The Las Vegas Raiders were looking to make a statement against the New England Patriots, and they did so for the wrong reasons.
The Las Vegas Raiders were riding high off of an emotional 34-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints in their first ever game in the brand new Allegiant Stadium. As they entered the game against the New England Patriots this past Sunday, the hope was that the franchise had finally moved in the right direction.
The Raiders won the toss and deferred the ball to the second half, then the defense forced the Patriots offense off the field three plays into the first series. Sadly, as efficient as the defense was in the first quarter of the game, the energy quickly wore off, and by the second half the defense looked gassed.
In the second half, they often looked out of place, and before all was said and done, they missed 12 tackles in the game, and give up 250 yards on the ground.
Offensively, the Raiders struggled to find a rhythm. Early in the game, Josh Jacobs ran the ball exceptionally well, however as the game played on it was evident that his injuries were hobbling him. As the Raiders switched to a passing attack, the absence of Henry Ruggs was evident, as Derek Carr at times struggled to find open receivers and Darren Waller was blanketed for a majority of the game.
The Raiders abandoned what was successful for them the first two weeks in establishing the run and utilizing the play action, which has accounted for nearly half of the offense in Weeks 1 and 2 to 5% usage vs. the Patriots.
While there were glaring inconsistencies offensively and defensively, coaching and officiating was just as bad. There were two fumbles called against the Raiders and awarded to the Patriots that should’ve been Jacobs, which he recovered that resulted in New England’s possession, and a strip sack of Carr by Chase Winovich in which Carr’s arm was moving forward and should’ve counted as an incomplete pass.
One of which is sure to be corrected by the NFL officiating crew after the fact.
In all, this game was the perfect recipe for a Week 3 trap game with the Raiders traveling to the east coast on a short week with a banged up roster vs. an angry Patriots team who was more prepared. While the gameplay was not up to the same level as what fans have come to expect this season, it is still early and the Raiders are back at home this week.
The Raiders will face a very good Buffalo Bills team that is coming off of a big win at home, but also gave up 32 points in the victory. The Raiders need to regroup, recharge and rehabilitate to come back refreshed and bounce back against the Bills on Sunday.