Have you had enough heartbreak yet? First, the blind-siding trade of Khalil Mack. Then, the “get-your-hopes-up” first half on Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams, quickly followed by the “we-should-have-won” week against the Denver Broncos, only to be tailed by yet another back-breaker against the Miami Dolphins. It has just been one of those seasons for Jon Gruden and company, but with 13 games yet to come, now’s not the time to feel sorry for themselves.
Five observations from Sunday’s loss:
Unbelievable Stat Of The Year
#Raiders have not trailed for any snap in the first 3 quarters this season but are 0-3
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) September 24, 2018
Amari? Amari? Hello?
Raise your hand if you were like me in assuming that Week 2’s 10-catch performance from Amari Cooper was a sign that things had been figured out. Whelp, guess not.
Yes, there were five targets (still better than Week 1), but only two catches for 17 yards in a game in which they desperately needed him just isn’t acceptable. If the Raiders are going to turn things around, it’s going to need to involve Cooper.
Derek Carr: Taking Shots
This applies in two senses: first, he got beat up pretty good on Sunday (case in point: his second interception he got smashed by Cameron Wake) and second: he was more aggressive than we’ve seen all season.
My big takeaway was the aggression — which was also clearly on display on interception No. 2. You simply can’t turn the ball over there in that situation, but part of me likes the aggression. Carr had his receiver (Martavis Bryant) in one-on-one coverage and he threw it up for grabs. Sure, it was a bit underthrown, but I think Carr needs way more help from his receivers on throws like this one.
Not So Special Teams
Mike Nugent aside, the Raiders special teams have been pretty brutal. Dwayne Harris had two kick returns of 18 and 21 yards and a punt return of 11 yards — basically, the definition of average. Punter Johnny Townsend was the worst of the bunch, though, with his final two punts totaling 58 yards — a number Raiders fans are used to seeing on one kick.
In games that are so close and where the margins are so razor thin, all of these things matter and so far this group hasn’t helped.
Can I Get A Turnover?
Last season, the Raiders forced just 14 turnovers — which placed them among the worst teams in the league. With a new defensive coordinator around, the hope was that things would change — but so far they haven’t. Through three games, the Raiders have forced one turnover (they’re one of just three teams in the league not to recover a fumble yet).