Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' Week 1 loss to Bengals
Where to begin?
Well, that didn’t go well. The Raiders got destroyed 33-13 by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum and let down a loyal fan base believing the 2015 season could be the start of something different. Instead, new head coach Jack Del Rio and his Raiders served up more of the same. More losing, more embarrassment for players and fans alike. The Raiders got beat in every facet, but let’s focus on the top five takeaways from Sunday’s loss. That was a tough list to whittle down. There were plenty to choose from.
5) Cornerbacks not making plays on the ball
DJ Hayden gave up a touchdown pass in coverage. Nickel back Neiko Thorpe allowed one as well, and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said he threw one of them because Thorpe hadn’t turned around. The Raiders had four passes defensed, and three of them came from defensive linemen. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who got outcoached at times, hates giving up big plays. The Bengals connected on five plays over 20 yards, four of which came through the air. Gotta do better young cornerbacks.
4) Raiders pass-rush a non-factor, Aldon included
It’s tough to generate a pass rush when a quarterback gets rid of it quick. That’s what Dalton did on Sunday afternoon, negating the advantage of having Justin Tuck, Khalil Mack and recent-signee Aldon Smith on the field at the same time. The Raiders had no sacks, two tackles for a loss and just one quarterback hit against Cincinnati. The pass rush has to get going and create game-changing plays in the future, meaning the Raiders must defend short passes better than they did Sunday. Tuck had a decent game, but Mack and Smith have to get more involved.
3) New Raiders LBs struggle
The Raiders have an all-new linebacker corps featuring three-down players Malcolm Smith and Ray-Ray Armstrong. Both guys had bad moments, but Armstrong, over-pursued at times, and couldn’t wrap up at others. Both players struggled to shore up the middle of the field, where Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert secured most of his nine receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. While the Raiders don’t miss Sio Moore’s attitude, it seems they missed his tackling ability against Cincinnati.
2) Beat up and beat down
Cincinnati played physical football against the Raiders, who got pushed around regularly in this contest. The Silver and Black can handle a few hard hits. They can’t survive without key players, four of which got hurt in this game. Defensive tackle Justin Ellis (ankle) and free safety Nate Allen (knee) early on. Quarterback Derek Carr was lost with a hand injury, and strong safety Charles Woodson suffered a shoulder injury late. Those are all vital players, and losing any of them for an extended stretch could extend Sunday’s impact beyond one game.
1) Slide, Derek! Slide!
The Raiders were in a 10-0 hole and struggling at the outset, so you could see why quarterback Derek Carr tried to inspire his troops by running for a first down the hard way, with hard contact. A slide in that spot could’ve gotten a first down – he didn’t get it – and avoided him injuring his hand/finger trying to stiff-arm a defender. Carr has to play smart there, live to fight another play and understand the Raiders are significantly better with him on the field all game long.