Raiders Passing Game Review vs. Broncos

With their playoff hopes on the line, the Las Vegas Raiders faced the division rival Denver Broncos. Here is how the Las Vegas passing offense fared.

Renewing Acquaintances

As division rivals, these two teams are very familiar with each other and have already faced off in 2021. In that game, the Raiders’ passing game was exemplary as they won the matchup 34-24. Derek Carr threw for 341 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This game also does a great job of illustrating the amount of change the Raiders offense had experienced throughout 2021 as the scores were caught by Henry Ruggs III and Kenyan Drake. With Ruggs no longer on the team and Drake on IR, neither would be available for the rematch.

The Raiders also got the bad news that they would be without two other playmakers before this game. Firstly, star tight end Darren Waller was unable to return from the injury he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The passing offense has struggled immensely in his absence. They will hope he can return next week against the Indianapolis Colts. Then, hours before the game, wideout Bryan Edwards was put on the COVID-19 reserve list. After catching a touchdown last week against Cleveland, the Raiders were without him in this one.

Carr had a signature efficient day…

The Raiders’ passing offense struggled to really get going in this one. Carr was rather conservative again, but looked to push the ball when he needed to. In other words, he was efficient to the tune of 20 out of 25 for 201 passing yards, along with one touchdown and one interception. The highlight was, of course, the touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow. Early in the second quarter, Renfrow ran a corner route that got covered well by Denver but was perfectly placed by Carr for six. The connection between “4” and “13” has been prevalent all season and looks to be a factor for years to come.

The interception, however, was a poor play on many levels. With less than 30 seconds until halftime, the Raiders led 7-6. Rather than running out the clock and being happy with the lead, offensive coordinator Greg Olson dialed up a screen pass to Josh Jacobs. This did not go as planned, however, as Broncos pass-rusher Bradley Chubb leaped up to make an interception before returning it to the one-yard line. The Broncos would then punch it in for six and take the lead before halftime. Of course, 75% of this play can be chalked up to a fantastic play by the defender, but Carr still needs to just not throw this pass.

Going Forward

After having to carry the load for the bulk of the season, Carr got to watch his running game do the work throughout most of this one. Josh Jacobs turned in his first 100-yard game in what was truly a vintage performance. At 8-7, the Raiders have a tough test ahead with the Colts on the ledger this Sunday. If the Raiders can get Darren Waller back for this one, it will go a long way towards helping Carr and, in turn, Las Vegas’s playoff chances.

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*Top Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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