Forget about signature wins. That’s not in the cards with these Las Vegas Raiders. With Josh McDaniels’ captaining the Silver & Black ship, the head coach’s tenure is marred far more with signature defeats, than victories.
The 30-12 shellacking on the road at the hands of the Chicago Bears this past Sunday was just another one in a long list of drubbings McDaniels absorbed as the lead man for the Raiders.
Who can forget McDaniels’ team getting bested by a interim head coach Jeff Saturday and his Indianapolis Colts? That, by the way, was the horsemen’s lone win off Saturday’s eight-game tenure. Then there was the L dropped by the Los Angeles Rams who picked up quarterback Mayfield from the waiver scrap heap.
Then there was this past Sunday, when Division II super legend Tyson Bagent — an undrafted free agent rookie quarterback — did a Cool Hand Luke and helped lead the Bears to a convincing win to improve to 2-5 as he didn’t throw a touchdown or interception and was efficient. The Raiders fell to 3-4 and didn’t look remotely anything like a team that was .500 heading into the game.
McDaniels’ squad trailed 24-6 with 5:46 left to play before Jaylon Johnson returned an interception 39 yards to make it 30-6 just 10 seconds later. The Silver & Black meekly scored a touchdown — a nine-yard pass from backup quarterback Aidan O’Connell to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers with just 1:10 left to play. Defensively, the dam broke early for the Raiders as missed tackles allowed the Bears to operate seamlessly.
And yet again, McDaniels got backhanded slapped by yet another hapless team that barely sniffed victory. That’s about as habitual as the Raiders bad tackling and it all boils down to one person — the head honcho. Even if he continues to drop the “e” word in his press conferences like he’s dependent on it like oxygen.
“We move the ball and then we get bogged down with something, either miss a third-and-short, or there’s a penalty here or there,” McDaniels said during his Monday press conference. “Yesterday, we had a couple penalties and just didn’t do very well on third downs in the first two and a half, three quarters of the game. And there’s a lot of little things that go into those plays. A football game can be changed by the execution of four or five different plays. Pick any four or five different plays, and you say, ‘Man, if we would have made this, if we would have made that.’
“But at the end of the day, you did what you did, and we called what we called. And so, whether it’s a call you want to choose differently, or an execution of a play, or an assignment, or whatever it might be, at the end of the day we need to put together a performance that’s representative of what we think we can be. We’re searching for that and there’s no shortcut to it.”
Here we are, 24 games into McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler’s tenure as the 1-2 power duo in the desert and the record stands at 9-15. Execution, or lack thereof, is spoken at length during McDaniels’ media sessions. It’s the broken record that’s harped on and the record layer’s needle is getting as dull as the play calling. The lack of answers to remedy the team’s woes are even more troublesome. McDaniels goes on and on about needing to find a fix but the same ugly habits rise back with a vengeance — which is apt for spooky season.
Even veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer, thrust into the starting lineup by McDaniels with normal starter Jimmy Garoppolo on the mend, sounded a lot like his head coach during his post game media scrum after the loss to the Bears.
“We’ve got to execute better,” Hoyer said. “Obviously there were a few third downs we didn’t convert. You convert on those third downs and give yourself some better opportunities. Two long drives and we get in the red zone area and sputter out. I think there’s just got to be better execution. We were moving the ball and then we get stuck. That’s something we’ve really got to improve on.”
Let’s hit those quick slants as fast as McDaniels noted the game “snowballed” on the his Raiders:
—Raiders rookie edge rusher Tyree Wilson recorded his first career sack. Wilson chased down Bears quarterback Nathan Peterman on a Hail Mary-type play and also notched the forced fumble to send both teams into halftime.
—Hoyer finished 17 of 32 for 129 yards and two interceptions in his start as Raiders quarterback. He was also sacked once. Hoyer has now lost 13-straight games he’s started.
—O’Connell may have thrown the lone touchdown pass but he also threw a pick. The rookie finished 10 of 13 for 75 yards with the scoring pass and interception.
—Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was corralled by the Bears as he ran for only 35 yards on 11 carries. The team finished with 39 rushing yards on 14 totes.
—Meyers led the Raiders receivers with 13 targets and finished with seven catches for 50 yards. Davante Adams was next with 12 targets and finished with seven grabs for 57 yards.
—Chicago’s ground game was led by running back D’Onta Foreman who had 16 carries for 89 yards and two scores. The Bears as a group rumbled for 173 yards on 38 carries.
Quote of Note:
“Football is a mysterious game sometimes and I think our players feel like we can do much better than what we’ve done. And that’s what we have got to continue to work towards because I think if we actually achieve that and we get to where we want to be, I think that some of these games can feel a little different. Every game feels hard right now whether we win or lose. They’re all feeling the same way because we’re kind of nip and tuck, it’s right down to the wire, or in yesterday’s case we just lose control of it there in the third and fourth quarter. But execution is really the heart of anything that’s being done well.” -Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels