There might be a high of 77 degrees today in Las Vegas but the Raiders are feeling a cool breeze after yesterday’s embarrassing 24-0 Week 8 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Raiders’ playoff hopes took a massive hit yesterday as they’re now three games back from the Chiefs for the division lead and two behind the Chargers for a wild card spot. With a bleak postseason outlook, it might be time to start talking about the draft in Sin City.
WINNER: Raiders draft positioning
Draft positioning will be the only winner this week and, well, can you blame me?
It was an abysmal performance from the Silver and Black on both sides of the ball and throughout the coaching staff, so the only benefit from Sunday’s outing is that they moved up in the draft order. After Monday Night Football, the Raiders will either hold the sixth or seventh pick overall, depending on if the Browns — who traded their first-rounder to the Texans — win or lose tonight.
Obviously, this isn’t the situation Las Vegas wanted to be in, but picking this high will give them a great opportunity to add an impact player at any position on Day 1, as well as pay off in the later rounds. The Raiders currently hold 10 selections in this year’s draft and could be in line for a couple more compensatory picks, so Dave Zeigler and Josh McDaniels will certainly have the capital to repair the roster in the offseason.
LOSER: Derek Carr
Was Sunday’s loss all on Carr? Absolutely not. Did he do enough to help the team win? Also, absolutely not.
Plain and simple, completing 15 of 26 passes for 101 yards and zero touchdowns to one interception just isn’t going to get the job done and is inexcusable from a nine-year starting quarterback. Diving into that further, the pick was a terrible rookie mistake where he threw into triple coverage off of a no-look attempt.
He didn’t see or think the linebacker would be in the passing lane to tip it to Tyrann Mathieu — the fourth defender to enter the area — and that gave the Saints a short field to work with before going up three possessions in the first half.
Again, yesterday’s pathetic offensive performance wasn’t all Carr’s fault, but the offense didn’t even cross the 50-yard line until Jarrett Stidham came into the game, and the Raiders simply didn’t get enough from their starting quarterback to even have a chance at winning.
LOSER: Davante Adams
Moving onto how Carr’s supporting cast let him and the team as a whole down, yesterday was probably the worst performance of Adams’ career. He was targeted five times but finished with only one catch for three yards, the fewest yards he’s had in a single game since Week 3 of 2015 when he only participated in three snaps.
Sure, if the quarterback was on top of his game, the wideout would have had a more productive day, but also hurt his cause. He had a drop on a go route that would have led to an explosive play and failed to keep his feet in bounds near the sideline on another opportunity. The latter would have been an impressive catch, however, it was one that you’d expect the best wide receiver in the league to make.
Instead, Adams ended up finishing the game as the team’s lowest-graded (45.4) offensive player from Pro Football Focus. He was battling off a flu bug but regardless, performances like yesterday’s are inexcusable from a player of his caliber, especially since New Orleans was down its top cornerback, Marshon Lattimore.
Originally, I wanted to pick one linebacker to single out, but the truth of the matter is they all played terribly.
Las Vegas’ defense had no answer for Alvin Kamara, who finished with 27 touches for 158 total yards and three touchdowns. Heading into the game, he hadn’t scored all year.
Kamara did most of his damage as a receiver, hauling in nine of nine targets for 96 yards and two touchdowns and all but one grab for three yards came against linebackers. Divine Deablo was one of the biggest culprits, surrendering four catches, 38 yards and two touchdowns while Denzel Perryman wasn’t too far behind with three, 47 and one.
Those two did fare better against the run as Kamara was held to just 3.4 yards per carry, but Deablo and Perryman notched two missed tackles each and the position group as a whole is starting to look like it’ll be one of the team’s draft needs, again.
LOSER: Andre James
There were plenty of offensive linemen to pick on this week as it felt like Carr was under pressure for the majority of the game and the Raiders rushing attack struggled to get off the ground, and James was one of the biggest issues.
Across the board, he earned his lowest single-game PFF grades of the season— 53.9 overall, 51.9 run blocking and 53.3 pass protection. He also surrendered more pressures than any other game with three, a sack, a QB hit and a hurry, earning a 95.3 efficiency rating that is currently the fifth-worst among centers for the week.
As a run blocker, James was constantly getting beat and having to pick himself off the ground. That played a significant role in Vegas only rushing for 2.9 yards per attempt as a team.
The four-year veteran is one of the team’s leaders up front and with the lack of talent within the position group, they can’t afford to have performances like yesterday’s from one of their best offensive linemen.
LOSER: Anthony Averett
For the second week in a row Averett made his way onto the losers list. He’s two games into his return from injured reserve and promotion to the starting lineup with Nate Hobbs’ injury, and both outings couldn’t have gone much worse.
After giving up 59 yards on four catches and failing to force an incompletion yesterday, Averett has yielded 116 yards and a touchdown in the last two weeks. Not only is he not taking advantage of the extra playing time, but he’s also been a liability in coverage. What was a perfect opportunity for the five-year veteran to cement himself as a starter in the league, has turned into a spotlight that has exposed in flaws.