Life is a bumpy road and that proved true for Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders in Sunday’s shutout loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Blanked 24-0 on the road, the Raiders were shutout for the first time since 2014 with an all-around performance that will go down as one of the team’s worst in ages.
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“Obviously, that wasn’t good enough in any way, shape or form and that’s my responsibility. I have to do a much better job of getting ourselves ready to go.”Josh McDaniels on Las Vegas Raiders’ shutout loss
Las Vegas failed to reach midfield in its offensive drives until the last five minutes of the game, all while committing more penalties (six) than third-down conversions (five).
Here are four takeaways from Sunday’s loss to the Saints and the implications it might have on the team moving forward.
Las Vegas Raiders flop with unprepared offense
The Raiders were unable to get going offensively the entire game. Quarterback Derek Carr completed 15-of-26 passes, playing so poorly that McDaniels waved the white flag and brought in backup Jarret Stidham late in the game.
- Las Vegas Raiders offensive stats (Week 8): 183 total yards, 3.3 yards per play, four sacks, 13 first downs, 0-for-1 inside the red zone on nine drives
After recording three consecutive games of at least 140 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, running back Josh Jacobs only recorded 10 carries for 43 yards.
As for the highly-paid receiver duo of Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, they combined for two receptions and nine receiving yards on seven targets. For comparison, Saints’ gadget player Taysom Hill finished with more receiving yards (11).
“That right there was embarrassing. We can’t have that and that should never happen especially with the group of guys we have in that locker room. We’ve got to take a look at ourselves, though, and really check to see how we want to go into the next game.”Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr on the team’s offensive performance
Wide receiver Mack Hollins led the team in the passing game with seven catches for 64 yards as tight end Foster Moreau right behind him with six receptions for 31 yards.
Alvin Kamara, Saints’ offense too much for Las Vegas
The Saints were a different story as the Raiders were unable to contain Alvin Kamara. Entering Week 8 without a touchdown, the All-Pro running back led by running back Alvin Kamara led New Orleans in rushing (62 yards), receiving (96 yards) and touchdowns (three).
Kamara wasn’t the only player creating havoc for Las Vegas. Saints’ rookie Chris Olave snagged five receptions for 52 yards and Hill finished with 72 scrimmage yards on 11 touches.
The Saints’ Swiss Army Knife was playing all over the field as he lined up at tight end and at quarterback in a wildcat format to run the ball.
After the game, edge rusher Maxx Crosby admitted Las Vegas didn’t bring the energy to match the Saints’ offense on Sunday.
“When you’re playing a team with high intensity, you’ve got to go and not only match that energy, but exceed it. It’s disappointing but we’ve got to learn from it fast and be ready to go. That starts tomorrow.”Maxx Crosby on the energy level of the Las Vegas Raiders’ defense
Third downs proved to be pivotal
In the preview, I mentioned third downs would be the difference in this matchup. For the third consecutive week, the Raiders’ defense allowed opponents to convert at least 50% of their third-down attempts.
Not being able to execute on its third-down defense, forcing punts, in addition to not being able to produce offensively led to no complimentary football between those two sides of the ball.
The Raiders are now the fourth-worst defense in the NFL.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders completed 5-of-14 (36%) on third downs as punter AJ Cole had to make six appearances beyond the line of scrimmage in his main duties and punted five times for an average of 45.8 yards.
And with the way Las Vegas had been playing over the last few weeks with the rushing attack, this team was unable to adjust.
Offensive line inconsistencies
There have been multiple times this season so far when the offensive line has had its good moments as well as its bad moments. Sunday was one of those bad moments as Carr and Jacobs could not get the production they needed to get going offensively.
In addition, not having that protection led to multiple underthrown passes from Carr, including his lone interception, which led to the Saints’ first touchdown of the game.
Jacobs’ performances over the last few games have been a result of positive results from the offensive line and today the team was not as successful.
The physicality is something that McDaniels has talked about all season long and seven games in, already having the bye week to refine any details, the physicality needs to show at the line of scrimmage in order for the team to have success, especially when some of the game’s best opposing defensive lines lie ahead on the schedule.