The Las Vegas Raiders are down but not out when it comes to the playoffs. However, after the 17-15 loss to Washington, it appears the season is over. The direction for the Raiders is going south after a promising start.
Let's deep dive into the numbers:
Carr plays well under pressure
Derek Carr is the talk of the town with the Raiders losing. The Raiders quarterback led an offense that only scored 15 points and will always blame the media. Where Carr did play well was under pressure.
According to PFF, Carr finished the game 6-7 under pressure, with a passer rating of 104.1. His YPA was his highest under duress since his play vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 2. Also, he used his legs to avoid pressure picking a first down on a 17-yard run. He was the highest-graded quarterback under pressure last week on PFF.
The former Fresno St. Bulldog is now fifth in PFF grade under pressure. He struggled in other areas, with him being 1/7 on deep passes of 20 yards or more. But the Raiders will need his play under pressure down the stretch with a foul, offensive line.
The defense struggles to be efficient
The Raiders defense is getting praise for holding Washington to 17 points, but they continue with their efficiency struggles. Washington was 7-13 on third down, allowing them to chew the clock and keep the offense off the field.
Since the bye week, the Raiders are 31st in EPA per play allowed. Before the bye week, they were ranked 12th to help the Raiders reach 5-2. Teams have been attacking the inside in the passing game to help them move the football and exploit the Raiders' weaknesses.
The exciting part is the run game isn't the issue; they are 13th vs. the run. The passing game is 31st and goes back to them not getting off the field on third down. Holding Taylor Heinicke to 17 points is good, but Patrick Mahomes has to be stopped on third down.
Interior offensive line struggles.
When the Raiders made a move for Alex Leatherwood to guard, it was supposed to elevate the run game. After the move, the team hasn't run the ball much, and Leatherwood is struggling in pass pro inside. Mix that fellow starter John Simpson and it creates an ugly day.
According to PFF, Simpson and Leatherwood allowed 7 of the ten pressures on the day. Washington designed their blitzes and stunts to attack the two young linemen and had success with two sacks. Interior pressure is a quarterbacks kryptonite, and Carr handled it well based on his numbers.
Simpson and Leatherwood had good performances against the Dallas Cowboys. When they face average talent, both hold their own. On the other hand, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne will give them issues until they improve their technique.
Nate Hobbs gets tested in coverage.
Nate Hobbs's rookie year has been a surprise, and he appears to be a steal in the 2021 draft. His blitzing and tackling ability has helped the Raiders stop the run and pass. Last Sunday was his first time facing real targets, and it led to an up-and-down day.
Wide receiver and tight ends saw four targets vs. Hobbs leading to four receptions and 41 yards. Hobbs gave up a big reception on the last drive that helped the Football Team secure the game-winning field goal. Adam Humphries gave him issues catching three passes and two first downs vs. Hobbs, one of those on the last drive.
Hobbs still had an interception on the day and almost another one. He will need to sure up his technique and become a cleaner player in coverage. His potential is still through the roof.