Most Thursday Night Football games this season have been duds and this one didn’t disappoint. For most of the contest, Las Vegas held the lead, but the Los Angeles Rams ended up putting together a last-minute winning drive that help them win 17-16.
Right off the bat, the Raiders got their two best offensive players involved. Davante Adams only caught one pass for a 32-yard gain. It was a pretty electrifying catch though. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey tried to do his best to keep up with the All-Pro wide receiver, but it was futile. Running back Josh Jacobs also had a big workload, toting the rock seven times for 21 yards with one touchdown.
The Raiders’ offense stalled in Los Angeles’ red zone, but Jacobs punched the ball in for a one-yard touchdown. They weren’t as successful on their following drive, but they still managed to make a field goal. Daniel Carlson was his reliable self and nailed his 52-yard attempt. Las Vegas’ third offensive possession wasn’t much different. They drove down the field all the way until the Rams’ 13-yard line but had to settle for a field. Still, three points is better than none, so the Raiders gladly took them.
The Raiders’ defense kept the Rams in check in the 1st half
On defense, Las Vegas had no trouble stymieing the Rams. Sure, Baker Mayfield was making his first start but was somehow proficient. Nevertheless, defensive end Maxx Crosby and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery often caused disruption at the line of scrimmage. Crosby was unstoppable for most of the game and registered four total tackles, two tackles for a loss, and a sack.
Before the end of the second quarter, the Raiders once again got into Rams territory. Adams again beat Ramsey for a 35-yard reception that got them to Los Angeles’ 15-yard line. Unfortunately, Derek Carr threw an interception, but it wasn’t his fault. Offensive guard Dylan Parham bumped into him at the time of the throw. Still, the Raiders went into halftime up 13-3.
The Raiders took the foot off the pedal vs. the Rams
The Raiders’ defense started the second half with a bang. Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols registered a sack that got the Rams’ offense off rhythm and forced them to punt. But the offense couldn’t capitalize and ended up punting on their first possession. Things wouldn’t get much better for most of the third quarter. The offense got stuck on neutral and didn’t do much of note until the fourth quarter, when they got into Rams territory and Carlson once again made a field goal.
Safety Trevon Moehrig has regressed after a promising rookie campaign. In the third quarter, he was called for pass interference that helped the Rams get to Las Vegas’ 41-yard field goal. However, the Rams couldn’t seize the opportunity and weren’t able to do much. Kicker Matt Gay attempted a 61-yard field goal but was wide left.
The offense cooled down considerably in the second half. It’s possible that they let the defense take care of business, as the Rams weren’t able to move the ball effectively. But that strategy turned out to be costly. Baker Mayfield put together an eight-yard, 98-yard drive that ended on a 23-yard touchdown catch to wide receiver Van Jefferson.
With nine seconds left in the game, Carr attempted a desperation throw that landed on safety Tyler Rapp’s hands, effectively sealing the deal.
A conservative approach on defense doomed the Raiders
All things considered, Derek Carr played a solid game going 11-of-20 or 137 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Again, the first pick wasn’t his fault and the second one was in garbage time. Similarly, Jacobs came through, toting the rock 27 times for 99 yards and one touchdown. He left the game for a bit but ended up returning. Looking back, taking an approach in the second half came back to haunt the Raiders. Instead of sticking a fork in Las Vegas, they ended up playing not to lose. And for the fourth time this season, Las Vegas couldn’t hold onto a double-digit lead at halftime.
#Raiders are 0-3 this season when leading by double digits at halftime. That's their most losses ever in a season when leading by 10+ at halftime. Going back to 1930, no NFL team has lost 4 games in a season after leading by 10+ at halftime.
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 9, 2022
Following their loss over Los Angeles, the Raiders are now 5-8. With four games left in the 2022 season, they’re most likely out of the playoff race. They had the chance to get to .500 for the time this season but squandered it.
*Top Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times