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- Pats covered in Moss; Or is it the Other way Around?

Kevin Figgers September 9, 2005
Kevin Figgers
NFL Columnist

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The stage was set for the "new look" Oakland Raiders to showcase their talent on the NFL's biggest stage. ABC, Thursday night, first official game of the NFL regular season. And for the first 20 minutes of the first half, Oakland showed that their offense could be one of the most potent in recent memory.

The Raiders led by Kerry Collins marched down the field on their first possession as if to say "We're here, we're going deep, and there's nothing you can do about it." Two big completions to the newest Raider weapons, Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan, set-up a touchdown pass to 2nd year tight end Courtney Anderson and not only gave the Raiders the lead, but also gave them confidence that they could move the ball and score some points on this Pats defense. A Pats field goal, a Tom Brady pass and a Seabastian Janikowski miss was followed by the play that everyone was waiting to see. Collins takes a 5 step drop, looks left, looks back to the right and heaves one down the sideline to a wide open Randy Moss (he was single covered by 5'9 Tyrone Poole, so he might as well have been wide open) for a 73 yard catch and run. But as the great Gorrilla Monsoon used to say, the Raiders "Went to the well once too often."

It was almost amazing to see how many times Collins threw the ball into double and sometimes triple coverage trying to get the ball to Moss. Granted, two of the balls could have been caught. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to say, "Hmm, if one guy is triple covered, its probably likely that someone else is either open or is being defended one on one." All it takes is a quarterback who knows and understands more than just drop back and the heave every other play. To Collins' defense, when the offensive line pass protects as bad they did, and the head coach, who normally loves to run the football, decides to go Air Coryell in the second half and throw the ball every down and distance, its no wonder why there were no open white shirts in the Pats defensive backfield.

The much maligned Oakland Raiders defense played well enough in the second half to win the game. They held the Pats offense to one first down in the entire 3rd quarter and gave up a touchdown only after Collins was picked off in deep in Raiders territory. The Oakland Raiders definately need to re-think the way they play offense because chucking the ball downfield and hoping that Randy Moss will make a circus ctach every time, is recipe for disaster.

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