Raiders HC Josh McDaniels

Reviewing Josh McDaniels’ Play Calling In Week 17

500 yards of offense and 34 points should be enough to defeat any opponent. But the Las Vegas Raiders paid the price as they lost to the San Francisco 49ers after giving up 37 points. The Raiders were the first team, according to OptaStats, to lose five games in which they had a double-digit lead in the second half. In most cases, the offense is to blame, but not in this case. Despite their best efforts and a new starting quarterback, they were unsuccessful. This game’s play-calling was not an issue for Josh McDaniels. Let’s analyze McDaniels’ play-calling in regulation and overtime against the 49ers.

The first half was a masterclass by Raiders HC Josh McDaniels

McDaniels made sure to place Jarrett Stidham in favorable circumstances, and Stidham succeeded. Stidham was heavily utilized outside of the pocket to make plays, which resulted in success on the first drive. Stidham’s touchdown pass to Darren Waller from 24 yards out put the finishing touches on this incredible start and started the scoring spree. As if he were Tom Brady, Stidham directed the Raiders’ offense. He proceeded down the field while beating the league’s finest defense as if it were nothing. It’s possible that the 49ers defense was unprepared for Stidham and would awaken on the next drive.

Stidham then drove the Raiders 74 yards down the field, putting them in field-goal range. Then McDaniels and Stidham managed another lengthy drive, but McDaniels made a mistake this time. The Raiders were fourth and inches from the 49ers’ two-yard line. In addition, he decided against using Stidham in a quarterback sneak and called a slow-developing play. Josh Jacobs was stifled at the goal line by the 49ers defense, which resulted in a turnover on downs.

With little over two minutes remaining in the half, the Raiders then received the ball back. Additionally, given that Stidham was making his first career start, perhaps McDaniels would proceed cautiously. No, he trusted Stidham and gave him the go. The Raiders were advanced down the field by Stidham, who then connected with Davante Adams for a four-yard score. Adams’ toe-tap catch was even better than the throw, which was excellent. As a result, the Raiders scored 17 points in the first half against the league’s top defense. The Raiders’ first halves haven’t been problematic, but let’s see if Josh McDaniels is able to keep his offense performing at this level.

That was the Raiders’ best second half in a while

Early in the third quarter, the Raiders defense forced a punt, which gave the blazing-hot Raiders offense the ball back. And they started working again against the 49ers’ defense right away. Stidham completed a pass to Adams during a “scramble drill” while receiving a hit from numerous 49ers defenders. Adams took care of the rest, scoring from 60 yards out to give the Raiders a 24-14 lead. Things appeared to be going well, but the three offensive drives the Raiders had after that ended in a punt, an interception, and another punt. This allowed the 49ers to regain the lead, but this game was far from over.

Stidham’s two significant yardage gains with Foster Moreau put the Raiders in position for a field goal attempt. Daniel Carlson then did what he does best, kicking a 57-yard field goal to tie the score at 27. It was up to Stidham and the offense to tie this game after the 49ers responded with a touchdown. Stidham made a good gain on his first connection with Mack Hollins to open the drive. After that, he sent a deep pass to Adams, who made a spectacular catch to gain 45 yards. On the next play, Stidham attempted to connect with Waller, but Fred Warner grabbed hold of him and was penalized for defensive pass interference.

The Raiders were now in a good position at the one-yard line, and Jacobs took care of the rest by running unimpeded into the end zone to tie the game. It’s impressive that McDaniels’ Raiders offense scored 17 points in the second half against the 49ers defense; let’s see how they did in overtime.

Overtime left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths

Prior to overtime, A.J. Cole won the coin toss, which gave Stidham an opportunity to win the game. Jacobs received the first two touches from McDaniels, which led to a first down. McDaniels dialed up a play for Adams. Nick Bosa unfortunately pushed Kolton Miller into Stidham, which caused Stidham to throw an interception. If Stidham had one more second, Adams would’ve been open, thereby making the play call successful. The 49ers returned the interception to the Raiders’ seven-yard line, which set up Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal. Overall, despite the defeat, Stidham provided something. He extended play with his legs because he felt at ease in Josh McDaniels’ scheme. The Raiders may have something in Stidham; let’s see how he fares against the Kansas City Chiefs.

3 Knee-Jerk Reactions To 49ers vs. Raiders In NFL Week 17

*Top Photo: Nick Cammett/Getty Images

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