One of the Las Vegas Raiders’ biggest issues this season has been the inability to make the big plays late in the game.
In all four of their defeats this season, the Raiders have failed to make plays in key junctures of the game. Yet, in their two wins, the Raiders have made the necessary plays late in the game. That was the difference Sunday in Las Vegas’ 38-20 victory over the Houston Texans at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders outscored Houston 21-0 in the fourth quarter.
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said finishing the game was a topic at halftime when the game was tied at 10-10
“There were a few things, subtle little adjustments that we tried to make. I didn’t think we played very clean in the first half,” McDaniels said. “Offensively, had a couple penalties. Had a couple penalties in the kicking game. Fumbled a snap. Just little things like that, that created maybe harder situations than what we needed. So, just talked about trying to do our job a little bit better. We expected the game to come down in the fourth quarter because, like I said, every one of our two teams has. So, I thought they stepped up and played really well. I thought the communication was better. I thought the execution was better. I thought the offensive group up front really gave Josh [Jacobs] an opportunity to get started a bunch of times there in the second half and was able to run it in.”
Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr said red-zone execution was a key. The Raiders, who struggled in the red zone this season, scored touchdowns on all three trips to the red zone.
“I mean, at the end of the day, it came down to us executing in the red zone much better, and just outside the red zone,” Carr said. “I think we were three-for-three or four-for-four on touchdowns there. I mean, that right there is going to help everybody. Teams are going to have to defend the run and we have our weapons. We don’t even have all of them right now. And if they want to defend that, then Josh [Jacobs] is doing a great job with the o-line. And the receivers blocking today in the fourth quarter was really impressive.”
Cleaning up the little things paid off for the Raiders on Sunday. If they can continue this trend, the victories may pile up.