When I said the Las Vegas Raiders needed a complete team effort against the Arizona Cardinals, I didn’t mean a complete team losing effort. But hey, at least the Silver and Black did something together, no?
The Raiders’ complete collapse that cratered them in an absolutely stunning 29-23 overtime loss to the visiting Cardinals is the closest Josh McDaniels’ football team has come to doing something together as one. Now, that line would read better if it was “together as won,” but the McDaniels’ Raiders clearly need to learn how to get a W.
The 20-0 halftime lead was the largest blown lead in Raiders’ franchise history. It left Raider Nation feeling like that poor dude who witnessed Brock Lesnar end the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania 30. The fanbase was left so discombobulated by the catastrophic collapse it offered absolution to player(s) or aspects of the Raiders game that didn’t deserve a pardon. The absence of complementary football is evidence of one thing: every Raider deserves to be blamed for that atrocious performance.
From McDaniels down to everyone on the coaching staff. Also, everyone from franchise quarterback Derek Carr to Maxx Crosby and every player on the roster. Each had a hand in the loss; there’s no absolving anyone. (Although I’d entertain clemency for kicker Daniel Carlson, punter A.J. Cole and long snapper Trent Sieg, as the special team’s aces did their part).
Determining who's to blame for the #Raiders 29-23 OT loss be like:#RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/S8Xc3JqESh
— Ray Aspuria (@AsukalAspuria) September 19, 2022
The Raiders couldn’t keep up with the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray
Leave it to Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murrayâ€”who became the roadrunner in the second half and treated the Raiders defense like it was Wile E. Coyoteâ€”to succinctly provide the difference between Arizona and Las Vegas in the second half of Sunday’s clash.
“The defense just kept getting stops. We’ve got to play complementary football and they kept getting stops, and we’ve got to have their back,” Murray said in the postgame press conference. “This was a complete team effort today. I am just proud of how we fought and proud to be able to come here and get a W against a great team.”
Murray was spot on — and also quite generous with the “great team” to describe the haphazard Raiders. As for where the Cardinals persevered and came together as a team, the Raiders still need to learn how to do that, says McDaniels.
“First of all, it is two games. Every game is important, so we have a lot of things we’re going to be able to learn from,” the head coach said. “We have to start learning and winning at the same time. That’s important for us. We’ll be able to learn something from this as well, no question about it.”
Who's the most disappointing team in the NFL so far? @stephenasmith thinks it's the Raiders ðŸ‘€ pic.twitter.com/iKgnVhUGeu
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 19, 2022
Josh McDaniels was pressed for a clearer answer…
Pressed further on exactly what happened to his football team, McDaniels didn’t waver. He wasn’t going to pin it on anything in particular, whether it be mental or physical. He just needs his entire team to finish.
“No, we have a lot of veteran players that have won a lot of games. The reality of the National Football League is that the game is never over until it’s over,” the coach began. “They have good coaches and good players, and they’re going to continue to fight and play. We did the same thing last week; we were behind and we kind of tried to catch up. I thought that was a theme this week in the NFL. It seemed like there were a lot of people that were behind and then came back and won.”
“You have to learn to play with the lead; you have to learn to play when you’re behind. It’s not the same feeling on the sideline, but you can’t relax and hope that we have enough. I didn’t sense that we were like that at halftime, but we certainly didn’t coach and play as well as we could have and should have in the second half to try to put it away.”
Carr, too, was asked what changed offensively in the second half after the Raiders’ offensive dominance in the first. The Raiders quarterback noted film study needs to occur, but the team will likely see one thing here or there that could’ve changed the outcome of severely impotent drives — chief among them a three-and-out that featured a trio of incomplete passes and only took nine seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter.
According to Derek Carr, it’s all about the details, or at least one of them.
“It’s just one thing, one detail, that we talked about over and over again, and if we would just do it right, all the time. That’s easier said than done. It takes years; it takes time,” Carr said. “It takes all that kind of stuff to do it. But that’s the demand, and that’s what it is. We’re going to watch it, and it’s going to be hard for some guys. It’s going to be hard for everybody. Last week was hard for me to watch, but the more that we can take it â€” with me being optimistic â€” this crap isn’t over.”
“We feel crappy right now, but we are still a good football team. Making sure we keep that mindset, not, ‘Oh no, it’s over.’ I’ve been doing this for a while, man. I know we have good guys that work hard and care, so I know that we can pull ourselves out of it, but it’s going to take us doing it the right way.”
The atmosphere in the Raiders’ locker room was steeped in disappointment. That’s to be expected. Especially with high expectations within the confines of Raiders’ facilities and amongst Raider Nation. An 0-2 start to the 2022 campaign, especially after a 20-0 lead at halftime, is a faceplant no one saw coming until it actually did.
“It’s tough,” Maxx Crosby told the media throng. “It’s super frustrating. We can’t dwell on it. That’s the NFL. S*** happens. We just have to keep improving.”
Remember that one time…
What wasn’t expected, though, was the offense grinding to an absolute halt. Which harkens back to this gem that filled the most ardent DC4 fans with immense pride: Remember the press conference where Carr told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez to pump the brakes on the reporter’s line of questions?
Who knew the quarterback would have a hand in pumping the brakes on the Raiders offense? Just two games in, and this Raiders season is chalk full of plot twists.
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*Top Photo: Official Raiders YouTube Channel