The Las Vegas Raiders were the hottest offense in football heading into Week 8. They scored 33 points per game since Week 4 and were the only team to score more than 20 points on the Broncos in 2022.
That offense didn't show last Sunday, with them getting shut out vs. the New Orleans Saints. The Saints didn't have a dominant defense entering the matchup but held the Raiders to 183 yards on the day. Dennis Allen prepared the team for Josh McDaniels' scheme and play-calling tendencies.
Their game plan had the Raiders flustered throughout the matchup with no answer whatsoever. The silver and black were outmatched from the opening snap, leading to zero points on the day.
Running game shut down
The Raiders rushing attack has been one of the best in the NFL, led by Josh Jacobs. The running game was first in Football Outsiders DVOA, and Jacobs was the highest-graded offensive player on Pro Football Focus. It all ended with the Saints ready for the running game.
Jacobs was held to just 43 yards on ten carries, with 16 coming on one run. The offensive line could not get any push up front, leaving Jacobs with little room to operate. The perfect example is below running one-back power. Alex Bars(#64) and Foster Moreau get blown up, while Jacobs has nowhere to go.
The run blocking wasn't always consistent when the Raiders' offense was rolling. Jacobs could create when there wasn't anything, leading him to be top five in rushing yards over expectations. The Saints tackled him in space which has not happened often during the first half of the season.
On the first run of the game, it foreshadowed the rest of the 59 minutes that followed. The Raiders run their lead power with 21 personnel( 2 Rbs, 2 WRs, 1 TE) that has bullied teams for three straight weeks. However, the Raiders' offensive line doesn't earn any push vs. the Saints vs. the defensive line, and Jacobs decides to bounce. Alonte Taylor comes up from the corner position and makes an excellent tackle on Jacobs.
On this next play, the Raiders are running split zone, and Moreau misses his block, forcing Jacobs to bounce. It creates a battle with Jacobs and Pete Warner; this time went to Warner with the excellent form tackle in space.
The silver and black struggling to run the football forced them to play a game they hadn't played in weeks. It didn't appear they were ready to adjust quickly and change their offensive philosophy.
Offensive line struggles
Offensive line play is down around the league, and the Raiders are no exception. The coaching staff and front office decided not to address the young group with the hopes of growth. Seven games in the results have been ugly and hold the team back during passing situations. It was glaring vs. the Saints.
According to PFF, Carr was under pressure in 41 percent of his dropbacks, following 39 percent against the Texans. It started early in the first, where the Raiders go max protection for PA Pass. The Saints play bracket coverage on the back end while sending a man-blitz to play the run. Dylan Parham is beaten immediately, with Foster Moreau getting caught leaning, allowing him to be tossed. The play was dead even if the line held up.
On this third and 15 play during the first quarter, the Raiders are running what they call to boot and blink(in and beeline) with Hollins and Turner at the bottom. After the snap, Adams beats his man and is open on the corner route. The offensive line doesn't hold up long enough, and Carr must step up to avoid pressure from Miller and Bars. Carr attempts to throw Adams back to the football but misses wide.
Late in the game, during the second half, The Raiders go max protection again with a two man-route. Davante Adams will be running the post route and Hunter Renfrow on the seam that adjusts to a crosser. The Saints are playing cover 1 on the back end. After the snap, the safety bails to cover Adams, leaving Renfrow wide open on the crosser, but none of this matters because Andre James whiffs, and it's a quick sack of Carr.
There were missed opportunities throughout the game based on the offensive line play. When the Raiders get into passing situations, their struggles of the blockers upfront will be an issue.
Speaking of missed opportunities, there were moments when the Raiders had chances to move the football. The team looked lethargic and exhibited in a few plays that could have made it more respectable.
The first one was thrown downfield to Keelan Cole. The Raiders get a great look vs. the Saints' cover 4 in the first quarter. Moreau will be running an out route with Cole running the go. Mathieu is focused on the out route and doesn't help the cornerback leaving the wideout one on one outside. Carr finds the former New York Jet downfield but throws it too far out in front. Cole doesn't give the best effort either, but this is a throw Carr needed to make.
At the end of the first half, the Raiders had a chance to cross the 50-yard line, and McDaniels called a play that worked earlier in the game. However, Carr sees a one-on-one with Adams on the outside and decides to take that matchup instead. While the ball was underthrown, Adams could get his hands on it but couldn't come down with it. The Raiders were forced to punt.
The offense faced a perfect storm of bad play calls, drops, inaccurate passes, and horrid offensive line play. This probably isn't who they are as a unit in the future, but the devastating loss points to the draft. The players will be looking to bounce back and stay in the race.