After the Raiders came from behind to defeat the Steelers, the Raiders looked to build upon this. When the Raiders flew into Cincinnati, they encountered a team that could serve as a mirror image. The Bengals are in the midst of a probable rebuild as well. With an uncertain future, these two teams battled on Sunday afternoon. The Bengals handled Oakland, winning 30-16. This loss drops their record to 3-11.
When Paul Guenther returned to his longtime home, you could see the desire to win on his face. Under Mike Zimmer, Guenther helped construct the Cincinnati defense that made the Bengals a perennial playoff threat. With several of his former players still in uniform, Guenther wanted this win just a bit more. Although he would never say it, video and camera close-ups speak the truth.
In looking to continue his stellar late-season play, Derek Carr found seven receivers for 229 yards. Facing a rebuilding Cincinnati defense, Carr felt pressure early. Throughout the game, he appeared to lack confidence in his protection. With Osemele and Jackson out, Geno Atkins destroyed the interior of the Raiders. On the outside, rookies Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker struggled once again to keep Carr upright. While Miller is a first-rounder, the questions about what to do with Parker persist. With a plethora of draft picks in 2019, do the Raiders invest in a right tackle? While not ideal, the thought of Carr endure vicious hits prompts this discussion.
Despite the delusional droning of a few, the pass rush continues to stall out in crucial situations. With zero perimeter pass rush,the Raiders relied on the interior and blitzing to rattle Jeff Driskel. As a result, the Raiders mustered just one sack and four hits on the quarterback.Karl Joseph provided the lone sack. Meanwhile, Arden Key could not get home once again. Despite the existence of film, Key continues to use the spin move,which throws him right into a guard. At this point, Oakland needs to consider serious upgrades on the edge.
After this game, the Raiders head home to Oakland and face a Broncos team that always bring a stout defense and decent running game. In addition, pending further notice, this could be the final game at O.co Coliseum. Despite what you may feel, the fans in Oakland deserve better than seeing their team finish the season like this.