I have to admit, Raider Nation, I have never not wanted to write an article more than I don't want to write this one. I'm supposed to pick out four winners and four losers here, but all I want to do is curl up into a ball and die. Still, I am a professional and the world is not ending. I will sack up and do my best. Away we go.
1) The Raiders secondary
I am well aware that on both of the Colts' touchdowns, the receivers were wide open. Those sort of breakdowns in coverage are inexcusable. But going into the game, the big worry was Indianapolis' small, speedy receivers. I didn't hear much from them. I heard T.Y. Hilton's name once. I didn't hear Philip Dorsett's name at all. When Andrew Luck had a big pass completion, it was to a tight end. Both starting safeties had an interception. Chalk this one up as a win for the Raiders' back line.
2) Raiders running backs
The Raiders were able to run wild against the Colts defense today. The Raiders rushed for 210 yards, led by DeAndre Washington with 99 and two touchdowns on the ground. Jalen Richard rushed for 66 yards, and also caught three passes for 13 yards and a touchdown. Latavius Murray was least effective, but his size and speed never let the Colts get comfortable. These three perfectly complement each other, and each week it seems we have a new debate on which one is the best. They're all really good.
3) Andrew Luck
Yes, he threw two picks. Yes, he lost the game. But Luck did everything in the face of vicious pressure from the Raiders, who were in Luck's face all day. He got rid of the ball when it seemed hopeless for him to do so and he didn't take a sack. He threw for two scores and ran for another. It's not his fault his defense sucks.
4) Matt McGloin
After the soul-crushing injury to Derek Carr, Matt McGloin came in and was not terrible. He led the offense through what was intentionally clock-draining time, and made some key throws. He looked nowhere near as lost as he did against the Bengals last year or the Chiefs this year. If the Raiders are going to do anything from here on out, McGloin needs to be at the top of his game. He has the full backing of Raider Nation.
1) The Colts' defense
The Colts are not known for being a good defense, and haven't even been a competent one since the heyday of Bob Sanders. But this was a pathetic display, even for them. The Raiders threw over and around them and ran right through them. They did nothing good. Even the one time they got a hand on Derek Carr, now everyone hates them for it. Andrew Luck deserves better.
2) Seth Roberts
This is a reminder that Seth Roberts was an undrafted free agent that nobody else wanted and he's a slot receiver who is prone to braindead errors. Not only did Roberts allow a defender to strip him of the ball in the end zone, he dropped numerous other passes and committed a penalty on the drive where Derek Carr got injured. Roberts can be very good, but this was not one of those days.
3) Chuck Pagano
Pagano tried to pull another "Swinging gate" trick against the Raiders in the first quarter, calling for a fake field goal with no score in the game. It didn't work, and the Colts trailed for pretty much the entire game. Pagano couldn't motivate his defense to stop the run, nor his offensive line to keep rushers out of Andrew Luck's field of vision. Pagano likes to beat up on the dregs of the AFC South, but against quality teams, he is exposed as a hack.
4) The hopes, dreams, and Christmas spirit of Raider fans
This year was our year. Things were going to be different. We were going to beat the Steelers, Patriots and Cowboys in the playoffs and reclaim our seat at the head of the table. And then Derek Carr broke his leg. I hope you're doing alright in your Christmas of white, but I'll have a blue, blue Christmas.