GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Raiders rode a wave of positivity back from London. They were 3-2 and feeling great after consecutive wins over the Colts and Bears, entering a bye week with a chance to get healthy and prep for another big game against another playoff contender.
This one didn’t go as well as the previous two. The Raiders made too many mistakes, without the raw talent on defense to negate them, in a 42-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
The Raiders fell to .500 at 3-3, still a solid record despite this missed opportunity. The Raiders will have to do better avoiding pratfalls next week against the Houston Texans or risk losing a second straight.
This game changed in the red zone, where the Raiders turned it over thrice. That included a second-quarter meltdown where Derek Carr fumbled into the end zone and out of bounds for a touchback. They turned it over on downs and then Carr threw a late interception in the end zone, cementing this loss for good.
Everything had to go right against Aaron Rodgers, who was awesome while scoring five touchdowns in this one, and little did at critical moments.
This result will force the Raiders defense to regroup and rally before playing Houston next week. Here are my three takeaways from a tough loss on the road.
Killer second-quarter swing
The Raiders were 2 yards from pay dirt with roughly two minutes left in the second quarter when Carr took off running. He sprinted to his right, angling for the pylon with a defender bearing down. He reached out for the goal line and … lost control of the football. The football sailed into the end zone and out of bounds.
Touchback. That’s exactly what happened in a 2017 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Carr reached out and fumbled it out of the end zone on the Raiders’ final play. He did the same thing reaching for a first-down marker in Week 2 against Kansas City and couldn’t hang on.
The Raiders, who have a virtual sure thing in Josh Jacobs scoring near the goal line, lost possession without points, and then made things worse by giving up an 80-yard touchdown drive to Rodgers just before the first half.
The 14-point swing was a brutal turn in a competitive game, creating two scores separation with the Packers getting the ball to start the second half.
The Raiders can’t make mistakes like that and expect to remain competitive against tough teams, especially on the road. They were moving the ball well the entire half but really hurt themselves at the end of the second quarter.
Josh Jacobs is something special
The Raiders made an excellent selection at No. 24 overall, bringing the Alabama running back into the fray. Jacobs seems to look better each week, with maybe his best run as a professional on Sunday against the Packers.
He eluded several on a 42-yard run where he sliced through the Packers secondary, showing great wiggle, change of direction and burst. That came two plays after his opening salvo, a run to the right that he finished by smashing a Packers defender to bully for extra yards.
He’s clearly the team’s MVP and a sure thing near the goal line, with everything you’re looking for in a running back. He finished with 21 carries for a career-high 124 yards against the Packers, showing well regardless of game situation. The Raiders will continue to use him heavily, which gives them a real chance to win games.
Can’t make mistakes facing greatness
The Raiders have three victories this season, with Ws coming against Joe Flacco, Jacoby Brissett and Chase Daniel. Aaron Rodgers is a bit better than that trio, even if you combined all of their best qualities into one quarterback.
The Raiders gave Rodgers too much time too often and paid dearly for it. Rodgers picked the Raiders defense apart all day, especially after that disastrous end to the second quarter.
Rodgers finished with 429 yards and five touchdowns on 25-of-31 passing and had a 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Silver and Black mounted stiffer resistance early, but the offense and defense made too many mistakes to keep up with Rodgers on this day. They can get away with some miscues against lower-tier quarterbacks, but they’ll struggle to compete against the good ones. That’s a hard lesson to learn and advice they must heed with Deshaun Watson up next on the schedule.