In the second game under Jon Gruden, the Raiders entered Denver, only to see a twelve point lead evaporate. The Raiders left the city with a heartbreaking 20-19 defeat, at the hands of the Broncos
Despite the nineteen points, Derek Carr finally looked like himself. In completing 29 of 32 for 288 yards, Carr found a rhythm. His throws were precise and allowed for decent yards after catch. Unlike last week’s version, Carr stood tall in the pocket and found nine different receivers. For as brutal as this loss with feel for the fanbase, Carr showed why the Raiders invested 125 million dollars in him.
The Raiders spread the ball around today. As a result, finding nine receivers kept Denver on its heels. More importantly, role players like Seth Roberts and Jared Cook found holes in the Denver. For Roberts, this game served as bit of a redemption story. After an unnecessary holding call, Carr threaded the needle to Roberts on a 20-yard score. For Roberts, it keeps the ravenous fans off his back. Finishing with three catches for 43 yards, will also help.
In perhaps the most glaring example of missing a dominant pass rusher, the Raiders’ defense could not get home versus the Broncos. As a result, Case Keenum picked them apart during the game-winning drive. Only Mo Hurst tallied a sack. Bruce Irvin mounted little to no rush. Under those circumstances, Denver wore out the Raiders through the air. Regardless of how sound Paul Guenther’s scheme appears, the team lacks a true pass rush on the outside. Rookie Arden Key looked exhausted. As mentioned, Irvin generated nothing but missed tackles and a 15-yard penalty. At this point, the murmurs of broken faith in him evolved into screams and various curse words.
Other than Carr, the only other bright spot for Oakland, Amari Cooper snared all ten targets, yielding 116 yards. With Cooper engaged, that should bode well for the Oakland for the rest of the season.
While Carr appeared razor-sharp, the absence of any meaningful pass rush continues to haunt the Raiders. During the game, the defense tired and the Broncos marched downfield at will. Now, there are no catchy quotes that will calm anyone.
The Raiders will travel to South Florida to face a Dolphins team looking to start 3-0. If the Raiders can duplicate their offensive success and generate a scintilla of pressure, the outcome could change.