The addition of Davante Adams was as good as advertised for the Las Vegas Raiders.
The issues on the offensive line and in the secondary also were what was expected and helped contribute to a season-opening 24-19 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
After making the playoffs last season thanks to a season-ending, nail-biting win over the Chargers, the Raiders went into this season hoping for even more success thanks in part to the addition of Adams, the No. 1 receiver that had been lacking.
Adams had 10 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown in his Raiders debut, getting targeted a league-high 17 times by his old college teammate Derek Carr.
But it wasn’t enough thanks to a mistake-filled performance by Carr, suspect pass blocking and a secondary that couldn’t slow down Justin Herbert and the Chargers.
”Learning how to win is not something you get to carry over from one year to the next, not as a coach or a team,” coach Josh McDaniels said Monday. ”That’s something you acquire through work, preparation and habits. I really believe that.”
The Raiders allowed six sacks and threw three interceptions – the first time that has ever happened to a team coached or coordinated by McDaniels – as the offense was held under 20 points.
The defense struggled slowing down the Chargers’ passing attack, allowing 8.2 yards per dropback for the third worst mark in the league headed into Monday night as the the pass rush and coverage both struggled.
Despite all that, the Raiders still had a chance to win late before Carr was sacked on back-to-back plays to end a potential go-ahead drive.
”This game is not a game of what-ifs,” McDaniels said. ”It’s a game of what happened.”
Run defense. While the Raiders struggled against the pass, they shut down Austin Ekeler and the running game to give the offense a chance at a comeback. The Chargers finished with 76 yards on 31 carries, an average of 2.5 yards. Maxx Crosby led the way for Las Vegas with one tackle for loss and seven other tackles on run plays.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Offensive line. The Raiders made little investment in the offensive line and it showed in the opener. Las Vegas allowed six sacks – including one of Adams on a trick play – as McDaniels tried to find a combination that worked. The Raiders rotated players on the right side with Jermaine Eluemunor and rookie Thayer Munford splitting the work at right tackle and Lester Cotton and Dylan Parham sharing the work at right guard.
”We’re not searching for anything,” McDaniels said. ”We’re playing the guys who deserve to play.”
CB Nate Hobbs. After a strong rookie season playing in the slot, Hobbs showed the versatility to play outside cornerback as well. Hobbs bounced back and forth between the two spots all game and fared well in coverage, allowing one catch all game.
Carr. He was off most of the game, missing a potential TD throw to Darren Waller on the first drive and underthrowing Adams on a deep pass to the end zone for one of his three interceptions. Carr also fumbled twice following two of his five sacks and often held onto the ball too long waiting for a play to develop. He finished 22 for 37 for 295 yards.
”There’s nothing more important than us taking care of the ball,” McDaniels said.
The Raiders placed CB Anthony Averett on injured reserve with a thumb injury. He will miss at least four weeks. Las Vegas claimed CB Javelin Guidry off waivers from the Cardinals. … McDaniels had no update on several others players who left the game with injuries: S Tre’von Moehrig (hip), LB Denzel Perryman (ankle), RB Brandon Bolden (hamstring), WR DJ Turner (ankle) and DT Andre Billings (undisclosed). … C Andre James, who went to the hospital after having a concussion on the Raiders’ final play, was back at the team facility Monday.
0. The Raiders had no sacks and no takeaways in the first game under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. It’s the first time they did that in a season opener since 2015 in Jack Del Rio’s first game as head coach.
The Raiders host Arizona in their home opener on Sunday, looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2018. The Raiders have never made the playoffs after losing their first two games.
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