CINCINNATI -- The Raiders still don’t have a winning streak this season. They have three wins, but each was a singular entity. It takes at least two to constitute a streak, and the Silver and Black had a real chance to secure one Sunday.
They didn’t do many things right, fell into an early hole and never dug out in losing 30-16 to the Bengals.
Let’s grade out this Raiders performance in our Week 15 report card:
The Raiders fell behind early and therefore weren’t able to commit to attacking the NFL’s worst run defense. That was a tough turn, because running back Doug Martin seemed poised to churn out yards against a defense like this.
Missing guard Gabe Jackson and Kelechi Osemele was a major setback, but Martin had just nine attempts at 4.3 yards per clip. Jalen Richard lost a fumble, and that’s inexcusable.
Derek Carr was under pressure all day. He was sacked five times and hit twice more, with pressure coming from inside and off the edge. That prevented the quarterback from retaining his form from two previously strong performances, and the Raiders couldn’t do enough to erase an early 17-point Bengals lead.
Cincinnati clearly wasn’t going to let Jared Cook beat them -- the tight end had just two catches for 23 yards -- and it was a good strategy without dangerous options left open.
Joe Mixon’s slashing, downhill rushing style was kryptonite to the Raiders. He totaled 129 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, which was enough to carry Cincinnati to victory despite lackluster quarterback play. It’s hard to blame any one player for rough run defense, but it wasn’t good enough up the middle and off the edge.
Driskel won a game with a 51.3 passer rating, 130 passing yards and 3.6 yards per attempt. That’s mind-boggling.
Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley was lost with a concussion, and he'll be missed if he doesn’t return soon. The Silver and Black didn’t let anybody go off in the passing game, but the run defense wasn't steady enough. Erik Harris made a nice pick, and played well as a deep safety.
Daniel Carlson took another step toward becoming the long-term kicker, with a 50-yard field goal right through the uprights. Punter Johnny Townsend was just OK.
The kickoff-return team let the Raiders down by allowing Alex Erickson to go 77 yards in the fourth quarter after cutting the deficit to one score. That led to the game-icing touchdown, and coach Jon Gruden wasn’t happy about it.
The Raiders hoped for better despite a banged-up offensive line, but they couldn’t do much against a poor team. They were beat at the line of scrimmage, and that’s always a recipe for defeat.