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Sensations, frustrations and declarations of the Raiders 20-16 Week 15 loss

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After a devastating end to their tenure in Oakland, let’s look at what went right, what went wrong, and what’s next

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

After a devastating 20-16 loss in the Coliseum finale to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, this Raiders team has some serious soul-searching to do between now and next season when they set up shop in Las Vegas.

After a heartbreaker like that, it’s hard to pick yourself up and find the positives. But there undoubtedly were some great performers during this one that need to be recognized. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this week’s highs and lows, and make a few predictions of what’s to come.

Sensations:

Raider Nation

Fans poured their heart and soul out today at the Coliseum from start to finish. It’s so tough to say goodbye, especially after a loss like that, but Raider Nation gave it their all and had a massive impact on the game.

The pulsating screams coming from the stands flustered the Jaguars offense and gave Oakland’s defense confidence through the first half. Heading into halftime, the Jaguars had rushed for just 10 yards on 8 carries and Gardner Minshew was an atrocious 3-for-10 passing.

Then, at the end of the game, fans did everything they could to get onto the field and grab a piece of the Coliseum field. The determination and willingness to be arrested is commendable, and also very on-brand for Raider Nation. Booing Derek Carr and throwing things on the field is too. It’s never easy saying goodbye to a loved one, or a team for that matter. Getting taken off the field in handcuffs is a good way to make sure your last moments with the team you love are memorable.

Darren Waller

Waller dominated the Jaguars’ linebackers and safeties, and even had some success against their No. 1 CB A.J. Bouye. He racked up 5 catches for 86 yards in the first quarter alone before finishing with 8 catches and 122 yards.

Late in the first quarter, Rich Gannon said, “You can’t have a linebacker covering a receiver, and that’s what (Waller) is.”

Gannon is right; Waller, a converted collegiate receiver, is simply too fast to be covered by linebackers and too big for most defensive backs. He went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark today and should be a surefire Pro Bowler.

Trayvon Mullen

With the Raiders missing starting cornerback Daryl Worley, Mullen was thrust into a No. 1 CB role and delivered some promising results.

Aside from a bullshit pass interference call and a few completions allowed, Mullen was on fire all game and has cemented his status as a building block in the secondary. The rookie second-round pick had a flurry of pass breakups, made some great open-field tackles and stepped up big all game.

Oakland’s secondary has been entirely decimated by injuries, with Lamarcus Joyner the lone opening day starter in the secondary to take a single snap against Jacksonville. Due to the myriad of woes in the secondary, Mullen has had to grow up fast, and he seems to be growing quickly. After his worst performance of the season against the Titans, he proved he had a short memory and performed well all night.

Frustrations:

Abysmal OL play

Brandon Parker was frankly atrocious, and it would shocking if he remains on the team next season.

Starting in relief of injured stud Trent Brown, Parker got blown up routinely by Josh Allen, Yannick Ngakoue, and seemingly any Jaguars defensive linemen he was assigned to block. But it wasn’t just Parker who struggled out there. Kolton Miller looked like his rookie self, while Richie Incognito had his worst performance of the season as well.

If not for Jacksonville’s 6 tackles for loss in the first half (they had 8 total on the day), the Raiders offense would’ve put up a lot more than 16 points in the first half. That didn’t seem like the end of the world as the Raiders jumped out to a 16-3 halftime lead, but it sure as hell came back to bite them in the ass by the end of regulation.

Play-calling woes

Jon Gruden can’t blame this one on the defense. They performed quite well before crumbling in the waning moments. He should instead look in the mirror and think about how his poor play-calling has negatively affected this offense over the past few weeks.

For the second straight week, the Raiders failed to score in the second half as they let the game completely slip away. The Raiders were dominating the Jaguars with a 19-2 lead in first downs in the middle of the third quarter, and it thereafter it seemed like Gruden was ready to pack it in offensively as he schemed up short pass after short pass.

Then, at the worst possible time, the coach abandoned his conservative approach. With 1:52 left in the fourth quarter and the Raiders facing a 3rd and 11, Gruden called a pass play that stopped the clock and gave the Jaguars additional time to march downfield.

This loss doesn’t fall solely on Gruden or offensive coordinator Greg Olson by any means, but they’re lying to themselves if they don’t think they deserve a heavy dose of the blame.

Their halftime adjustments have been atrocious as of late, and cutting more defensive players isn’t going to solve that problem.

Butterfingers

How many times are Raider receivers going to drop passes in critical situations? The equipment manager should go out and buy some stickum ASAP.

Tyrell Williams’ critical third down drop stands out as a true turning point of the game, and the mounting drops have deteriorated the trust that Carr has tried to build with his receivers.

Coming into this game, the Raiders’ overall drop rate was actually 6th best in the entire NFL according to Sports Info Solutions, but many of those drops have come at decisive, game-changing moments.

From now on, the Raiders should consider sure-handedness the most important trait in their receivers. Or, at least sure-handedness in clutch situations.

Declarations:

  • The Raiders split their remaining two games and finish 7-9
  • Brandon Parker doesn’t make it out of training camp in 2020
  • Darren Waller wins Comeback Player of the Year