Raiders Rewind: Week 3 Blowout Loss To Vikings Confirms Many of Greatest Fears

Heading into Sunday’s Week 3 game in Minnesota against the Vikings, I noted that the Oakland Raiders had a ton of questions that needed to be answered. And, well, they were answered alright — just not in the fashion any Raider fan would have hoped for.

After a Week 1 victory against the Broncos, optimism was running rampant in Oakland — and even after a Week 2 throttling at the hands of the Chiefs, there were plenty of reasons to think that maybe Week 1 was a better indication of who this team was than Week 2.

And then Sunday happened, as the Raiders fell 34-14 to the Vikings in a game that wasn’t even that close in the second half. After falling behind 21-0, the Raiders made a slight effort to crawl back into the game in the second quarter, but a key drop ended the drive that could have made it a one-score game (with the Raiders set to get the ball to start the third). Instead, the Vikings extended the lead as far as 34-7 before the Raiders got a garbage-time touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game.

With that said, here are three observations from Sunday:

Darren Baller

We’ll start with the lone positive here, but tight end Darren Waller — who the coaching staff has been hyping up for almost a year — is a straight-up baller. Waller finished with 13 catches for 134 yards as it seemed like he was the only Oakland weapon who could create any form of separation.

Of course, even Waller wasn’t perfect as he dropped the big third-down pass in the second quarter (which admittedly was an imperfect pass), but on a day like today, I’m not going to make any negative comments about him.

Offense kills defense

It’s weird to say in a game in which they allowed 34 points, but I felt like that scoreline was a bit unfair to the Oakland defense. The Raider offense didn’t do their compatriots any favors in the first half, running just 10 plays in the first 19 minutes (13:17 of which featured the Raider defense on the field).

While the defense needs to do better than allowing 21 points that quickly, of course, I think that opening stretch really wore the defense down — which was evident in the second half.

Defensively, I thought the biggest weakness was the Raiders’ inability to cover the Minnesota wide receivers. It seemed like whenever Minnesota needed a big play in the first half, Adam Thielen, Irv Smith Jr. and Stefon Diggs were wide open. And, yes, the Raider defense did also allow 211 rushing yards on the day, so safe to say there was plenty of blame to go around.

Raider offense remains conservative

A couple interesting notes: first, the Raiders didn’t attempt a pass that travelled beyond the first down marker until the 7:26 mark in the second quarter (this was the touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson). Waiting to fall down 21-0 before throwing the ball past the sticks seems like it might be a problem?

Second, it seemed to be on first glance that the Raider play-calling was too predictable on first down. So, I went back and looked through the play-by-play, and sure enough, that was the case. Taking away the last drive in either half (essentially the two-minute drill), the Raiders ran the ball on first down 12 out of 15 times.

Now, on Sunday that wasn’t too much of an issue as they actually ran it pretty effectively — everyone besides Carr combined to average just over 4.6 yards per carry. However, combine both of these things and you’ll see why the Raider offense might have had trouble moving the ball.

If everyone knows you’re running it on first down and you aren’t throwing the ball more than 7-10 yards down the field, it makes the defense’s job super easy. Something to keep an eye on moving forward.

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