Following the Las Vegas Raiders’ 23-18 loss on Sunday night to the Pittsburgh Steelers, all the discussion was on head coach Josh McDaniels’ decision to kick a late field goal instead of going for it inside the 10-yard line on fourth-and-4, down eight points. With Davante Adams being absolutely dominant and Josh Jacobs having his best showing of the year so far, many felt the Raiders should have taken the chance.
The Raiders obviously have the weapons, with Adams, Jacobs and receiver Jakobi Meyers all being productive. But with all three timeouts and the two-minute warning remaining, as well as a defense that had forced two straight three-and-outs, McDaniels felt the best move was to take the three points.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, as the Steelers were able to pick up a first down and basically run the clock out. But after the game, Jacobs defended McDaniels, noting how the Raiders defense was playing well at that point, via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez:
“I agree with what Coach did,” said Jacobs, who rushed for a season-high 62 yards on 17 carries. “The defense was starting to play good at the end of the game. We could have got the ball back with time to score.”
Had the defense been able to force a third straight three-and-out, the Raiders would have been in business, especially with how well Adams was performing. But unlike Jacobs, the star receiver chose not to join in the discussion on McDaniels’ field goal choice:
Said Adams, who had 13 catches for 172 yards and two TDs: “I don’t like getting into that. That’s not a good look for me. I’m a receiver.”
It definitely was an unfortunate outcome in a game the Raiders were really looking to win, especially in their home opener against the longtime rival Steelers. Those types of decisions are always very difficult to make, and sometimes they work in your favor, and sometimes it doesn’t.
McDaniels did what he felt was best for the team to come out with a victory, and in this instance, it didn’t work out. The Raiders coach insists it wasn’t a matter of not having faith in his offense to come through in that moment, but others would disagree.
Nonetheless, the Raiders will need to get things figured out as they have a huge division matchup in Week 4 on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. Hopefully, McDaniels can continue to get Jacobs and Adams going, so the Raiders won’t need late points to get the victory.