Well, that was a rough one. Nobody likes to see their favorite team choke a game away. Especially not when their team has already blown several leads this season and has dramatically underperformed. Unfortunately, Raider Nation had to watch that debacle on Thursday night. A “debacle” is also a good word to describe the Las Vegas Raiders’ receiving and passing game this week, which was virtually nonexistent. Be that as it may, Davante Adams still shone when he was given the opportunity.
Davante Adams Showed Out, But Lacked Targets
Once again, Davante Adams absolutely carried the Raiders’ passing game. It seems like this can be said every week, but whenever the Raiders find themselves in a tough situation, Adams remains the only receiver they can call on. Adams had another impressive game tonight, accumulating 71 yards on three catches, good enough for over 20 yards per catch.
Holy smokes. Davante Adams just made a one-handed grab going up against Jalen Ramsey. Absolutely filthy. pic.twitter.com/ap9phWOWtk
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 9, 2022
Adams once again played great, but he can only do so much. There’s been a theme throughout some of these disgusting Raiders’ losses: Adams inexplicably stops getting targets, which results in the offense as a whole starting to falter. Next thing you know, the Raiders have blown another double-digit lead. Whether Carr or McDaniels is to blame, it’s infuriating that the best receiver in the game isn’t getting the ball when the game is on the line.
The “Well, At Least They Showed Up” Category
Besides Adams, everyone else involved in the passing game can find themselves here.
Mack Hollins had some nice plays early in the game, but like the rest of the offense, he seemed to disappear as the game went on. Hollins finished the game with two catches for 22 yards and failed to make an impact in the second half.
Of course, when the offense gets conservative, Derek Carr loves to check it down to his running backs. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Ameer Abdullah and Josh Jacobs ended up as the third and fourth leading receivers. As running backs, neither should be disappointed with their receiving numbers, but they didn’t exactly fill up the stat sheet either. Both Abdullah and Jacobs finished with two catches. Abdullah was able to rack up 17 yards, while Jacobs managed just 15. Finally, rounding out the stat sheet, Keelan Cole and Jakob Johnson each had one catch, but neither made any sort of real impact in the game.
How Can the Raiders Fix This?
Las Vegas has a bad, bad trend of starting games well and then completely cratering into the abyss in the second half. They did it against the Arizona Cardinals, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and now the Rams. Why does this keep happening? What does it have to do with the Raiders’ passing game?
When the Raiders are at their best, they play free and fun football. Carr is tossing the ball up to Davante or Hollins, and Jacobs is running with ease. However, this can only happen if Josh McDaniels loosens up the playbook. Far too often, we see the play-calling become conservative.
When that happens, it’s like a bad movie that everyone has seen too many times, yet they just can’t escape it. The Raiders won three games in a row by opening up the offense and force-feeding Adams. By doing this, they were able to open up some space for the running game as well as free up space for Hollins and others. Unless Josh McDaniels wants to keep losing games, he absolutely must stray from his addiction to playing conservative football and get the ball into the hands of his best playmaker.
*Top Photo: Associated Press/David Becker