Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' Week 5 loss to Broncos
Not quite good enough
The Raiders played pretty well on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. That didn’t matter to head coach Jack Del Rio. His Raiders didn’t play well enough to beat an AFC West rival on this particular Sunday. He doesn’t focus on positives from negative results right after games, an admirable quality in this black-and-white league. There were some bad moments, and not enough good to keep up in a 16-10 loss at O.co Coliseum...
5) Woodson an ageless wonder
Raiders safety Charles Woodson turned 39 on Wednesday, and continues playing defensive back at an incredibly high level. He had two interceptions on Sunday afternoon, and has four in his last three games. All of them were clutch, and helped his team out of a jam. He has done so much despite a bum shoulder. It’s easy to say he’s playing well at 39, but he’s playing well regardless of age. Don’t forget: Woodson currently leads the NFL in interceptions. There isn’t an age limit on that.
4) Defense evolving well
The Raiders defense gave up 60 points in the first two games. They’ve improved steadily since then despite injury struggles in the secondary. Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. altered his defensive alignment some and shifted personnel to find appropriate fits in different packages. The defense played its best on Sunday, allowing just three field goals to Peyton Manning and Denver’s offense. They forced two takeaways, had two sacks and played well in the red zone and on third down. The Raiders need to build on this performance in future weeks.
3) Raiders can compete with top team
There were times in recent years where the Denver Broncos seemed invincible. Peyton Manning had the offense humming, and the defense was stingy and fierce. The defense may be better, but the Broncos can be had. They’ve earned a 5-0 record, but they can be beat in a low scoring game. That defense is excellent – the secondary is sneaky strong – but the offense doesn’t overwhelm. In recent seasons, the Raiders weren’t in Denver’s class. They can compete with teams like Denver. The next step is actually beating them.
2) Young skill players still learning
Separate interpretations between what quarterback Derek Carr read in Denver’s defense and receiver Seth Roberts didn’t was responsible for a costly pick-six in the fourth quarter. Amari Cooper’s second-half production was once again lower than the first. Due to injury or performance, running back Latavius Murray hasn’t been the steady presence expected the last two weeks. This young group is still learning and growing together, meaning mistakes will be made on the learning curve. The Raiders will pay for that sometimes in the win column. That was certainly the case on Sunday.
1) Complete game evades Raiders
The Raiders have themselves to blame for consecutive losses. Despite solid play, they made too many mistakes to beat a good team like the Broncos. Turnovers happen, but the Raiders had one returned for a touchdown. Typically reliable special teams had a field goal blocked and Sebastian Janikowski missed a go-ahead attempt in the fourth quarter. Those things can’t happen in tight games. Execution lapses in any of the three phases can kill in these close games, especially when they’re ill-timed.