With their 30-27 loss, the Las Vegas Raiders effectively ended their season a Thursday night. With no one to blame, this team fell apart when it mattered most. Under the weight of an early-season hot streak, they faltered late. With only a couple of games remaining, the Raiders must look in the mirror to ascertain where they go from here. This loss stung but will resonate for months.
Derek Carr pulled up with an apparent groin injury. The Raiders’ QB left the game and did not return. As of this writing, his status remains unclear. Carr winced in excruciating pain as he left the field. In hindsight, this could possibly his final snap of the 2020 campaign.
After Carr left with an injury, the team turned to Marcus Mariota, in hopes of jumpstarting the offense. Mariota responded with 314 yards of total offense, including eighty-eight yards rushing and a score. Mariota looked sharp, dropping the ball over the defense for his lone touchdown pass. More importantly, he provided the Raiders a legitimate running threat, as he made the Chargers pay for lapses in gap integrity and discipline. If Carr’s injury keeps him sidelined, the Raiders need to definitely see what Mariota brings to the table.
It Wasn’t Guenther
When the Raiders dismissed their defensive coordinator, people really believed that would alter the narrative. Yet, all Guenther’s firing showed was that the team remains poorly constructed. Granted, Guenther rarely adjusted after halftime. Yet, Mayock and Gruden assembled the unit.
If you’re honest, Jon Gruden’s decision to not go for the touchdown on fourth and goal from the five lost the game. Facing a tired defense, the Raiders needed to try a play. At worst, they would give the Chargers the ball at the five and the length of the field to drive Gruden displayed a lack of faith in his offense. Now, he did the same thing versus the Bills. Why? For all of his talk and blister, Jon Gruden coached afraid to win in this game. The Las Vegas Raiders season started with promise, ended with a whimper.