Chandler Jones’ amazing last-second touchdown gave the Las Vegas Raiders victory over the New England Patriots. Josh McDaniels now leads his all-time matchup with Bill Belichick, his former boss, 2-0. Regardless of the fact that McDaniels collected the victory, he did little to help the Raiders’ offense, which once again struggled. Let’s analyze the Raiders’ play-calling in their matchup against the Patriots.
Raiders HC Josh McDaniels got lucky in the first halfÂ
The Raiders’ offense appeared stronger in the first half compared to the second half for the second game in a row. They gained possession of the ball first and made a field goal attempt by Daniel Carlson. The Raiders’ offense was uninspired throughout their ensuing offensive possession, as they were forced to punt the ball away. The following possession saw the Raiders offense respond with their best drive of the half. A combination of run and pass plays allowed them to drive down the field with ease. Darren Waller and Derek Carr later connected for a 25-yard touchdown, a positive sign for Raiders fans. The Raiders’ offense then reverted to its true selves in the subsequent drive, stalling out and being forced to punt.
Even though we’re talking about play calling, let’s talk about McDaniels’ poor clock management. The Raiders’ defense forced the Patriots to punt. But instead of stopping the clock to get the ball back with more time, McDaniels decided to stay put. Malcolm Koonce, fortunately for McDaniels, blocked the Patriots’ punt, giving his offense excellent field position. Carr delivered a five-yard touchdown throw to Mack Hollins for the Raiders offense to capitalize. It’s impressive to score 17 points in one half against a strong defense, but let’s see if McDaniels is able to maintain that in the second half.
The worst second-half play caller in the league resides in Las Vegas
Pick six, punt, punt, punt, punt, and punt were the Raiders’ possessions prior to the game-tying touchdown drive. The Raiders offense amassed 36 total yards over those six opportunities, a wonderful job by McDaniels. Yeah, right.
And it was the same old thing. McDaniels tried to force feed Josh Jacobs on early downs and then called an intermediate route short of the first-down market on third downs, and he started to become predictable. McDaniels’ offense was being read by the Patriots like a book, but he wouldn’t adjust. It’s such a frustrating cycle with McDaniels; it occurs almost weekly. It shouldn’t happen, but Davante Adams finished the game as the Raider with the fourth-most receiving yards. McDaniels must understand that he has one of the best in the industry and that he needs targets.
We can credit McDaniels for the drive that tied the game. The Raiders got the ball back with around two minutes remaining in the game. In order to buy time, McDaniels did the proper thing by attacking the sidelines. Furthermore, Carr’s toss to Keelan Cole to tie the score was a wise decision because the Patriots weren’t anticipating the Raiders to target Cole in the closing moments. The Raiders performed better when there was a sense of urgency, so McDaniels needs to quit being cautious. More importantly, his offense needs to finish these games. The Raiders’ coach is lucky that Jones saved him; now get this play calling together.
*Top Photo: NBC Sports/Boston