Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders’ Second-Half Play Calling Was Their Undoing Again

On national television, the Las Vegas Raiders once again collapsed, this time against the Los Angeles Rams. Let’s just call this unobjectionably: Josh McDaniels is to blame for Thursday’s loss. Despite calling some excellent games during the recent three-game streak, McDaniels has had more flops than successes. McDaniels was hired to revitalize the Raiders’ offense but failed once again. Let’s analyze how the offensive play-calling fared against the Rams in each half.

The Raiders scored points in the first half, but it wasn’t enough to put it away.

The Raiders got the ball first against the Rams, and McDaniels called a good first drive. In order to match up against Jalen Ramsey on the drive’s first third down, McDaniels had Davante Adams shift across the line. Carr threw the ball up, and Adams caught it with one hand in a spectacular catch. McDaniels dialed up a screen pass to Ameer Abdullah in the following third, and it resulted in a first down. To cap the drive, Josh Jacobs scored a touchdown on a one-yard run.

On the following Raiders offensive drive, things start to get dicey. As the Rams weren’t focusing on him, McDaniels fed Mack Hollins, and it was effective. But during a pivotal third down at the Rams’ 36-yard line, McDaniels had to call a timeout as there was confusion on the play call. You would anticipate McDaniels to have a good play call to move the chains after a timeout, wouldn’t you? Well, McDaniels opted to call a draw play, and the Rams read it correctly and forced the Raiders to take a field goal.

On the following possession, the Raiders again settled for a field goal. McDaniels and Carr had the Raiders rolling down the field on the last drive of the first half. In an effort to score before halftime, the Raiders were in the red zone. Carr was under pressure when he threw a high, arching pass that Ernest Jones intercepted in the end zone. The two worst mistakes made by McDaniels in this half were his lack of aggression on the two drives that resulted in field goals and his overfeeding of Jacobs (considering he was on the injury report all week).

The second half looked like it was called by a toddler.

McDaniels’ first two drives of the second half ended in two punts, indicating that he figured a 13-3 advantage was safe. Aggression, which has previously cost him games, was not present. But let’s check to see if anything changed for the remainder of the half. The Raiders were in excellent field position since the Rams missed a long field goal attempt. During this drive, McDaniels ran the ball six times. The Raiders once again opted for a field goal instead of trying to put this game away. The Rams scored a touchdown on their subsequent drive to trim the Raiders’ lead to 16-10.

With the chance to win the game, the Raiders now had the ball. The Rams stopped the first-down play because they anticipated a run. The Raiders were subsequently in a third-and-short position after Jacobs gained eight yards on the second down. The Rams defense once more stuffed Jacobs after McDaniels made the decision to line him up as a fullback in an effort to trick them. When there was a chance to win the game, McDaniels lost his mind and made one of the worst decisions of the game. The Rams then received the ball back from the Raiders offense, who ultimately scored to win the game. It is unacceptable to score three points in the second half.

The Raiders’ offense completely stalled…

The Raiders offense threw an interception and punted three times in the second half, which is truly disgusting. Despite the fact that Jacobs had an injury coming into this game and later picked it up again, McDaniels gave him 27 carries. Adams only having three catches on the night is not going to win you games. Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes that as a Raider, Adams has had fewer than four receptions in four games. McDaniels has failed to make adjustments and to stay aggressive in games, which has cost the Raiders.

*Top Photo: Yahoo Sports/NFL

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