The Las Vegas Raiders played not to lose and it cost them in a demoralizing 29-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 action at home.
The Las Vegas Raiders just don’t make it easy for their fanbase do they?
After leading 20-0 by the first half in a game in which the Raiders were clearly outplaying an inferior opponent in the Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas chose to play “not to lose” as opposed to playing to win the game. That ill-advised strategy proved to be their undoing, once again, as they mustered just a field goal for the remainder of the game.
The Cardinals, oppositely, rattled off 29 points in the second half and in overtime to upset the Raiders at home and move to 1-1 on the season. The Raiders, meanwhile, stare at an 0-2 record and sit in lowly fourth place in the AFC West.
The troubling reality to come to grips with is that even though the box score shows the Cardinals outgained the Raiders through the air (270 to 243) and on the ground (143 to 80), much of that damage felt like it came in a slow, dragged-out fourth quarter. Derek Carr, who threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns and connected with seven different receivers, did not see the field for close to half an hour through the fourth quarter as Kyler Murray and the Cardinals slowly chipped away at Las Vegas’ lead.
The distress that has plagued Raiders fans for what feels like an eternity began to creep up once Josh McDaniels went way too static in the playcalling in the second half. By the end of the fourth and into overtime, the misfortune felt like a given once Hunter Renfrow fumbled not one but two catches. The latter fumble in overtime proved to seal the Raiders’ fate as the Cardinals returned the turnover for six points and the game-sealing score.
This debacle is another in a long line of discouraging losses for the Raiders fanbase, but it stings just a little bit extra because of the expectations of this team. This roster has too much talent to lose in this manner and to be 0-2 at the bottom of a highly contested division.
As Las Vegas now hits the road to face the Tennessee Titans next Sunday, McDaniels and the Silver and Black have to look themselves in the mirror and decide what they want to make of this season. Fans have seen this movie play out before, and if the same script carries on then it will surely be a long season ahead.