Josh McDaniels, Raiders HC

Reviewing Offensive Play Calling From Josh McDaniels In Week 18

Following a 34-point outing against the league’s top defense, the Las Vegas Raiders offense had a 13-point outing. Although the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense is not bad, the Raiders’ offense’s regression was absurd. Josh McDaniels’ play calling will likely take the brunt of the criticism for why they dropped from almost 500 yards to only 279 yards against the Chiefs, but it wasn’t the main problem. Let’s analyze what went right and wrong for the Raiders’ offensive play calling against the Chiefs in each half.

Terrible first half put the Raiders in a hole.

The Raiders’ opening offensive drive wasn’t terrible; it ended with a field goal. Jarrett Stidham’s running generated most of the yards, but McDaniels also called some good plays. Thus, I wouldn’t characterize it as a failure. The subsequent drive ended in an interception, although McDaniels’ play-calling was not to blame for that. The Chiefs were successful in intercepting a jump ball that Stidham had thrown to Mack Hollins in double coverage. Stidham was entirely to blame for this, since his blind throw led to a turnover.

McDaniels’ best offensive drive of the half came on the Raiders’ third offensive drive. He gave the ball to his playmakers while allowing Stidham to generate yards with his legs. When the Raiders were down at the Chief’s two-yard line, McDaniels decided to go for it rather than attempt a field goal. No matter what happened, it was the right choice since the Chiefs were scoring at will and field goals weren’t going to be enough. In an act of spontaneity, Stidham tossed a ball to Davante Adams in the end zone, but it struck his hands. Adams ought to have caught it, but a Chiefs defender was also giving him a bear hug. Instead of gaining a first down and making four more attempts to score, the Raiders turned it over on downs.

When the Raiders recovered possession of the ball, they were behind 21-3. They still had two timeouts, and McDaniels called plays aggressively. That decision was wise since they needed to score to maintain their hopes. But this drive ended in failure because of penalties and Stidham’s fumble. Instead of scoring, the Chiefs recovered possession of the ball and kicked a field goal to increase their lead to 24-3 at the half. Although McDaniels’ play-calling wasn’t great, the Raiders’ offense had a very poor first half. In the second half, let’s see whether the Raiders offense can put together some productive drives.

Some improvements, but nothing special in the last half hour for Josh McDaniels.

The Raiders kicked a field goal on their first possession of the second half, just like they did on their first drive of the first. A strong drive but kicking field goals only might prevent a potential comeback. The next two Raiders offensive drives ended in punts for a combined 11 yards. This gave the impression that McDaniels was waving the white flag.

When the Raiders’ offense regained possession of the ball, they were behind 31-6. McDaniels had to now display some pride, which he did. He permitted Stidham to complete passes down the field, which gave the Raiders’ offense some momentum. The Raiders’ first touchdown of the game came on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Stidham to Hunter Renfrow. Even though the game was already over, their best drive of the game came way too late. Although they did receive the ball back, they were forced into a fourth-and-long situation because of penalties. To put an end to the offense’s day, Stidham took a sack.

According to ESPN, the Raiders’ offense finished the night with 279 yards at 4.2 yards per play. McDaniels’ offense had a rough day, but it wasn’t entirely his responsibility. Josh McDaniels’ play-calling wasn’t bad; it was that the team’s execution was just horrendous.

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*Top Photo: NBC Sports/Boston

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