Unless the Las Vegas Raiders have a dramatic turnaround, the first season under Josh McDaniels is going to be remembered for the historic meltdowns the team has delivered.
Through eight games, they have already matched the NFL record for blowing leads of 17 points or more. The 2-6 Raiders have done it three times. In Week 2, they lost to Arizona after leading 20-0 at halftime. In Week 5, they lost at Kansas City after jumping out to a 17-0 lead and on Sunday, they lost at Jacksonville after leading 17-0.
It’s embarrassing and confusing. But, what it mostly is, a trend under McDaniels.
This week, he tried to explain, however, he said there is no clear reason for it. Adjustments and execution are at the forefront.
“I think it’s not just one thing. I think at the end of the day, we’ve learned that the games can switch quickly, they can,” McDaniels said. “We’ve been on the wrong end of that so far. But those things can shift around pretty quickly if you don’t do a lot of the right things. The Kansas City game was very similar to one yesterday, where we had a lead and then all of a sudden, we kind of lost the momentum of the game. Score at the end of the second quarter, score at the beginning of third quarter and then before you know it, the game is entirely different game, which is not abnormal to the National Football League, it happens. What we need to do in that situation is be able to respond and stem the tide and go regain the momentum for ourselves with doing our job. I think the end result of trying to switch if the tide has been turned against us a little bit because another team’s kind of going on a run so to speak, we have to be able to go out there and play good football whatever phase we’re out there on; punt team, offense, defense, kickoff return, whatever it is.
“We got to be able to go out there and execute well together, and that’s the only way to do it. It’s not going to be look to one player, or call one play or one defense, and have it magically stop. This is a result of the collective efforts of 11 guys on every play doing the right thing. And if you do it the right way, then you’ll stem the tide because you’ll make good plays. And again, like I said, we’ve done it before, we can do it again. We need to learn how to do it longer and in more difficult situations when we don’t have the momentum.”
Still, McDaniels is still hopeful the Raiders will figure things out in the second half of the season and try to claw back into the playoff picture, which they entered the season expected to be squarely in the middle of.
“We’re going to try to address and figure out what do we need to do to shift the results, and some of those things might be very minor,” McDaniels said. “Look, you change the result of four plays (against Jacksonville) it probably changes the game, and that’s how every game is when it’s that tight. I definitely am not going to go in there and panic and say we need to uproot everything we’ve done.
“That’s not really the right thing to do. There’s things we’re doing very well, there’s things that we need to do better. And I think for us to try to figure out what those are and then address them and address them in the right way. The truth is what’s important and if there’s something we can do better with the scheme that we’re using or the players that we’re using with them, then we’ll try to do that. If there’s something that needs to change, whether schematically or put different people in different personnel groupings or what have you to make it go a little better for us, then we’ll have to try and take a look at that too.”
We will see if the Raiders can turn their season around and keep fans forget about their penchant for choking games away.