Bair's Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' Week 10 loss to Vikings
Can't get over the hump
The Raiders’ season continues to seesaw, using the .500 mark as its pivot point. Fans getting excited to fly above it, only to get brought back down to earth. Gravity isn’t pulling. It’s the Raiders themselves, unable to assert themselves consistently enough to become real players in the AFC wild card race. Defense is proving troublesome, and typically strong special teams had a costly hiccup in Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Derek Carr can’t save the team every week. The team must push itself back up and stay there, something it has been yet unable to do.
5) Good players gash Raiders defense
Last week, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown made the Raiders look silly. He’s one of the NFL’s best receivers, but 284 yards in one game is a bit excessive. This time it was Adrian Peterson getting fat. Minnesota’s star running back had 203 yards and a touchdown against a good Raiders run defense that was undisciplined at key moments. While the Raiders won’t face those types of players each week, they have to slow the best to be considered legitimate contenders.
4) Raiders played Vikings football
Teams want to assert their will upon a game, playing their style to their strengths. The Vikings dictated tempo from the outset, and established dominant position. They couldn’t slow Adrian Peterson down enough to force quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to beat them. The Vikings played soft coverage to avoid the Raiders going deep, so the Raiders never made them pay with long, sustained drives. The Vikings were patient, waiting for mistakes to jump upon. The Raiders made a few too many.
3) Special teams miscue proves costly
The Raiders play well on special teams, especially in coverage. They got burned on Sunday by Cordarrelle Patterson, and it was a killer. He sapped Raiders momentum with a 93-yard kickoff return expertly blocked down the left sideline, ending a run of 14 unanswered Raiders points. The Raiders came out sluggish at half and didn’t score again, bowing to a team that played better after that big special teams blow.
2) Soft coverage hard to beat
The Vikings talented pass defense seemed content to play back and avoid getting beat by a big play in the second half of Sunday’s game. They got hurt by them in the first half, and were content to sit back and avoid that happening again. The Raiders weren’t able to sustain drives or establish rushing consistency to change the Vikings game plan. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were relatively boring. That resulted in a scoreless half for the Raiders offense and a fourth-quarter interception in the end zone that killed comeback hopes for good.
1) Raiders falling behind the pace
The Raiders were favored to win a game at home. They couldn’t do it. They’ve fallen behind in an increasingly crowded pack of wild-card seekers with two straight losses against quality competition. While the schedule gets easier from now on, none of these games are automatic for a team to thus far unable to sustain excellence within a game or assert its will from week to week.