In what could stand as a regular-season playoff game, the Las Vegas Raiders welcomed the Indianapolis Colts. In addition, the Raiders also welcomed the Colts to run all over their defense. Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor enjoyed a career game, rushing for 150 yards on 20 attempts. He also scored 2 touchdowns, while Nyheim Hines added 58 yards on 7 attempts. To put things simply, this defense looked worse than they did against the Jets.
It was impressive how easily the Raiders’ defensive allowed the Colts’ offensive line to steamroll them. It became hard to watch, even when it became clear that would be the trend.
Offensively, it felt as though the game headed to a shootout in the first half. The Colts were scoring because no one would stop them, while the Raiders were scoring because they knew their defense could not keep up.
Heading into halftime, the Raiders were found in a six-point deficit, 20-14, which sounded promising for a close second half until the red zone offense began to stall. The Raiders’ offensive strategy sitting 20 yards or less from the end zone felt drab, uncreative, and almost uncomfortable. Las Vegas did an impressive job driving down the field against one of the league’s best defenses, but could not find much success in the red zone against them.
Upon arriving in the red zone, the Raiders seemed quite content to simply make it to the red zone and settle for a field goal. There was no “special Gruden touch” to the playcalling and not once did the team take a chance on fourth and goal despite trailing for all but one minute of the entire game.
Not His Fault
Derek Carr and the passing portion of the offense did well, until having to play for chunk plays with a faster tempo, and the running game went as expected as Josh Jacobs rushed for only 49 yards.
However, late in the fourth, with the game not yet decided, the Raiders ran the exact same play four straight times. Should this play consistently get them 15-20 yards, it would make sense. However, this play (a five-yard checkdown to Jalen Richard) totaled 23 yards through three straight times. Subsequently, the fourth consecutive play ricocheted off Richard’s hands, leading for a touchdown.
The assumption was the Raiders would have to be creative and crafty to beat the Colts, but somehow came out with the most vanilla, predictable game plan and it went as well as anyone may have thought.