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Run 'D' unravels for collapsing Raiders

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 14, 2010 @ 1:16 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

The Raiders' chances of going to the playoffs took a significant hit Sunday in their 38-31 loss to the Jaguars. Oakland blew a 10-point third-quarter lead in the game, and its defense struggled to contain RBs Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings, who each had more than 100 yards rushing. Both backs had long touchdown runs in the second half, and Jones-Drew's 30-yard TD with 1:34 remaining gave the Jaguars the lead for good.

Jacksonville racked up 234 yards on 34 carries (6.9 avg.), and QB David Garrard made some big plays through the air, too. Three of his 11 completions resulted in touchdowns.

At 6-7, the Raiders are two games behind the Chiefs and one game behind the Chargers, who blew out the Chiefs on Sunday, in the AFC West.

The PFW spin

Oakland isn't going to face another strong ground attack until Week 17, when it battles Kansas City, which leads the league in rushing. In fact, the Raiders will face two of the league's least productive running games in the next two weeks when they play the Broncos and the Colts, but even Indianapolis and Denver could have success running the ball if coordinator John Marshall's run defense does not put forth a more complete game.

It held Jacksonville to just 15 carries for 52 yards in the first half. The collapse came later in the game.

The Raiders had Ricky Brown filling in at middle linebacker for rookie Rolando McClain, who is dealing with a foot issue, on Sunday, but the run "D" had some awful games even when McClain was healthy. It has given up 186 yards rushing or more in four games — three with McClain — this season, and the Raiders are 2-7 when their opponent has 26 rushing attempts or more. Only three teams have given up more carries of 20 yards or longer than Oakland.

When the Raiders try to compensate for their struggles against the run and defenders start to cheat up toward the line of scrimmage, offenses can counter with play-action passes, and that's exactly what Jacksonville did on Sunday. Two of Garrard's TD throws came off play-action.

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