Heading into the season opener, everyone knew the Las Vegas Raiders were in for a fight. The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the best rosters in the NFL and are expected to be a Super Bowl contender this year. So, it’s not the end of the world that the Raiders lost 24-19 in Week 1, but it does put them behind the eight ball.
With the Denver Broncos set to take on the depleted Seattle Seahawks tonight, Las Vegas will likely be looking up at the other three teams in the AFC West after opening weekend. Again, this is nothing they can’t come back from, but the Silver and Black just didn’t get enough from a few key players to get the job done on Sunday.
That being said, they did go toe to toe with one of the best teams in the league so there were at least a few silver linings from the contest.
WINNER: Davante Adams
All summer Raider Nation awaited Adams’ debut in the Silver and Black and while mixing in a win would have made it sweeter, the wideout was as advertised.
He received 15 targets and hauled in 10 of them for 141 yards and a touchdown, tieing for the second-most receptions and third-most yards among wide receivers in Week 1. He also ranked 10th with 3.44 yards per route run, which is a ridiculously high number that would have been his fifth-best single-game performance last season, a year in which he had over 1,600 yards including the playoffs.
What makes that stat line even more promising is there were a few plays that were left on the table where Adams was open but Derek Carr missed him. If they start connecting on those, the Raiders' passing attack is going to be lethal.
LOSER: Raiders’ offseason
Don’t get me wrong, Las Vegas still had a good offseason by adding a couple of superstars like Adams and Chandler Jones. However, they failed to address some of their biggest needs and that showed up yesterday.
Over the last several months, it was no secret that the Raiders needed a right tackle but they didn’t add one via free agency or the draft. Then the issue got worse as Brandon Parker was placed on IR and Alex Leatherwood played so poorly that he got cut, leaving the team to find a solution on the fly. That meant Jermaine Eluemunor and Thayer Munford split time holding down the right edge in Week 1, and they combined to give up three pressures — two hurries and one drive-killing sack — while neither took command of the position.
The secondary was another major offseason concern that didn’t really get addressed, and outside of Nate Hobbs, the unit struggled as a whole. Justin Herbert completed 25 of 32 passes (78.1 completion percentage) and the Raiders’ defensive backs only managed to get one pass break up the entire game.
To make matters worse, Anthony Averett and Tre’von Moehrig both left the game with injuries and didn’t return. According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Averett broke his thumb and will likely miss a month, which will test the Silver and Black’s depth moving forward, especially if Moehrig is out for an extended period of time too.
Luckily, help is on the way as the team signed Nickell Robey-Coleman, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. That should help mitigate any issues on the back end of the defense but the team’s right tackle situation remains an issue.
WINNER: Nate Hobbs
For the past month, we’ve heard about how great Hobbs has looked and how his role on the defense will be expanded this season. Yesterday, we got to see a great example of both.
The second-year corner still took the majority of his snaps in the slot (31 out of 66), but he also mixed in 21 as a wide corner, 13 in the box and one on the line of scrimmage as a standup outside backer. The results were even more impressive as he currently stands as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-highest graded corner in coverage (86.0) in Week 1.
Hobbs was only targeted twice on Sunday and the lone catch he allowed only went for five yards and he broke up the other pass, logging the defense’s only PBU of the game. He also ranked tied for second with two stops in coverage and yielded just a 56.3 passer rating when thrown at.
The 2021 fifth-round pick was active against the run too, earning an 83.5 run defense grade that is the third-best at the position heading into Monday Night Football. In addition to the two he had in coverage, he added three more stops as a run defender and recorded an average depth of tackle of -1.3 yards. Both figures currently top the charts among all corners who registered a tackle against the run.
An impressive outing for Hobbs where he looks like he’s living up to the hype.
LOSER: Derek Carr
To say Carr’s outing in the season opener was disappointing would be a bit of an understatement. Only two quarterbacks posted lower passing grades than him (42.3) — Dak Prescott (36.3), who left the game early with an injury, and Justin Fields (34.6), who was playing in a monsoon.
With a clean bill of health and dry weather, Vegas’ signal caller struggled to keep the ball away from the other team. He threw three interceptions and fumbled twice — both recovered by the Raiders — to earn five turnover-worthy plays (TWP), the most among Week 1 quarterbacks. And it wasn’t just a volume issue as he had the second-highest TWP rate at 11.4 percent, 4.3 percent higher than third-place finisher Matt Ryan.
Carr will be the first one to admit this but, to put it simply, he has to play better if the Raiders are going to contend in the division, especially now that he has one of the league’s best receiving corps.
WINNER: Dylan Parham
In a bit of a surprise, Parham got his first NFL start in his first NFL game, edging out Lester Cotton Sr. for the honors. But the rookie wasn’t just out there getting his cardio in, he played well too.
Parham finished right behind Adams as the team’s second-highest-graded offensive player with an overall mark of 82.3. On 26 opportunities in pass protection, he pitched a shutout by not allowing a single pressure and earned a top 20 pass protection grade at the position at 73.1. He was even better as a run blocker, coming in fourth among guards with an impressive 82.6 grade.
The third-round pick did have to split time with Cotton, but a performance like this could prove to the coaching staff that he’s worthy of taking the job over full-time. It certainly was an excellent and encouraging NFL debut for the Memphis product.
LOSER: Divine Deablo
It was a rough start to the campaign for Deablo. Getting better in coverage was one of his biggest areas of improvement heading into the campaign, and if yesterday is any indication, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed.
Deablo saw seven targets against the Chargers and allowed six catches for 63 yards and surrendered two of the three touchdowns the Bolts scored. To make matters worse, the one incompletion was a drop by tight end Tre’ McKitty, so the linebacker should have given up even more yards and allowed a perfect completion percentage on the afternoon.
A 30.0 coverage grade which was the sixth-worst at his position isn’t the start to year two that Deablo was looking for after finishing last season with a 50.6 mark in coverage. He still has time to bounce back, but the Raiders brought in a handful of linebackers for visits last week, which seemed strange at the time but we might have found out why. If the Virginia Tech product can’t put it together quickly, his role on the defense might get diminished in a hurry.