In what is certainly a must-win game for the Raiders to keep their playoff hopes alive, Las Vegas didn’t seem to be settled in on defense as Colts running back Jonathan Taylor was able to find success and score a touchdown following a 50-yard bomb from Gardner Minshew to Josh Downs.
For the Raiders offense, the game plan was clearly to attack the Indianapolis defense through the air despite the lack of production by Aidan O’Connell last week against the Chiefs. With over twenty passing attempts before halftime, he threw the ball a total of 47 times in this one.
Still, the offense was only able to muster 3 points in the first half which put them in a precarious position after Minshew hit Alec Pierce deep down the field for a 58-yard touchdown that gave them a 14-3 lead at halftime.
Finally, the Las Vegas offense put together quite the drive to start the second half when they concluded a fifteen-play drive with a touchdown pass to Davante Adams who had his way with the Colts' young cornerback group the whole game to the tune of thirteen receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately, the Raiders defense was not able to get enough stops in this one to get the win, and a pair of penalties on cornerback Jack Jones gave the Colts a ten-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
While Las Vegas would eventually cut the lead down to three following an incredible touchdown catch from Adams, they couldn’t recover the onside kick necessary to keep the game alive and would lose 23-20, putting an end to their playoff hopes.
Raiders still have something to play for in Week 18
With their playoff dreams dead, the Raiders now have some big questions to answer as they head home to play the Denver Broncos in the final game of the season.
While they will hope to keep their seven-game winning streak over their rivals alive, it is also the last chance for interim head coach Antonio Pierce to prove he deserves to have the interim label removed.
To do so, he will likely have to not only win this game but do so emphatically and by showing aggressiveness and better clock management which have been lacking at points in his tenure as the head man.
Rumors of Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan for the Raiders are swirling already so a big game from the fan favorite could go a long way.
Furthermore, Will running back Josh Jacobs play? With his contract expiring this off-season, it could be his last game with the Raiders. After missing the last two weeks, his availability is a question mark.
Once again, the Las Vegas Raiders will be playing meaningless football at the end of the season. Of course, most of this disaster lies in the hands of former head coach Josh McDaniels and the pitiful offense he left behind.
Still, there is one week left with the opportunity for players and coaches to earn a spot for next year, as well as finish the season the right way with a win over the rival Denver Broncos and a second-place finish in the AFC West.