Remember Week 9?
The convincing home win. The Antonio Pierce love. The Aidan O’Connell hype. The victory cigars.
Fast forward five weeks here at Allegiant Stadium and that is all up in smoke for this team that was booed off the field at halftime by their fans. Well, the fans that weren’t loud fans of the opponent.
The good energy of the post-Josh McDaniels Las Vegas Raiders are a memory.
The Raiders sunk to new depths Sunday as they were shutout 3-0 at home by the Minnesota Vikings coming of their bye week and have lost three straight games under Pierce after starting 2-0.
Let’s look at some of the gory details:
Pierce, O’Connell probably aren’t it:
Yes, players and fans like Pierce. But the Raiders are struggling and it may be difficult for him to keep the job. As it stands now, owner Mark Davis will likely look for an improvement next month and that’s understandable. With rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell struggling it also very likely Las Vegas will be in the market for a starting quarterback for the second straight offseason. It wouldn’t even be a surprise if we see Jimmy Garoppolo again this season.
Offense stinks again:
The Raiders have scored 46 points total in the past four games. O’Connell can’t get anything going on. Davante Adams is being wasted. It’s really a mess.
The Raiders are about dead. There are 12 teams ahead of them in the AFC playoff picture with four games to go and 11 teams that have two more wins than them. The AFC West is getting interesting, though. The Chiefs have lost three of four and lead the 7-6 Broncos by one game. Also, Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert has a broke finger and may not play at the Raiders on Thursday, meaning they will face yet another backup quarterback.
Nick Mullens again:
The Vikings turned to backup quarterback Nick Mullens with nine minutes left and he gave the Vikings enough life to lead them to the a field goal, the only points of the game. Mullens smoked the Raiders in 2018 with the 49ers and the Raiders actually traded him to Minnesota last year.
Pace has big game:
There have been multiple players who have won the player of the week award against the Raiders and it may happen this week. Minnesota rookie linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. was all over the place. He had 13 tackles (seven in the first quarter), a sack and the game-sealing interception. Impressive.
Expect to see a lot of Jayden Daniels connections to the Raiders if Pierce ends up being promoted to the full-time coach. Pierce was one of the people Daniels thanked when he won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. Pierce and Daniels were together at Arizona State. So, if Pierce is around and Daniels is available when the Raiders pick, a potential pairing makes sense.
Raiders’ standout running back Josh Jacobs was limping badly to the locker room in the fourth quarter. That is scary especially with a game coming up Thursday. Jacobs had just 34 yards on 13 carries before leaving in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders played Amik Robertson, Jack Jones and Jakorian Bennett all some as reshape their corner back rotation two games into the post-Marcus Peters era.
The Raiders used Janarius Robinson in a five-man front some Sunday. That was a nice look with Robinson just being promoted to the 53-man roster. Perhaps will see it more down the stretch. At one point, rookie defensive end Tyree Wilson was facing the center. Later, Maxx Crosby lined up inside. The Raiders had a strong pass rush all game and had five sacks.
Maxx is special:
Raiders’ star pass-rusher Maxx Crosby registered his 12.5th and 13.5 sacks of the season. It is a career high. He has 51 career sacks, in fifth NFL season. Only five players have notched 50 sacks as a Raider in team history and only one to do it his first five seasons. Not bad for a guy dealing a knee injury that keeps him from practicing most days. He’s a Defensive Player of the Year award candidate. He is closing in on tema record of 16 sacks in a season set by Derrick Burgess in 2005.
With 4 pressures in the 1st half, #Raiders DE Maxx Crosby now has 10 such games this season, the most in the NFL, per @ESPNStatsInfo— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) December 10, 2023
Most Games with 4+ Pressures – This Season
Maxx Crosby 10
Micah Parsons 8
Aidan Hutchinson 8
Minnesota star wide receiver Justin Jefferson left the game in the second quarter after taking a big hit from Las Vegas safety Marcus Epps. He had to leave the game and he did not return had a chest injury. It was Jefferson’s first game back since injuring his hamstring in Week 5. Jefferson had two catches for 27 yards at the time of his injury.
Another opponent takeover:
There was a lot of purple in the stands Sunday. More than half the crowd was rooting for the Vikings and they were loud fans. Antonio Pierce has asked for the Raider Nation to “Show up and show out” but once again, Raiders fans were drowned out at Allegiant Stadium. There are two more home games to change that.
Not consistent play calling:
In the first quarter, The Raiders went for it twice on fourth and one in their own territory in the first quarter. They converted both times. Yet, on the final drive of the first half, the Raiders were very tentative and didn’t truly try to move the ball down field. This interim coaching staff has had its struggles.
Already without Miller, Raiders center Andre James went down in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Guard Dylan Parham moved to center and Jordan Meredith took over at guard.
Tough day for protection:
O’Connell was sacked four times and was under constant pressure. Yes, the Raider are banged up on the offensive line, but they need to figure it out with Khalil Mack coming to town this week. yes, he had six sacks of O’Connell in Week 4.