Raiders Blog

How Good Or Bad Is The Raiders Defense Following The Bye Week?

The Las Vegas Raiders are 1-4 after passing the quarter mark of the 2022 season. As a result, everyone’s fingers are inching closer to the panic button. Fans and pundits alike are looking for someone to blame, and all too often it is the defense.

30-minute men

For 30 minutes at a time, this Raiders defense can be the fiercest in the league, capable of doing no wrong. Inversely, they are also capable of free diving beyond the depths of the Mariana Trench. Why is that?

Typically, the reasons differ on a game-by-game basis, with no two games being exactly alike. Early in the game, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s game plan was either rock solid and completely neutralized the players’ schemes, or he made a series of changes on the fly at halftime.

One thing that can’t be overlooked is the clutch factor the defense has displayed coming down the stretch. In all five games this season, the defense has gotten off the field in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. As a result, they provided the offense with enough time to make something happen. In all four losses, the offense had an opportunity to finish the game.

Where is the Raiders’ defense falling short?

How is the Raiders’ defense falling short? According to Pro Football Reference, redzone defense has been an area of opportunity for the Raiders defense, and that’s being kind. Opposing teams are scoring a league-best 82.4 percent of their trips into the Raiders’ redzone, with 14 of 17 trips ending in six points.

As a whole, there have been 17 touchdowns on defense, which is sixth-most, and the 130 total points allowed are 14th-most. Getting off the field on third and fourth downs has been better. With 40 percent of third downs converted, the defense is currently in the middle of the pack (16th). Yet, they’re above average (19th) when it comes to stopping opponents on fourth down.

The Raiders’ pass rush has underperformed despite the resources allocated to it. Regardless of Chandler Jones being picked up and re-signing Maxx Crosby, the Raiders have the second-least sacks in the league (8), the third-least QB hits (23) and the sixth-least tackles for a loss (20). Crosby leads the way with six sacks, but past that, the Raiders only have two more. Jones seems to have been paid a lot to be a soft pass rusher who doesn’t bother the quarterback.

Texans vs. Raiders: 3 Notable Stats Ahead Of NFL Week 7

Some pleasant surprises for the Raiders

Stats can be misleading, and the Raiders’ pass defense is all over the place when you look at them. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging a rating of 106.7 and a completing percentage of 68.5 of their passes against them. Both are amongst the bottom five teams in the league.

The Raiders’ heavily scrutinized passing defense has been thoroughly disrespected. They have been very solid and are a vast improvement over last year’s defense. In five games, the Raiders have allowed the eighth-least completions (122) and are 15th in yards after the catch (630), 18th in air yards (718), and 19th in passing yards (1,280).

On the ground, the numbers may be skewed due to the bye week. Nevertheless, the Raiders have allowed the fewest rushing yards (516), the fewest yards per carry (4.0), and the fewest rushing touchdowns (five) in the league. There are definitely some silver linings for the Silver and Black moving forward.

*Top Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal

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