Raiders struggle in the Big Easy

The Raiders had several clear issues against the New Orleans Saints Friday evening, but none was more evident that a overmatched offensive line.

After losing Jared Veldheer to a partially torn left triceps earlier in the week, Alex Barron was manhandled by Saints linemen, and neither Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor had much time to throw.

Flynn completed 12 of 16 passes during the 28-20 loss. Despite scoring only one touchdown in the first half, the Raiders were able to rally back when Drew Brees took a seat. But while Brees was playing, Oakland had no answer.

Compounding those issues was a lackluster performance by receivers and another big injury, this time to tight end David Ausberry.

Coach Dennis Allen told the Mercury News that he wasn’t happy about the way things turned out:

“I think he was under duress most of the evening, (The Saints) brought a lot of pressure, and they did some different stuff than they did in the first preseason game. … I don’t know if we played well in any one of the three phases in the first half.”

Ausberry left with a shoulder injury early on in the second quarter and did not return. Cornerback Tracy Porter also left the game during the first half with a groin injury.

Ausberry has been in a tight position battle with third year player Richard Gordon. Allen told SF Gate’s Vic Tafur that the pair could be out for awhile:

“I think they could be potentially significant injuries.”

Defensive lapses helped create Saints opportunities in the red zone. With 14 seconds left in the first half, Brees had about nine seconds to scramble before finding rookie wide out Kenny Stills for the second touchdown of the game.

Linebacker Nick Roach voiced his frustrations:

Indeed, the Saints have carved up defenses time and time again, so fretting over such a tough time could prove fruitless. But it may also serve as a wake-up call to the coaching staff that the front four are not all they’re cracked up to be.

The only bright spot of the Raiders first half was an 18 yard touchdown from Flynn to Denarious Moore just before halftime.

Somehow, Flynn finished the half with a 117.7 passer rating, hardly trailing Brees’ 131.9 rating. Flynn did show great poise, dampened somewhat by the five sacks he was forced to endure.

The Raiders will host the Chicago Bears next Friday for their third preseason game, the final home game before the regular season begins.


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