Darien Butler found himself all alone near the football after Sam Webb stripped it loose for the forced fumble with a golden chance for a much-needed takeaway. No dice.
Derek Carr fired a dart to Foster Moreau in the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown that would’ve electrified Allegiant Stadium. No dice.
There were “it was right there” moments aplenty for the Las Vegas Raiders against the visiting Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday. And each time, the Silver & Black failed to cash in and took another disconcerting loss — a 25-20 defeat this time — in a season riddled with many of them. It’s truly a snake eyes-type season at 2-7 overall for the desert marauders.
An exasperated Josh McDaniels was asked about his Raiders face plant of an effort against a Colts squad that turned things topsy turvy by plucking Jeff Saturday out of his analyst role onto the sidelines as Indianapolis’ interim head coach and Las Vegas’ head man simply said: “It’s like a broken record.”
So much so, the franchise quarterback — Carr — himself broke down in the post-game press conference. Fighting back tears and pausing while conveying his message, it was a very emotional time at the podium for No. 4.
“I don’t think so. I love Josh (McDaniels), I love our coaches,” Carr began when asked if there’s a disconnect in what he’s trying to do and if there’s a disconnect with the new system. “They’ve had nothing but success, way more success than I’ve ever had. I’m sorry for being emotional. I’m just pissed off by some of the things that a lot of us try and do, just to practice, what we put our bodies through just to sleep at night. For that to be the result of all that effort pisses me off. It pisses a lot of guys off.
“It’s hard knowing what some guys are doing. Like I said, just to practice, what they’re putting in their body just to sleep at night, just so we can be there for each other. I wish everybody in that room felt the same way about this place. As a leader that pisses me off, if I’m being honest.”
Raiders fans who were in attendance were certainly just as angry as their quarterback. The boo birds arrived early as Las Vegas’ offense stumbled out the gate against Indianapolis. The Colts — orchestrated by a first-time offensive play caller in Parks Frazier — jumped out to a 10-0 advantage before the Raiders responded. And when the Silver & Blacked jump ahead 14-13, it took less than 60 seconds for the Colts to gallop ahead once more on a 66-yard Johnathan Taylor run to go up 19-14.
Raider Nation was again electric in the fourth when Carr stepped up in the pocket and threw a dime to Davante Adams for a 48-yard touchdown pass. But Indianapolis wouldn’t go away — thanks in large part to Butler, an undrafted free agent linebacker, unable to recover the fumble — and the Colts made it 25-20 on Parris Campbell’s 35-yard catch-and-run for the score.
“The way we’ve discussed it, if you feel like there’s a lot of bodies around, yes, certainly you want to fall on the ball,” McDaniels said when asked about the play in particular. “And if you feel like you’re in open space, then you may have an opportunity to pick it up and advance it. I think that was probably more of the first category. There were some people right behind him. I don’t know if he saw them or felt them. Again, we’d love to obviously fall on it and take possession of the football, that would have been a big play in the game.”
Yet, despite that, the Raiders were afforded another opportunity to win the game on the offense’s final possession — the sixth time this season, in fact. Las Vegas only got as far as Indianapolis’ 16-yard line, however. Carr and Moreau couldn’t hook up on 3rd-and-7 — Colts linebacker B. Okereke made a great play and swatted the ball away from the Raiders tight end — and Carr couldn’t hook up with Adams on a 4th-down fader route — Stephon Gilmore broke up the pass. Six game-winning opportunities this season and Las Vegas is 0-6.
Let’s hit the quick slants as fast as the Colts came out the gates with a new coach and play caller:
—Adams led the Raiders aerial attack with nine grabs for 126 yards and a touchdown. He drew a team-leading 14 targets. Next highest on that list is running back Josh Jacobs’ eight looks.
—Colts quarterback Matt Ryan was an efficient 21 of 28 for 222 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked once, but his biggest play wasn’t made with his arm. The 37-year-old veteran galloped for a 39-yard run — a slap in the face to the Raiders defense.
—Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby paced the team with 10 total tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack. Cornerback Sam Webb and linebacker Jayon Brown each had eight total stops.
—Raiders cornerback Amik Robertson produced the team’s lone takeaway as he punched the ball out with Brown recovering. That led to a Las Vegas touchdown.
—Condemn play calling on offense and defense if you must, but if you do so, also lash out equally to the Raiders lack of player execution.
—Raiders punter AJ Cole had himself a day booting the ball five times for 294 yards. His long was a 67-yard hopper and his average was an impressive 58.8 per punt. He along with the coverage unit dropped three punts inside the Colts’ 20-yard-line.