By Shawn Lealos
The Oakland Raiders beat the AFC West division-leading Kansas City Chiefs in their last game, giving the Chiefs only their second loss of the season. However, the Raiders couldn’t follow up their big win this week when they turned the ball over four times and lost to the Buffalo Bills, 34-14, on Sunday. Following a game full of mistakes, here is a look at the Raiders’ team grades for their Week 8 loss.
The Raiders offense has struggled to get anything going this season. That is even more distressing since the team was without Marshawn Lynch for this game due to a suspension. As a result of their struggles, the Raiders finished with four turnovers that cost them the game. Derek Carr, who returned early from an injury a few weeks weeks ago, threw two interceptions compared to just one touchdown toss. He did throw for 313 yards one week after throwing for more than 400 against the Chiefs. However since returning from his injury, in a span of three games, he has tossed four interceptions and only five touchdowns.
Lynch hasn’t been the lynchpin that the Raiders hoped when they signed him and let Latavius Murray leave for the Minnesota Vikings. Lynch has only eclipsed 50 yards twice this season. Murray hasn’t been much better in Minnesota, but the Raiders continued to struggle in the running game, even without Lynch. DeAndre Washington led the way with only 26 yards on six carries, while Jalen Richard chipped in with 21 yards on five carries.
When it came to the passing game, the receivers had a decent outing. Michael Crabtree grabbed five balls for 83 yards while Amari Cooper caught five for 48 yards. Even Lee Smith and Cordarrelle Patterson caught some balls. However, it was Washington who led the way with eight catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. At the end of the day, Carr had nice numbers that were spoiled by the turnovers and lack of touchdowns.
The Raiders defense can’t stop anyone when suffering through their numerous injuries. With players out of action in the secondary and in the linebackers corps, the Bills exploited the remaining players. LeSean McCoy had his best game of the season, running for 151 yards and a touchdown, allowing the Bills to run the clock and control the game.
Tyrod Taylor wasn’t asked to do nearly as much as the Raiders threw onto Carr’s shoulders. Taylor threw 27 passes, completing 20 of them, but only averaged 8.25 yards per completion. He was efficient, throwing one touchdown and no picks, while also running for a touchdown. Because Buffalo threw the ball 27 times and ran it 37 times, they completely controlled the game with a 35:37-24:23 time of possession advantage. The Raiders couldn’t stop the Bills in this game and lost as a result.
Special Teams: C+
Giorgio Tavecchio didn’t attempt a field goal in the rainy conditions on Sunday and kicked two extra points. Despite being questionable on the injury report, punter Marques King played and his injury clearly held him down. Averaging over 50 yards a punt this season, he averaged only 38.25 yards per punt in this game, and when considering one of the punts went 51 yards, it was even worse.
Despite trailing by only two scores until the fourth quarter, the Raiders only ran 14 running plays in the game and threw the ball 49 times. With all the turnovers, it seemed that Jack Del Rio was less interested in safe play than he was in trying to hit a home run—something that never happened. The Raiders are now 3-5 on the season, and are losing the goodwill they built up last year; a lot of the blame has to go on the play calling and coaching staff.
Next week, the Oakland Raiders travel to Florida to battle the Miami Dolphins. This is a huge game because the Raiders are sitting in last place in the AFC West and have a losing record in the conference as well. With the season halfway over for Oakland, they are running out of time to turn things around, and they play the New England Patriots the week after Miami.