The Oakland Raiders fall to the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night, 24-20. Here are the three biggest takeaways from this third preseason game for the Raiders.
We thought we had it. The Oakland Raiders were actually playing a pretty sound game for the most part against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. Oakland would lead into the second half 13-10, but would fade furiously in the fourth quarter. The Raiders are now 0-3 in the 2017 NFL preseason after falling to the Cowboys 24-20 on Saturday night.
It wasn’t all bad. Derek Carr looks to be a top-tier quarterback in football. The defense was only a leaky sieve at times, though the Cowboys could move the ball methodically on Ken Norton Jr.’s group. The Raiders were even able to dictate pace with the ground game led by Marshawn Lynch and company. Yet, it was not enough to take a victory home back to the Bay Area.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from the third preseason game.
Derek Carr had good numbers, but was inconsistent. Had Carr played the entire game for the Raiders, he would have been able to win a shootout over Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott. Not that Prescott struggled by any means, but Carr seemed to be in better control of his offense.
That being said, there still seems to be a handful of mechanical issues from Carr that are truly preventing him from reaching the elite level. He may have completed 13 of 17 passes, but he did let a few too many of his passes sail on him. Most of his throws were high and his receivers would have to make difficult grabs to come down with their targets.
His two touchdown passes to Cordarrelle Patterson and Amari Cooper were things of beauty, but Carr struggled to get his tight ends and running backs involved in the passing game. Though Jared Cook had a few nice plays, Carr left running back DeAndre Washington out to dry on his worst decision of the game. Carr looks healthy, but didn’t ace his dress rehearsal game.
This was a bad game for the Raiders’ special teams, outside of Marquette King. King had some punts that were solid, but he’s definitely had better games before. However, the Raiders’ inability to execute at a high level on special teams is what ultimately cost them the game.
Patterson tried to get cute and take the ball out of the end zone on a few occasions when he should have taken a knee to start at the 25-yard line. T.J. Carrie nearly muffed a punt. Then there were all the dumb penalties in the punt return part of the game. Dallas had better field position in the game to begin drives. That’s probably why the Cowboys won and it did not.
Throw in that missed PAT by backup kicker Giorgio Tavecchio and it was an overall rough night for the crucial third phase of the game for the Raiders. Given how important strong special teams play is for Raider football historically, Brad Seely cannot be happy with how his unit played tonight against Dallas.
Defense looked improved, but pump the brakes just a second. The stats sheet indicates that the Raiders at one point forced four straight punts on the Cowboys. What? That happened? Yes, it did and then the defense revealed its true nature and resolved into a pumpkin.
The clock struck midnight around the start of the fourth quarter for the Raiders at their Jerryworld ball. While the Raiders avoid the big plays outside of that 44-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Rush to Lance Lenoir, the Cowboys were able to run the ball all night on the Raiders front-seven.
Overall, the pass rush was excellent and the third-down defense was improved. However, the Raiders still are a bottom-quarter team in the NFL defensively. It looks like they’ll have to force turnovers like they did tonight to keep the other team out of the end zone. This group is progressing, but still has a long way to go.