The Las Vegas Raiders were ahead 20-0 at halftime against the Arizona Cardinals, and the team looked to cruise to an easy victory over an overmatched team. However, the Cardinals were able to claw back into the game and win in overtime in what would be one of the most crushing and embarrassing defeats in recent team history.
I thought we got off to a good start. I thought we tried to play the game the right way out, ran out of gas a little bit on defense, and played a lot of plays in the second half. “A big part of that was we really couldn’t establish much offensively in terms of rhythm in the third and fourth quarter, and kind of left our defense out there a little bit,” said Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels after the game.
It’s no surprise that the Raider defense ran out of gas late in the game, as Arizona ran a whopping 59 plays in the second half. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray personally accounted for 252 yards after halftime and used his legs to make plays all over the field and wear the Raider defense down after it had stymied him in the first two quarters of play.
Raiders News: What led to the Cardinals having the ball so much?
A big reason the Cardinals had the ball so much was that the Raiders were unable to sustain drives in the second half, going only 1-for-5 on third down. The team also committed 10 penalties for 68 yards, including several drive-killers and plays that extended Cardinals drives.
“I thought, overall, we just didn’t produce on early downs the way we did in the first half. We skipped a lot of third down situations in the first half on the scoring drives, and we had a few third down and longs that we convert in the first half, but then in the second half, when you try to live like that – converting 3rd and 12, 3rd and 13, 3rd and 14, 3rd and 11 – it’s tough to do that on a consistent basis. We’ll have to look at what we didn’t do as well, in the second half, specifically; at the end of the day, we didn’t produce much on early downs, and we found ourselves trying to convert a lot of third and longs,” said McDaniels.
Arizona’s adjustments to take away Raiders WRs Davante Adams and Mack Hollins in the second half brought Vegas’ offense to a halt, and though Derek Carr targeted Hunter Renfrow several times in overtime, Renfrow fumbled twice, including during the final play where Byron Murphy returned the fumble for the game-winning touchdown.
Thus far, the Raiders have played a good second half against the Chargers and a great first half against the Cardinals but have yet to put in a dominant full-game effort under McDaniels. That must change if the Raiders look to win a tough road game at Tennessee in Week 3.
*Top Photo: Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sports Wire via Getty Images