Raiders

Raiders Passing Game Review Versus Broncos

After a tumultuous week, the Las Vegas Raiders got back in the win column on Sunday. The passing game took center stage in this victory; here’s how they fared.

Derek Carr Was Lights Out

From the first drive, it was clear the Raiders’ offense was out to make a statement. After back-to-back games where the offense was the problem, this was necessary. As such, when Derek Carr hit Henry Ruggs III for a long touchdown on the first drive, Raider Nation’s excitement went through the roof. The play itself shows how much Carr has progressed this year. He is much more aggressive, and the entire offense is better off for it. In the seasons before 2020, he likely never would have attempted that pass. The same is true for the touchdown pass to Kenyan Drake. It was one of Carr’s best passes of the season, and he displayed great anticipation by throwing the ball well before he was “open.”

Carr would finish the game 18/27 for 341 yards and two touchdowns in what was possibly his best performance of the season. When Carr is at his best, he does an incredible job taking care of the ball but is consistently aggressive and this game showed that well. When Carr plays like this, the Raiders will be hard to stop.

Young Wide Receivers Shine

Ruggs has arrived, folks. With three catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, Ruggs was as good as ever in this one. On the aforementioned touchdown, Ruggs displayed the top-end speed that got him drafted so highly. 

However, his most impressive play may have been the third-down conversion at the end of the game. A contested catch down the field that he came down with to set up a score illustrated Carr’s trust in him. The contrast in that trust from last season to now is stark. Last season, Carr’s confidence in Ruggs was still a work in progress. Fast forward to Week 6, and you can see Carr is going to Ruggs in critical situations.

Bryan Edwards also made his presence known despite not posting big numbers. His biggest play, coming on a third-down conversion in the fourth quarter. For those following the Raiders in 2021, that is a familiar phrase. For all of Carr’s trust in Ruggs, Renfrow, and Waller, the biggest clutch plays from this season have often featured Edwards. That was prevalent in the overtime wins versus Baltimore and Miami, where he had huge plays to set the offense up. The clutch catches are coming often from Edwards, and he has established himself as yet another trustworthy target in the passing game.

A Banner Performance

In the first game without Jon Gruden calling the shots, the Raiders’ passing offense had one of their best games of the season. It would truly be hard for the offense to function much better than this. Ruggs offered the big plays, Waller and Renfrow were reliable security blankets, and Edwards was clutch. Moving forward, the Raiders must continue to attack down the field. Currently, both Ruggs and Edwards are top three in yards per catch. This offense is built to threaten teams deep, and offensive coordinator Greg Olson appears to understand that.

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*Top Photo: Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders

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