In Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, the Oakland Raiders had the lead until the third quarter due to the Redskins’ disastrous offensive performance. What was the turning point in the game that caused the Redskins to overturn the Raiders? Washington’s defense picked up the slack for their offense, resulting in a final score of Washington 24, Oakland 14.
How did quarterback Matt Flynn perform during his third career start? The Raiders were up 14-0 in the first quarter thanks to Flynn. His team blocked a punt for a touchdown and he threw a touchdown pass which made the rest of the game seem promising for Oakland.
So what happened? Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III performed miserably in the first quarter, but somehow the Washington defense managed to shut down the Raiders for the rest of the game. How did Oakland lose such a lead over the less than extraordinary Washington Redskins, who had no victories until this game? Washington’s defense took advantage of Oakland’s lack of Terrelle Pryor, who is still out with a concussion he suffered last week. Not only that, but the Oakland Raiders lost a running back and full back, Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece, in the game due to injuries. Without three of their key players, the Raiders stood almost no chance.
It’s clear Flynn did not play as well as hoped. However, it would be ignorant to assume the loss was entirely Flynn’s fault. The game of football has never been about one player and should not be completely dependent of one player’s ability or lack thereof. Rather, the game of football is a team effort, and while the quarterback is essential to winning, the players must be able to play as a team and work through the issues together.
For instance, Oakland’s defense obviously has some work to do, considering they allowed the Redskins to score 24 points in three quarters and claim the victory. While Flynn’s performance needs to dramatically improve until Pryor can return, to assume he is to blame for the loss is nothing less than ridiculous.