There’s something painful about a bad loss following a huge win, something Las Vegas Raiders fans are used to. Beating the Kansas City Chiefs before losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is harsh. It is also an experience that Raider Nation is too familiar with. It feels like the end of the world, especially when that win would’ve meant so much for the franchise, but fear not, because this week, the Silver and Black Linings make their Las Vegas debut! Here’s why Raider Nation shouldn’t get too down about the loss.
Silver and Black Lining: Week 7
Winners Don’t Make Excuses, But…
Let’s just take a second to look at everything that went wrong for the Raiders in Week 7. Right tackle Trent Brown and safety Johnathan Abram were on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 List and didn’t suit up for the game. Also, what was supposed to be a primetime game in Las Vegas turned into a midday bout. Also, the broadcasting coverage was brutal, but that’s beside the point.
The Raiders could’ve won a close game
Keep in mind that the final 45-20 score is misleading. Sure, the Buccaneers led for most of the game, but Brady buried the Silver and Black in garbage time while the Raiders offense looked defeated. With ten minutes left in the game, the Raiders stopped Brady at midfield, down only four points. They would have had a chance to take the lead if a ghost pass interference hadn’t given the ‘Bucs’ a fresh set of downs.
Moral victories are for suckers, but the Raiders really could’ve won this one. “If” they don’t give up that third and thirteen to Leonard Fournette… if Trayvon Mullen doesn’t catch a rogue pass interference… and frankly, if Gabe Jackson doesn’t inexplicably get ejected, this game is very, very different. Speaking of which…
Trayvon Mullen is a monster. Even without a pass rush, and with no safety help this week, he was a baller. Wide receiver Mike Evans was a non-factor, and he even played his part against tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Raiders need to fire defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. They also have to do something about the free safety position and the pass rush. However, there’s no doubt, ’27’ is an absolute stud. If Damon Arnette can come back healthy, the Raiders might have the makings of a very strong corner group.
Derek Carr is just getting started
After years of speculation, it’s safe to say the Raiders can win with Derek Carr under center. The quarterback is on pace to throw for over 4,600 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. Sure, the team hasn’t involved Henry Ruggs III as fans would like, and Bryan Edwards hasn’t been able to make his mark yet. Nevertheless, Carr is far from the problem in Las Vegas. He’s getting vertical in games while still protecting the ball through the air. It may sound like hyperbole, but it feels like he can fly even higher this season.
What will happen once the offensive line gets back together, and the run game gets going? Carr should be considered a Pro Bowl lock and assuming the Raiders will play up to their potential in the second half of the season, maybe even an All-Pro candidate. So far in 2020, he’s doing that sleeve justice.
The Raiders have full control of their destiny in the second half of the season
Speaking of the second half of the season, buckle up, Raider Nation. While some see the win over the Chiefs as a fluke after the loss to the ‘Bucs’, the opposite may be true. The Raiders had a funky, distracting week in which they weren’t even sure who or when they would be playing. After the game, Carr said he wasn’t happy the team lost, but he was proud of the work his teammates put in throughout the week and why shouldn’t he? After all, the loss came in was ultimately a close game to a very good opponent.
In Week 8, the Raiders face a banged-up Cleveland Browns team, the Chiefs again, the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, as well as the Los Angles Chargers and Denver Broncos twice. Most of those teams are not playoff contenders. The only team on that docket better than the Raiders are the Chiefs… who the Silver and Black have already beaten at Arrowhead.
Stay optimistic Raider Nation, Guenther will get fired eventually and there’s no reason this squad shouldn’t make the playoffs this year.
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Top Photo: Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun