All-22 Review: How the Raiders Slowed Down the Falcons and Still Lost

The Oakland Raiders went to Atlanta and did something no one thought they would do and scared the undefeated Falcons. The Raiders intercepted Matt Ryan three times and held the Falcons to just one offensive touchdown.

The Raiders improbably slowed down the Falcons and did enough damage of their own to scare the Falcons. The Raiders fell short in large part to three turnovers and 12 penalties, but the team played better than they have all season. Anytime a team can go on the road and nearly beat of the NFL’s elite teams it’s an accomplishment, even if the result wasn’t what the team or fans wanted.

It’s reasonable to ask if the game was a fluke and if the Raiders can replicate the success. They can, but they also need to clean up several things to win the game next time. The zone-blocking scheme continues to be a trouble spot for the Raiders, and Carson Palmer’s sketchy accuracy also played a big role in the defeat.

The Raiders didn’t have a single interception all season and picked off Ryan three times. Ryan also struggled to really get the passing game going, and the Raiders limited him to just 249 yards. The key was pressure and understanding of the Falcons offense. The Raiders didn’t let Ryan get through all of his progressions, and they forced him to throw before his receivers could break away from the coverage.


How the Raiders Gave the Falcons a Scare

Interception No. 1 – Film Study

The first interception was a good example of good film study by the Raiders. Linebacker Philip Wheeler is going to make a defensive call prior to the snap. The call may or may not have impacted the result of the play, but he almost assuredly was setting up the coverage on Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas, who were all lined up to the left side of the formation.

Ryan actually gets good protection, but he stares d...

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