The Oakland Raiders misplayed their way into the record books on Sunday with one of the worst defensive performances the proud franchise has seen in years.
Backup Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles threw for seven touchdown passes in the team’s 49-20 win at Alameda County’s O.co Coliseum. Three of his scoring passes were to Riley Cooper and the other four touchdowns were spread out to one player each. Raiders’ rookie defensive back DJ Hayden was picked on by the Eagles offense for much of the first half. He surrendered all three of the scoring strikes to Cooper of 17, 63 and 5 yards.
Foles showed a new comfort level in the spread offense not seen before and tied the league record towards the end of the third quarter. He eventually was removed by Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in the fourth quarter, and replaced by rookie Matt Barkley.
For the game, the second-year signal caller completed 22 of 28 attempts for a total of 406 yards. His four separate touchdown throws were to Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy.
It’s possible that someday the Raiders starting offensive unit could be as effective as the Eagles’ current incarnation. But Oakland will either have to be patient with quarterback Terrelle Pryor to see if he improves enough, or the organization can find a new quarterback from somewhere during the offseason.
Because the Raiders struggled on both sides of the ball, all the momentum they had going in to the game was gone afterwards. Many of the fans, the Raider Nation, were so disgusted that they left the Coliseum once the score got to 49-13. There were less than three minutes to play when the team scored for the first time in the second half. Their new challenge will be to bounce back from such a bad loss.
A tallish player, at 6-foot-6, with limited time as a starter, only when former game-changer Michael Vick couldn’t go because of injury, Foles had been very good at the University of Arizona, but record-breaking good?
He slimmed down and got stronger, and as a result, throws a much better ball. He always could go deep but now he can make the types of passes necessary, unlike Pryor, who is best when rolling to his right.
The only red flag to watch for, where Foles is concerned, is head injuries, one of which sidelined him weeks after he suffered a concussion in the game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Whether or not Philadelphia's success is credited to the system, or the quality of player, there is one truism: Foles shares the NFL record for most touchdown passes in one game with six other NFL players.
The Raiders record going in stood at 3-4. There was a buzz around the Bay Area that the silver and black could be on the cusp of a winning streak. After defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team from Oakland had reason to believe that the pendulum could be swinging in their direction.
The team’s defense was getting most of the credit for the positive feedback, ranked sixth in rushing defense, and tenth overall. Pryor had shown signs of improvement, though nobody was mistaking him for Peyton Manning.
On this day, however, Foles did resemble Manning, the NFL's current passing leader for the Denver Broncos who threw for seven touchdowns in the opening night game against the Super Bowl defending champion Baltimore Ravens.
No costume necessary.
By the end of the game, the Raiders walked off the field with its collective head held down and hands empty, like a kid who just got their bag of candy stolen. The defensive front forced little pressure at all on the Eagles O-Line and the defensive backfield, a mix of old and new, blew coverages and took bad angles all afternoon long.
Except for time of possession, the home team was outplayed in every facet of the game. The final score was not even indicative of how lopsided things really were, or could have been.
Give some liking to Kelly for not allowing Foles a chance to break the record under egregious circumstances. It would have rung similarly hollow to when Brett Favre took a dive in the backfield just so New York Giants Michael Strahan could break the sack record.
By the way, that’s who the Raiders are scheduled to play this Sunday. They'll fly out east to take on the Giants at the New Meadowlands, site of this season’s Super Bowl. With a win, they could inch closer to respectability; with a loss, their record drops to 3-6, and the season begins to slip away. (From Gameplan)
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