Breaking Down Oakland’s Defense on Cleveland’s 94-Yard Touchdown Drive

The Oakland Raiders were in range to make a game-tying field goal when Carson Palmer’s pass to Juron Criner was intercepted by Sheldon Brown. The Raiders had a first down at the Cleveland Browns’ 33-yard line and Palmer made a huge mistake. There was nothing special about the interception; it was just a bad play.

The Raiders still had a chance to keep the game within a score as the Browns had to start a drive from their 6-yard line. What followed was a 14-play, 94-yard touchdown drive from the Browns that gave them a 20-10 lead. The drive took over six minutes off the clock and left the Raiders with just over three minutes to score 10 points.

The Raiders would get a last-second touchdown, but burned too much time off the clock to mount any real comeback attempt. What Palmer started with the interception the defense finished with blown coverage, penalties and missed tackles. The interception was bad, but the defense had an opportunity to give the team a chance and failed.

Oakland’s defense has been disappointing in 2012, but what exactly went wrong on that game-deciding drive?


Blown Coverage

When you think of all the possible mistakes a defense can make, the most glaring and damaging is a blown coverage assignment. Blown coverage literally leaves a receiver wide open, and most NFL quarterbacks will be able to find a receiver running all alone in the secondary.

The Raiders were victimized by blown coverage several times on the final drive. It’s true that the secondary was injury-depleted, but that doesn’t mean the backups shouldn't at least be in the area.

The Browns faced a 3rd-and-3 from their 13-yard line. If the defense makes a stop, they can give the ball back to Palmer and the offense down only three points with plenty of time left on the clock and likely with good field position. Instead, the Browns convert for a first ...

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