Raiders vs. Falcons: Oakland’s Mistakes Overshadow Effort in 23-20 Loss

The odds were stacked against the Oakland Raiders headed into a Week 6 game against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. Everything except the fact that the Raiders were coming off the bye seemed to favor the Falcons. Of course, games are played on the football field and not on the stat sheet, and the Raiders played their most inspired football of the season on Sunday.

Despite great play by the defense, the Raiders just made one too many mistakes and the Falcons kicked a last-second field goal for the 23-20 win. The loss drops the Raiders to 1-4 on the season and improves the Falcons to 6-0.

The Raiders' biggest mistake came in in the fourth quarter when Carson Palmer threw behind Denarius Moore and Asante Samuel jumped the route and returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders also committed 12 penalties for 110 yards, and several times, failed to pin the Falcons deep in their own territory on punts.

The most damaging penalties wiped out long runs by Darren McFadden and put the Raiders in tough third-down situations. The Raiders would end the game five of 13 on third down, which means the penalties frequently resulted in stalled offensive drives.

The offense did respond with a touchdown drive after Palmer’s interception and scored with less than a minute on the clock to tie the game. The defense that had been so tough on the Falcons all day allowed Ryan to get the Falcons into field-goal range for the game-winning touchdown pass.

It’s tough to place the full weight of the loss on a defense that held the Falcons to one offensive touchdown even when it was put in tough positions with offensive miscues. The defense came away with three interceptions after being held without an interception in their first four games. It was Oakland’s offense that could only convert the interceptions into 10 points, which, in hindsight, kept the Falcons in the game.

The defe...

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