The Las Vegas Raiders headed to Atlanta with hopes of starting to cement their playoff claim. The Falcons couldn’t have cared less. By dispatching the Raiders, 43-6, Atlanta backed up Jon Gruden’s claim. In all honesty, this performance provided more questions, ones that the team fails to answer. The Raiders slink out of the city with an embarrassing loss pinned to their helmet.
Peach State of Frustration
Throughout their hot streak, the Raiders avoided crippling turnovers and penalties. yet, Sunday signaled a return to each of these game-altering errors. Derek Carr lost three fumbles. In addition, he found a wide-open Deion Jones for a soul-crushing pick-6. Additionally, Josh Jacobs put the ball on the ground. For an offense that prides itself on the ability to protect the ball, Vegas could not stake the same claim during the blowout.
For the majority of this season, Vegas under Tom Cable managed to shuffle a functional offensive line. Playing for nothing but next year, Atlanta dialed up the pressure, overwhelming the Raiders for five sacks. These did not appear to be coverage plays. The Falcons arrived at the quarterback quickly, with destructive malice. One of Carr’s fumble occurred from immediate pressure. Brandon Parker failed to maintain the block and the quarterback had no chance.
Optimists will celebrate Johnathan Abram’s interception. Realists will see this defensive performance as a continuing cry for help. Matt Ryan, behind an offensive line torched by the Saints a week ago, looked comfortable. The veteran QB suffered only one sack, on his way to an efficient day. Without Julio Jones and Todd Gurley, the Falcons capitalized on Raiders’ miscues and effectively moved the ball. Now, without Gurley, the Falcons battered Vegas with the combination of Brian Hill and Ito Smith battered the defense for 120 yards on twenty-five carries. Folks, Maliek Collins isn’t going to show up. Both Rod Marinelli and Paul Guenther may need to peruse job search websites.
In essence, the Raiders lost a game versus a subpar team, without two main offensive cogs. The defense continues to fail. With the playoffs in reach, the Las Vegas Raiders need to find consistency on both sides of the ball.