The entire Sunday Night Football game was essentially just a three-hour-long TikTok “Oh no, oh no, oh no no no” video. The only thing missing was the loop of the song, the Las Vegas Raiders had the rest of it covered. There are bad losses, and then there are utter embarrassments. That was very much the latter of the two.
What made it so much worse is that the winner of this game got to take over first place in the AFC West. Just like that, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are back at the top. Emphatically so at that.
It’d be a disservice to the insanity of the play to not start by talking about DeSean Jackson’s fumble. Talk about a microcosm of the Raiders season. The joy of seeing that ball get to Jackson, only to have it all go so wrong so quickly was exactly this season in a nutshell.
Jackson appeared to have a straight shot to the end zone, only to end up doing his best impression of a squirrel crossing the street instead. He might not have made it for the touchdown with Rashad Fenton fast approaching, but he had a chance. Jackson appeared disoriented after the catch, though, and turned to run the other way. The move allowed Fenton to perfectly punch the ball out from behind for the key turnover of the game.
If the Raiders score on that drive, they would have made the score 24-21. Who knows how it goes from there? That it was Jackson, the new ‘take the top off the defense specialist’ who made the mistake was demoralizing. The replacement for Henry Ruggs III making a huge play would have been immensely uplifting. Unfortunately, Jackson dropping the ball just reinforced how difficult it will be to replace Ruggs.
Of course, the one play was far from the only issue for the Raiders. It wasn’t even the only absurd turnover. Derek Carr’s horrible interception on the following drive was not equal in absurdity, but it was bad in its own right. Carr’s arm got hit as he threw a pass up for grabs to Bryan Edwards, and Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen came down with the interception. Even though his arm was hit, which made the pass go awry, the play seemed doomed no matter what. Not to mention that Edwards was blanketed in double coverage.
Sorensen has had one of the worst seasons for a starting safety in NFL history so far, though. He was giving up a perfect QB rating of 158.3 when targeted going into this game. So obviously, he’d intercept Carr then.
What about the defense?
The defense also did not know what to do, especially when it came to Travis Kelce. The Chiefs’ tight end has been a nightmare for the Raiders for years, and Sunday night was no different. He is one of the best tight ends in NFL history, and he looked the part with his eight catches for 119 yards. The Raiders couldn’t cover him at all as he decimated the Vegas defense.
The Raiders’ defense simply couldn’t get off the field. The Chiefs were nine of 15 on third down. However, they were also 3-3 on fourth down attempts. That’s right; the defense failed on 12 out of 15 chances to stop the Chiefs’ drives. Yuck.
2021 feels like another lost season for the Silver and Black, unfortunately. Although at least this time, it’s more understandable given the outside factors this year. The funniest thing is the Raiders are still a .500 team. It just feels like a lost cause after these last two games and the difficult schedule ahead.
The one thing Las Vegas could not afford to let happen was to be demolished in that game. They needed to put up a fight and at least be competitive after such a rotten game against the New York Giants last week. Instead, they made last week’s dysfunction seem like just an appetizer, with the blowout loss to the Chiefs being the main course.
Now, fans have to hope that the Raiders don’t make it a 3-course meal of trash football and decide to skip dessert next week against the Bengals. Then again, after the outrageousness of the 2021 season so far, who the hell knows, right?
Not All Is Lost!
In actuality, at 5-5 and one game behind in the division, the season is far from over. The feeling of doom surrounding the team right now can dissipate as quickly as it has arrived. A win against the Bengals would go a long way towards stopping this free fall they have entered into anyway.
Can Rich Bisaccia stop his team from free-falling? It’d take a hell of a coaching effort, that’s for sure. Hopefully, he can; if so, this team is still capable of a playoff push. That doesn’t seem very realistic given the current state of this team, but stranger things have happened.
Stranger things than that have already happened this season. Why stop now, Raiders? You might as well keep Raider Nation on their toes. Let’s do another loop on this crazy roller coaster ride of a season.
*Top Photo: Associated Press/David Becker