Breaking Down the Oakland Raiders’ Defensive Collapse Against Denver

The Oakland Raiders can point to any number of reasons for why they were blown out by the Denver Broncos in Week 3. Most of them begin with the words, "Peyton Manning."

Manning was almost flawless. He completed 32 of 37 attempts for 374 yards and threw three touchdowns.

Yet as good as Manning was Monday night, there were a litany of other issues that were equally costly: missed tackles, blown assignments, critical penalties. There were a few hiccups offensively, but the most critical ones came when Oakland was on defense.

It all added up to a 37-21 loss that dropped the Raiders to 1-2, already two games off the pace in the AFC West.

Here’s a quick look at some of the main problems Oakland had against Denver.


No pressure, no luck

Manning was sacked just once by Oakland. He spent most of his time sitting comfortably in the pocket, waiting for the inevitable receiver to get open.

Part of the problem is that the Raiders don’t have much of a pass rush along the defensive line. Defensive end Lamarr Houston got to Manning for a sack in the second half but was otherwise kept in check.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s unit led the NFL in sacks through the first two games of the season but had to keep their blitzing to a minimum against Denver. When it did get in, Manning frequently found the open receiver.

Denver’s offense controlled the line of scrimmage most of the game, which rendered run-stoppers like Pat Sims and Vance Walker ineffective.


Zone coverages picked apart

Oakland tried switching up its coverages in the secondary in the hope of confusing Manning but didn’t have much luck against the Denver quarterback.

When it pressed the outside receivers in man-to-man, Manning patiently waited until one of his bigger targets got open. When it backed off and playe...

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