Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden

Mile High Reality

Coach em up, Chunk.

September 17, 2018 - 1:21 pm

Yo, Raider Fan. Hate to be the dude that hits your grill with the smelling salts this morning—but that wasn’t a nightmare in Denver yesterday. That was some Mile High reality. And there’s no decibel I could bump the Autumn Wind at today to make that gag job go away. 

Here’s the good news. The Raiders are helluva first half team. Here’s the bad news. There’s two halves in a football game. And the Raiders haven’t gotten out of the locker room for the second half yet this season. And it’s cost them two games and put them on week-to-week lease in the basement of the AFC West.

One thing to lose to a divisional rival on the road. That’ll happen. But entirely another thing to lose to a division rival on the road in a game you led for 59 minutes and 54 seconds. Especially a game that Derek Carr couldn’t miss in. And a game that could have been put away multiple different times in the 4th quarter. Like when the Raiders needed a yard on a 4th down on the Broncos 33 early in the 4th quarter. And Gruden went all Pete Carroll with it and called a pass play instead of handing it to Beast Mode. Maybe it’s just me—but if you have a dude who refuses to go down on initial contact and you need a yard to move the sticks—maybe you give it that guy. And maybe if you give it to that guy you’re walking off the field with points instead of turning it over on downs and watching the Broncos drive 67 yards to pull within two. 

But none of that would have even mattered if the Raiders offense produced on their next possession. But they didn’t. And still that wouldn’t have mattered if the Raiders defense could have shut down Case Keenum and his 35.4 QBR on the Broncos final drive of the game. But they didn’t.

18 seconds left. Broncos down by two. 2nd and 10 at the Oakland 44—five yards out of field goal range even at altitude. No timeouts. Advantage Raiders. All day. All freaking day. Except yesterday when Case Keenum found Tim Patrick for a 26 yard checkdown. 

How the hell does that happen? How does Keenum get off his longest completion of the day with 18 seconds left in an obvious checkdown situation? And how does Tim Patrick run free for 26 yards down the sideline into chip shot range with the game on the line? And if Raider Nation was looking for Brandon McManus to go all Zane Gonzalez with it—they’ve got the wrong kicker. 

Ball game. Fly home safely, Nation.

Brutal loss. Absolutely brutal. You shut down and shut out a team for two quarters and then you shut down yourselves when it mattered most. And I don’t care if it’s Case Keenum or Aaron Rodgers back there. Hell, I don’t care if it’s Nate Peterman. Any NFL quarterback with zero pressure on him all day is gonna get off sooner or later. And Keenum did. And the Broncos won—in large part because the Raiders couldn’t touch him. 

Through two games—Oakland has sacked the quarterback twice. And if you think this is the part where I remind you that Gruden let Khalil Mack leave town because he didn’t want to pay him—you’d be right. Because there’s no denying the difference Khalil Mack could have—and would have—made yesterday. And if you don’t believe me—check out his act against the Seahawks offensive line tonight. He’ll be the dude in the backfield all night long. 

But the past is the past. And the present might actually be the worse than the past. Because now the Raiders 0-2. And they're looking up at everybody in the West and everybody in the West looks better than them. How the hell is this squad gonna gain ground on the Chiefs when the Chiefs are out there waxing the Steelers? 

Now the Raiders have to get on a cross country bird to Miami for the early game this Sunday. And if that isn't a must-win, I don't know what is. 0-3 is a death sentence for the 2018 season. Especially in that division. And I don't think even the Nation can spin the start of the Jon Gruden era into anything positive if they start out 0-3. Which is exactly what Vegas thinks will happen if you've peeped the early line on that game.

Now or never, Chunky. Coach em up, chunk. Coach them the hell up!