Despite a spirited comeback in the second half, the Las Vegas Raiders couldn’t overcome their worst half of football against the Los Angeles Chargers and dropped a key AFC West matchup 28-14 on Monday Night Football. The Raiders had plenty of chances in the second half to tie the game but couldn’t get the job done. Here are 4 Raiders takeaways from their first loss of the season.
Raiders takeaways #1: The offensive line is a big problem
When you’re 3-0, the warts are hidden. The Raiders offensive line has been hit hard by injuries and turnover and all the ugliness was on full display Monday night. Despite the line’s inconsistent play through three games, Derek Carr elevated his play and overcame it in close wins for two of the Raiders’ three wins. But the Chargers’ defense came to play and is peaking early in the season and owned the Silver and Black upfront. Rookie Alex Leatherwood was beaten by Joey Bosa continuously and had the worst game of his young career. Carr was constantly under pressure and couldn’t settle in at all. The line did do much better in the second half, but it was too little too late and why it’s one of our key Raiders takeaways.
Raiders takeaways #2: Gus Bradley’s defense was asked to do the impossible
The Raiders defense gave up 28 points to the Chargers, but primarily due to the offense’s inability to stay on the field in the first half. Giving up 21 points before halftime meant the hole was too big to overcome. Despite great play by Darius Philon (two sacks), Maxx Crosby, and Yannick Ingoakue, the Chargers held the ball almost 10 minutes longer than the Raiders. No matter how well the defense played, the offense just couldn’t consistently possess the ball and came up empty too many times. It had bailed out the Raiders in two other games this year when the offense started slow, but their luck ran out against the Chargers.
Raiders takeaways #3: Hunter Renfrow is good at football
Where would the Raiders have been without Hunter Renfrow on Monday night? Not only did Renfrow catch a key touchdown to start the second half, but he also made the defensive play of the game early saving a sure first down on a Chargers fake punt attempt in the first half. Renfrow continues to be a steadying force for this Raiders offense.
Raiders takeaways #4: Raiders can’t stay healthy
Both cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette left the game in the first half with injuries compounding the Raiders’ tough night at SoFi Stadium. The loss of both corners meant a continuous miss-match with the Chargers tight end Jared Cook and wideouts Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. Casey Hayward Jr. was also seen limping several times adding to the already grim Raiders injury report. The NFL is about depth at all positions and the Raiders, already hammered on their offensive line by injury, now will head into Week 5 with unknowns on defense as well. That’s one of the Raiders takeaways to keep an eye on during this short week before they host the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium Sunday.