DENVER – Here are three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 16-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday:
1. Third-down woes continue: The Raiders were absolutely an awful 0-for-11 on third down in last week’s loss to Washington. That issue didn’t get fixed. They struggled mightily again in Denver, which halted offensive flow for a second straight game.
The Raiders were 2-for-12 against Denver, a major reason why this potent offense only scored 10 points.
“We need those third downs to keep the drive going,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “It’s hurting us that we’re not able to complete those third downs. We’ve got to start doing better on first and second down to make it more manageable situations. I think that might help. We’ve got a lot work ahead of us.”
Quarterback Derek Carr doesn’t think the offense is far away from getting their third-down issues fixed.
“You have to keep grinding and keep working it,” he said. “We can’t stress out. The little details are what we’re lacking. Some things that are incomplete or missed opportunities, but we’re not far away from making big, big plays. That’s the frustrating part.”
2. Raiders can’t run: The Raiders running game has been stuck in neutral the past two weeks. The NFL’s best run defense made them look especially bad, allowing just 24 yards on 15 carries.
That’s a 1.6-yard average, which makes the Raiders offense predictable late in games. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t done much lately, and had just 12 yards on nine carries. He had six carries for 18 yards last week, struggling to find open space on the inside. They couldn’t muster a yard on a key 4th-down-and-1, turning the ball over on downs at a critical juncture.
“We have to run and pass better,” Carr said. “We have a big O-line and good running backs. We want to be able to run the football better, because it does take stress off the passing game. That’s important when you’re playing a defense like this. They’re as good as they come.”
3. Pass rush picks up: The Raiders were effective getting after the quarterback, with four sacks against Trevor Siemian. Khalil Mack had two, Mario Edwards had one and Bruce Irvin had another.
That’s a positive development for a defense that needs production from the front four. Edwards Jr. has been particularly good this season, with three sacks in four games.
Early Pro Football Focus numbers, which often change in the day after a game, state the Raiders also created 15 other pressures on the day. That helped a coverage unit working without Gareon Conley, one that lost David Amerson to a concussion during the game.
“Everybody’s starting to get their mojo,” Edwards Jr. said. “It’s the fourth game of the season, and everybody has shaken off the cobwebs. We’re coming into our own.”