Last Sunday was an embarrassing day for the Raiders and their fans alike. With an opportunity to up their chances at a playoff spot, the Raiders collapsed instead. Their performance was so dismal it did what many previous subpar outings could not, get defensive coordinator Paul Guenther fired. The Silver and Black’s offense was a little less efficient than usual, but it looked like the defense forgot how to play football altogether.
This is a look at how every Raiders position group did in Week 14.
Derek Carr didn’t really have that bad of a day. He was 31-of-45 for 318 yards, two touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and two interceptions. Kenny Moore came away with an all-time pick in the back of the end zone – any less of an effort by the Indianapolis Colts defensive back and that’s an easy touchdown for Darren Waller. The second one was an interception Khari Wills returned for a touchdown that basically sealed the game for the Colts. At that point, the game was already out of reach, so you can make the argument that Carr shouldn’t have even been in the game at that point. We all remember what happened in 2016 when the Raiders kept Carr on the field.
The Raiders running backs had a tough time on the ground against the Colts. Josh Jacobs was healthy and looked good. However, the Raiders were behind, so they basically had to abandon the run game. Las Vegas averaged only 3.8 yards per carry, and they will need to improve on that for Thursday’s game against the Chargers.
The Colts don’t typically allow big games by opposing tight ends, but Darren Waller had a solid day with seven catches for 75 yards. He would have caught a touchdown if not for Moore’s highlight-reel interception. Nelson Agholor had a tremendous game with five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Renfrow had five catches for 38 yards but lost a costly fumble in the second half. Henry Ruggs only caught three passes for 18 yards, and it’s sad to see the first-round pick reduced to an afterthought, but perhaps a full offseason will help him develop into the game-breaker he can be.
The Raiders got closer to full strength on the offensive line this week, with Trent Brown returning to action. Carr was able to put up the numbers he did because he usually had all day to throw, as the Raiders’ line kept him upright all game long and held the Colts without a sack. Tough to ask more from them in the passing game, but they could have opened better holes in the running game, Still, it was a good performance overall. Tom Cable has worked wonders with this group.
Here’s where things go bad. Even though the Raiders haven’t gotten sacks this year, they have at least been able to generate some pressure. Not so in this game, where the Colts’ offensive line kept them away from Philip Rivers all game long. If Andrew Luck had this type of protection, he wouldn’t have retired early. The Raider line was awful against both the pass and the run. Rod Marinelli earned the defensive coordinator job after this game, but so far he’s been a distinct downgrade from Brentson Buckner as a defensive line coach.
Before the ugly parts, Nicholas Morrow had a terrific game and has emerged as one of the few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball for Las Vegas. The D-III product had eight tackles, two for loss, and two passes defensed. Outside of ’50’, the Raider linebackers were useless against either the pass or run. They were constantly out of position and unable to slow down Colts running back Jonathan Taylor. Here’s hoping a scheme drawn up by someone other than Paul Guenther will do this unit some good.
The Raiders went into the game with two starters and depth players out due to injury, and it really showed in this game. While safety Johnathan Abram did play, he hadn’t practiced much all week and wasn’t fully healthy. T.Y. Hilton beat him on several occasions and committed his usual dumb penalties. Nevin Lawson saw the field with the absence of Damon Arnette, and we all know by now that’s a recipe for disaster. Rivers tore the secondary apart, and that shouldn’t happen. This unit played like they wanted to get Guenther fired, and if so, mission accomplished.
RAIDERS SPECIAL TEAMS
Daniel Carlson was once again perfect, going 2-of-2 on field goals and 3-of-3 on extra points. The Raiders’ return units were good, but their kickoff coverage could have been better, as they gave up a 31-yard return to Isaiah Rodgers.
In Week 14, the Raiders won a game against the Jets that felt like a loss. This game was a loss that may eventually feel like a win because it rid us of Paul Guenther. The defense gave an all-time stinker of a performance that wiped out a relatively decent day from the offense, but the team may be better off in the long run because of it.
Overall Grade: C-
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Top Photo: David Becker/Associated Press