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5 big takeaways as the Las Vegas Raiders’ comeback bid falls short in 24-19 loss

Breven Honda
NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday afternoon, the Las Vegas Raiders (0-1) could not quite complete a vintage Derek Carr fourth quarter comeback in a 24-19 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Ultimately, the negatives outweighed the positives in the opener for Las Vegas, leading to the season-opening loss.

Here are five key takeaways from the Raiders’ opener.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders schedule and game-by-game predictions

Mistakes self-inflict Las Vegas Raiders

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the things that hurt the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday were the turnovers.

Carr, who completed 22 passes on 37 attempts for 295 yards with two touchdowns, threw three interceptions, including two that came on back-to-back possessions early in the fourth quarter

The ninth-year quarterback threw his first interception late in the first half as it seemed the Raiders had a chance to grab the momentum following a defensive stop to possibly tie the game before halftime.  

The second interception came with 13:20 left in the fourth quarter as Carr tried to find wide receiver Davante Adams in the endzone. But the pass was underthrown and into the hands of a Chargers defender.

Carr’s third pick came three minutes later when the pass was intended for wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and fell into the hands of the opposing uniform.

“I’ll be better about making too many aggressive decisions when I don’t have to. That’s really where it came down to. Me forcing the ball to my guys in moments I didn’t need to.”

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr after Week 1 loss

All three interceptions were underthrown passes to the intended receiver.

Giving up the three picks was the opposite of what head coach Josh McDaniels had been preaching all training camp about in order to win, the team need to learn how to not lose.

Derek Carr and Davante Adams find groove as offense will make adjustments

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday marked the first time the former Fresno State teammates got to play with each other in a regular season NFL game.

Adams, who caught his first pass on the first Las Vegas offensive play of the game for 11 yards, led the team in receptions, yards and targets.

Carr threw to Adams 17 times as the reigning two-time All Pro wide receiver caught 10 of those passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, which came with 4:32 remaining in regulation as the Raiders tried to mount their comeback.

“It felt great,” Adams said. “Obviously, we’re not trying to take any moral victories out of it, but we did a lot of good things out there. A lot of good stuff to build off of but we did fall short and winning is the goal in this league and for this team specifically.”

As a result of Adams taking Carr’s 17 of his 37 attempts, the rest of pass catchers only had 20 targets to go around.

Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller each recorded six targets. Waller caught four passes for 79 yards and Renfrow totaled three receptions for 21 yards.

The Raiders’ second touchdown came on an 18-yard pass to running back Brandon Bolden, who totaled two catches for 21 yards and his score. 

Carr said the target leader could be any player on any given gameday as the 30-year-old has more go-to options now than in the past.

“I think we’re going to see that throughout the season,” Carr said. “It could be the same question about Davante or Darren. When you have so many guys, it’s hard for them all to have 10 catches or 15 targets. That’s a lot of footballs being thrown to only them. I think that’s something coach will deal with and I’m going to do my best to read them out.”

Related: Las Vegas Raiders standing in Sportsnaut’s most-recent NFL power rankings

Daniel Carlson still on point

Despite all the troubles throughout the NFL today amongst the kickers, one kicker who did not have a problem was 2021 Second Team All-Pro Daniel Carlson.

Carlson made both his field goal attempts, including one from 55 yards out. He also made his lone PAT attempt.

His perfection is once again a testament to his long snapper Trent Sieg and holder A.J. Cole. Over the last couple of seasons, Carlson’s foot has become reliable in the event Carr and offense can’t cash in for six points.

The chemistry between the three specialists is vital to success of putting up one or three points, no matter of expectations at any point of the game.

Andre James goes into concussion protocol, name to watch this coming week

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Although the team had six players that were inactive heading into the game, Las Vegas still dealt with the injuries from the first play all the way to the final horn.

During the Raiders final drive, center Andre James took a couple of hits and later left the stadium in an ambulance for precautionary reasons. James was being evaluated for a concussion after he was slow to get up on the final offensive play.

Had this injury come earlier in the game, the Raiders would have looked to rookie Dylan Parham as the team’s snapper for Carr.

Throughout this week, James will be a player to watch on the injury report to see his status as a result of his concussion.

Positives for the Las Vegas Raiders come defensively

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the bright spots for the Las Vegas Raiders came on the defensive side of the ball, both as a whole and from an individual standpoint.

The Las Vegas Raiders gave up six third downs on 14 chances while getting one fourth down stop as well.

The Las Vegas defense also recorded four three-and-outs, including three in the second half alone with the final one setting up the potential game-winning drive, courtesy of a third down stop by cornerback Nate Hobbs, who recorded six individual tackles and nine total tackles with a team-high two tackles for loss.

Hobbs said this was a good first step for the defense to grow off of this week and for weeks to come as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham gets his players ready, like Hobbs.

“Even though we couldn’t come up with the win like we wanted, it felt like we showed out competitive spirit and that game gives us the opportunity to grow for the rest of the year,” Hobbs said.

Raiders safety Johnathan Abram recorded a game-high 12 total tackles and nine solo tackles. Maxx Crosby was the other Raider to total double-digit tackles with 10.

Amongst the players who wore the Silver and Black for the first time today, Rock Ya-Sin recorded six tackles, Jayon Brown got five tackles, Duron Harmon had three tackles and Chandler Jones had two tackles.

Up next, Jones will get to face his former team in the Las Vegas Raiders home opener next week at Allegiant Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals at 1:25 p.m. PT