GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Raiders knew they had to score consistently to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This had the makings of a shootout early as teams exchanged blows, but the back and forth went lopsided during a second-quarter swing that turned this game on its ear.
It was the first of three Raiders red-zone disasters, with Derek Carr’s fumble out of the end zone for a touchback, Josh Jacobs’ turnover on downs after getting stuffed before the goal line and Carr’s late interception. That’s 21 points taken off the board in an 18-point loss to the Packers.
“We were able to throw it and run it efficiently for most of the game,” Carr said. “When we got inside the 5 is where we let it go. Turning the ball over down there can’t happen. At the end of the day, we have to finish. We have to finish those drives. We were doing a great job on third down, but finishing in the red zone will be a point of emphasis this week.”
That was a major Raiders failing in this outcome, where the Silver and Black struggled in some area and excelled in others. Let’s take a look at the complete Raiders report card from Sunday’s loss to the Packers:
Josh Jacobs keeps on breaking personal bests. The rookie had a career-high 124 yards on 21 carries, including a bruising opening salvo certainly felt by Adrian Amos, with a 42-yard scamper two plays later and a 27-yard run in the second half. He churned out 5.9 yards per carry and was as effective and efficient as ever in his latest performance, continuing a stack of excellent showings.
Jacobs said the fullback and offensive line set the tone, but he was the star of the show. Jacobs got shut down at the goal line, however, with a leap that went nowhere after the Packers sniffed it out. He has been excellent near the end zone but couldn’t get it done on a few occasions Sunday and Carr was running when he fumbled out of the end zone. Those play really that hurt the team.
Carr missed some early throws high but found great rhythm after that, completing 22-of-28 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. His interception in the end zone came late but still isn’t a risk worth taking trying to throw over double coverage trying to connect with Foster Moreau.
Carr was efficient despite not having Tyrell Williams and Zay Jones, who were rendered inactive. Darren Waller was awesome as usual and Moreau had another solid day. Tight ends paced the passing game yet again and have become a formidable force each week.
The typically stout Raiders run defense had another strong day, allowing just 60 yards on 23 total carries. Take away Aaron Jones’ 15-yard run and the Packers averaged 2.04 yards per carry. That’s a solid sum and a sign that the linebackers, defensive linemen in the base defense especially were typically solid slowing down the opposing ground game.
That’s the Raiders’ defensive bedrock and will be all season. It’s a positive that run defense has held strong since getting gashed by Dalvin Cook back in Week 3.
Rodgers had a perfect passer rating over 31 throws. Wrap your head around that. That has happened just a handful of times in modern NFL history. That’s how good Rodgers was on Sunday. He completed nine passes of 21 yards or more, including three scores, and had five passing touchdowns total. Sure, Rodgers is awesome. The Raiders also didn’t play well.
Gareon Conley in particular struggled to cover and tackle well, though most cornerbacks got beat handily at least once. It was a bad day at the office for all involved, from the pass rush -- Clelin Ferrell was invisible on Sunday -- to the guys asked to cover in the secondary. This constituted a no-good, very-bad day for the pass defense, giving up 429 yards through the air and averaged 13.2 yards per attempt. That’s terrible. The Raiders simply must do better.
[RELATED: Raiders reported to be trade-deadline buyers]
Trevor Davis had a a nice kickoff return and a nice punt return against his old team. A.J. Cole only punted twice and put both attempts inside the opposing 20-yard line and had a 59-yard boomer. Daniel Carlson hit his lone field goal attempt. The Raiders pinned the Packers deep on every drive, but then couldn’t stop them defensively. That’s not the kicking game’s fault.
The Raiders don’t have the talent and quick-strike capability to make up for major mistakes, and they made too many against an excellent Packers team. That’s a recipe for trouble. The costly late-first-half swing completely changed this game, and the Raiders never recovered. They have won games playing their way, establishing early leads held by an efficient run game.
The Packers' passing attack was relentless, and Rodgers went for the knockout when he saw the Raiders wobble. This doesn’t mean the Raiders are a bad team or have no chance to beat similarly proficient competition. But, on this day, they were the inferior team unable to rebound after a major setback.