders take with the 24th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft

Jarrad Davis - LB - Florida
 
28%
Zach Cunningham - LB - Vanderbilt
 
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