After dropping a 38-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Raiders must clean up several areas to get back into the win column next weekend. Though things are never as bad as they appear, here are a few observations from the Raiders’ disappointing loss on the road.
Raiders commit too many “DBOs” violations
Josh McDaniels is one of the many coaches who stresses the “DBOs” (Don’t Beat Ourselves) principles to his team. The list is built around the premise of avoiding the self-inflicted mistakes that routinely result in losing outcomes. Turnovers, pre-snap and/or foolish penalties, and big plays allowed are difference-makers in games, and teams who make egregious mistakes are often losers on gameday.
The Raiders finished with a minus-three margin in the takeaway column while surrendering 450 yards of offense on an assortment of big plays on the ground and through the air. Although the Bills’ approach was not fancy, it was effective due to the Raiders’ self-inflicted mistakes throughout the game. From Jimmy Garoppolo’s interceptions to Zamir White’s fumble to the big plays surrendered to James Cook and Gabe Davis, the Raiders did not play winning football, resulting in a lopsided loss.
While the outsiders will suggest the Bills were a superior team based on their individual and collective talents, the Raiders’ miscues ultimately turned a competitive contest into a game that halted the momentum from a Week 1 win.
What happened to Josh Jacobs?
The 2022 NFL rushing champ was expected to run through a Bills defense that allowed 170-plus rush yards in the season opener. As a rugged runner with exceptional vision, balance and body control, Jacobs’ dynamic running style should have given the Bills problems whenever the marquee back was handed the ball.
However, the Bills kept Jacobs under wraps as part of a concerted effort to suffocate the Raiders’ running game. The Bills outworked and outmaneuvered the Raiders at the point of attack while flying to football with reckless abandon. Moreover, the Bills stopped Jacobs with immediate penetration to keep the running back from finding open creases between the tackles.
Although nine rushing attempts are not enough chances for the Raiders’ top offensive weapon, the Bills kept Jacobs quiet, and the offense sputtered without his contributions as a playmaker.
The defense has some work to do
It is hard to win games in the NFL when you cannot force the opponent into a one-dimensional approach. Whether it is controlling the ground attack or suffocating the passing game, the best teams force their opponents to play “left-handed” from the opening snap.
Against the Bills, the Raiders could not control Josh Allen and Co. on the ground or through the air. The Bills rushed for 183 yards on 35 attempts, with James Cook topping the century mark (123 yards) on 17 attempts. The second-year pro repeatedly found seams between the tackles on inside-zone runs and sprint draws while also finding success on the perimeter on bounce plays.
The lack of penetration and gap control was disappointing for a group that prioritizes fundamentals, discipline and physicality.
The Raiders’ pass defense was equally disappointing, with the linebackers and defensive backs unable to contain the Bills’ pass catchers on the perimeter. Allen completed passes to nine different receivers in an efficient effort that saw him finish with just six incompletions.
With the pass rush unable to force Allen off his spot, the Raiders were forced to play a seven-on-seven game against a red-hot quarterback tossing the ball around with supreme confidence.
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