Sunday might go down as the worst regular season loss in franchise history for the Las Vegas Raiders.
Yes, the Raiders were blown out plenty of times over the last couple of decades and yesterday wasn’t a large margin of defeat, but blowing a 20-point lead at home to a team that got demolished by a division rival the week before is inexcusable. Plus, it was the organization’s largest comeback allowed, and no team has made the playoffs after starting 0-2 since 2018.
There’s plenty of blame to go around and everyone in the building is a loser but there are few that stand out among the rest. And, believe it or not, there were a few positives against the Cardinals...just not very many.
LOSER: Josh McDaniels
The head coach is always to blame anytime the team loses, that’s why a record is always attached to their name. But this loss serves as an extra black mark on McDaniels’ resume.
After jumping out to a 20-0 halftime lead, the Raiders took their foot off the gas and only managed to pick up 113 yards and three points in the second half and that’s including 23 yards in overtime. Meanwhile, Davante Adams only had two catches while the offense kept banging its head against the wall while trying to get other players involved.
That’s on McDaniels as the offensive play-caller. When you’re team is struggling it's time to turn to your best playmaker and force-feed them the ball but that never happened against Arizona.
Between the total team collapse and the offensive letdown, the Raiders’ head coach has some soul-searching to do, and he has to dig the team out of a hole that other coaches with a lot more experience haven’t been able to do. This was a playoff team a year ago and the expectation has always been that they’ll be back in the dance this season.
WINNER: Josh Jacobs
If there’s one saving grace from Sunday’s loss, it’s that Jacobs looked like he was in midseason form. While his stat line wasn’t all that impressive, 19 carries for 69 yards (3.6 YPA), that’s partially because he had to evade defender after defender.
Jacobs ended up finishing the game with five missed tackles forced as a rusher which is currently tied for eighth among all running backs for the week. He was shifty and side-stepping Cardinals all game long and earned just about every yard he gained with 67 of his 69 yards coming after contact. Heading into Monday Night Football, that’s the fifth-most among backs, and for perspective, three out of the four rushers who are ahead of Jacobs on the list ran for over 100 yards.
LOSER: Hunter Renfrow
Don’t get me wrong, Renfrow was the Raiders’ superhero plenty of times last season, but this past week, he did a heel turn and became the villain.
He did manage to have seven catches on nine targets for 59 yards, 51 of which came after the catch, but it was the two fumbles that soured the afternoon. The first came when Vegas was driving in overtime and it looked like they were going to be able to salvage the game. Then Renfrow caught one over the middle and coughed it up while going to the ground. Luckily, Foster Moreau was there to save the day for the time being, but two plays later, the Raiders weren’t so lucky and Byron Murphy capped off the comeback for the Cardinals.
Renfrow has now fumbled three times in two games this season and has five in the last three years combined. Typically, he’s Mr. Reliable in the slot, but that will change quickly if he can’t figure out how to hold onto the ball.
WINNER: Rock Ya-Sin
It was pretty clear that the Cardinals’ offensive game plan was to test Ya-Sin as much as possible. They threw at him five times but the four-year pro was up for the challenge as he only allowed one completion for a measly 10 yards, and that lone completion was only thrown four yards in the air.
Ball skills were one of his biggest strengths coming over from Indianapolis and they were on full display this Sunday. PFF credited Ya-Sin with two pass breakups which are currently tied for the most among corners in Week 2, and he had tight coverage on a couple more targets to help jar the ball loose and force incompletions.
The free agent signing also surrendered a meager 39.6 passer rating, tied for the third-lowest at the position (minimum one target), and walked away with the highest ratio of coverage snaps to receptions allowed at 60 to 1.
Hopefully, this was a breakout game that he can build off of moving forward.
LOSER: Lester Cotton
Cotton got to make his first NFL start on Sunday but that might literally be the only highlight he had.
In an abysmal offensive performance by the entire unit, at least in the second half, he finished the game with the Raiders’ third-lowest PFF grade (52.4) offensively. His run blocking was the biggest issue as he kept getting beat play after play and posted a mark of 42.9 in that regard, making it back-to-back sub-par performances in the ground game for him.
As a pass protector, Cotton found more success with a 73.4 grade and only two pressures surrendered — one QB hit and one hurry — on 41 opportunities. But this was his chance to firmly cement himself in the starting lineup, and his woes as a run blocker have left the Raiders competition at right guard wide open, two weeks into the season.
WINNER: Duron Harmon
Heading into the game, there was a little bit of worry about how Las Vegas’ defensive backs would hold up without Tre’von Moehrig, who was extremely dependable last season having played in all but six defensive snaps. However, Harmon stepped up and gave the team a chance to win.
The old veteran played in all 87 snaps and finished as the Raiders’ highest-graded defender (72.0). He was only targeted once and did allow that pass to go for an eight-yard completion, but it was clutch back-to-back plays in overtime that made his afternoon.
Arizona was driving and in Las Vegas’ territory when they faced a pivotal third and five in the extra frame. They opted to run the ball with Darrel Williams and picked up four yards, but Williams had the first down until Harmon came downhill and made the third down stop. On fourth and one on the next play, Kyler Murray had Marquise Brown wide open on a go route but the safety came in like a bat out of hell and laid the wood on Brown to force a turnover on downs.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t take advantage on the following possession but that was winning football played by the veteran defensive back.