The Las Vegas Raiders are reeling.
They have lost three straight games and they’ve been outscored by a total of 73-27 at Allegiant Stadium in the past two weeks. Can the season be saved? Who knows ...
Let’s look at five keys we learned from their 32-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals as they fell to 5-5.
Carr, offense flounders again:
After the game, Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr said the offense came out “flat” and it was “terrible.” He wasn’t lying. The Raiders’ offense sagged once again. This unit is out of sync. The malaise started early after they were given the ball at the Bengals’ 9-yard line in their first drive thanks to a turnover. They had to settle for a field goal. Las Vegas scored just one touchdown and converted on third down just once for the second straight game. They are 2-for-16 on third down in the past two games. That’s brutal.
#Raiders had 1 3rd down conversion for 2nd straight game. That makes 1st time since at least 1991 they converted 1 or fewer in back-to-back games. They had done it twice total from 2013-20 before the past 2 weeks— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) November 22, 2021
Carr committed two more turnovers in the fourth quarter. He has six turnovers during the three-game losing streak.
#Raiders out of sync, says Derek Carr pic.twitter.com/9sggTQJIBt— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) November 22, 2021
Coaching change likely needed:
Of course, there is still time for the Raiders to turn their season around and make the playoffs, but currently this team is in shambles and it’s starting to look like interim head coach Rich Bisaccia won’t (or shouldn’t be) in the mix for the full-time job after the season. The Raiders were 3-2 under former coach Jon Gruden and are now 2-3 under Bisaccia, who is a head coach for the first time. Bisaccia left some time outs on the table in the first half and there were some odd offensive calls Sunday. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is still doing a decent job, but the rest of the staff is struggling.
Where are the receivers?
The Raiders’ offense clearly misses the element that Henry Ruggs III gave it. The offense has been in a funk in the three games since his release and it shows. Las Vegas receivers had a total of five receptions Sunday with slot man Hunter Renfrow getting four catches and starter Zay Jones getting one. Fellow starter Bryan Edwards had no catches for the second time in three games. Since Ruggs’ release Edwards and Jones (the starters) have a total of six catches. DeSean Jackson, who was signed to take Ruggs’ speed role, had no catches and one carry for four yards against the Bengals. This type of production is not going to work,
Ngakoue has another big game:
There was a bright spot for Las Vegas: Raiders’ pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue has been on a torrid streak. He has all sevens of his 2021 sacks since Week 5. He also had another sack negated by a penalty on Sunday. On the first drive of the game, Ngakoue sacked Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, causing him to fumble. The Raiders turned it into a field goal. Ngakoue has 20 forced fumbles since entering the NFL in 2016. It is tied for the most in the NFL in that time span with former Raider Khalil Mack and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt, according to the Associated Press.
The Raiders put themselves in a big hole with bad, untimely penalties in the first half. Ngakoue, defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Facyson (who otherwise had a strong game) all committed huge penalties in the first half that led to all of the Bengals’ 10 points in the half. Penalties have been a season-long issue for Las Vegas.