The Raiders falter in the second half again to fall to 0-2 in 2018 after being beaten on a last second field goal by the Denver Broncos. Here’s three takeaways from the loss.
Even though the Raiders controlled the game most of the way, the Raiders came up short in a tough 20-19 loss to the Broncos in Denver. The team falls to 0-2 after a crushing later field goal sent them home with the loss. Despite another late failure, there were positives including glimpses of how good the offense can be. Defensively, the team held their own for most of the game but an issue that will be their Achilles heel this season made its presence known late. Let’s take at look at some things fans can take away from this loss.
1. Derek Carr Regains his MVP Form
After being lambasted by media and fans alike for his three-interception performance against the Rams, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr rebounded with a historic performance. According to the NFL, Carr is the only quarterback to post a 90% completion percentage with over 30 pass attempts in a game. Carr finished with 29 completions on 32 attempts (90.6%) gaining 281 yards and scoring a touchdown. Most impressive about the performance was he was attacking the secondary not simply checking the ball down.
Denver has one of the best pass rushing units in the NFL. To combat their pressure, head coach Jon Gruden utilized a deep play action package as well as designed roll outs. This play action out of “12” personnel was the crown jewel of Carr’s day. Pulling left guard Kelechi Osemele really sold the play fake and froze the underneath coverage. Osemele was also able to get a bit of a “Wham” on Broncos EDGE Shane Ray which allowed Carr to step into this dart of a throw.
Hopefully, his aggressiveness and accuracy carry over into their week 3 match up with the 2-0 Miami Dolphins. Carr isn’t the only one learning Gruden’s offense and this is a good indicator that players are getting more comfortable in the system. The offense had a solid game against a very good defense.
2. No 4th quarter Pass Rush
In what could be a recurring theme this season, the Raiders defense was unable to get to the Bronco’s quarterback, especially on the final drive. The defense looked to be in a good position to hold onto their 2-point lead after a holding penalty and incomplete pass left Denver in 2nd and 20.
As was the case for much of the game, the Raiders pass rush was neutralized allowing quarterback Case Keenum to step into this 20-yard sail route. Unless the offense is able to start blowing teams out and putting up 30+ points, this will cost them games as it did this week.
Oakland has led both games going into the second half and have outscored their opponents 25-10 over the first two quarters.
Oakland has led both games going into the second half and has outscored their opponents 25-10 over the first two quarters. They have simply failed to finish the job possibly due to fatigue due to lack of depth. Getting outscored 43-7 in the last two quarters is the reason they have not won a game. There isn’t a bigger challenge facing the team this season and will be a factor if they miss the playoffs.
3. AC/DC showed up
After having just one catch for nine yards in the opening week, wide receiver Amari Cooper showed up in this game. He would finish with 10 receptions for 116 yards. Possibly most importantly, those ten receptions came on ten targets. Cooper looked really good making catches away from his body. He has had some issues with drops and performing more consistently is the next step in his progression.
Cooper is so natural running routes and will be a dangerous weapon once everyone is comfortable in Gruden’s system. Here he gives a nice jab before breaking on his bench route. He catches the ball with his hands and gets both feet down. The Raiders are going to need him to have performances like this all season. Defenses can scheme to take a receiver away so Cooper needs to make the most of the opportunities he gets.
This was a tough loss in a game that the Raiders seemed to be in control of. Receiver Seth Roberts even scored a touchdown which has been a good omen in the past. The coaching staff did a phenomenal job making corrections from week 1 and put some good things on film. There will be more corrections and tweaks for next week, hopefully, they are able to celebrate the fruits of their labors instead of having them stolen in the final moments.