View Mobile Site

Oakland overcomes late struggles

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED October 28, 2013 10:05 p.m.

ALAMEDA (AP) — If the Oakland Raiders are going to make a run in the second half of the season they will have to become a much better second-half team.

The Raiders overcame a frustratingly familiar pattern in their 21-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. They followed a dynamic first-half offensive performance with a lackluster second and relied on a rapidly improving defense to hold on for the win.

The task for Oakland (3-4) now as the Raiders hit the soft part of their schedule is figuring out how to carry that first-half success over to the final 30 minutes.

“We’ve got to execute better,” coach Dennis Allen said. “We’ve got some opportunities to make some plays and we don’t make the plays that are available to us.’”

The problem has been especially stark in recent weeks when the Raiders have dominated games for the first 30 minutes only to fall apart in the second half. That has cost them chances to win games against Washington and Kansas City.

Oakland has outscored its last four opponents 59-20 in the first half, generating 196.3 yards of offense to build the leads. For some reason, that all changes in the second half, whether it’s conservative play calling, adjustments by the opponent at halftime or a lack of execution.

The Raiders have been outscored 63-10 in the second half in those four games, averaging 91.3 yards, taking 16 sacks and committing six turnovers.

“We got to find a way to keep on punching, keeping drives alive in the second half,” quarterback Terrelle Pryor said.

For the season, Oakland ranks seventh in the NFL in yards per play in the first half at 5.9 and 29th in the second half at 4.4.

The problem was at its worst against the Steelers when the Raiders were held to 35 yards and one first down after taking a 21-3 halftime lead and had to hang on for the win.

It was the fewest yards any team has amassed in the second half of a win in more than three years.

“It’s not always how pretty does it look,” Allen said.

The Raiders play their next six games against teams without winning records, starting at home on Sunday against Philadelphia (3-4). Then come trips to the New York Giants (2-6) and Houston (2-5) followed by a home game against Tennessee (3-4), a Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas (4-4) and a visit to the New York Jets (4-4).

This stretch is crucial because Oakland finishes with three difficult division games against Kansas City (8-0), San Diego (4-3) and Denver (7-1).

“We’ve got an opportunity with Philadelphia coming in here, if we can play well, get our record back to .500 and maybe we can create a little bit of momentum,” Allen said.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...