JACKSONVILLE — The shock in the Las Vegas Raiders locker room was palpable after their latest record-setting come-from-ahead loss, 27-20, at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
And while defensive end Maxx Crosby had “no idea” if there was a silver lining in the defeat, slot receiver Hunter Renfrow said the goal was to “not walk around like it’s a funeral” and stay positive. Quarterback Derek Carr preferred to keep his most private thoughts to himself, while receiver Davante Adams spoke freely.
“There’s no reason why we should be losing games like this and it’s frustrating,” Adams said at his locker after a lengthy talk with Carr. “If we played for a s—ty team, then it’s one thing. But that’s not what it is.”
What it was, though, was Las Vegas losing its third game of the season after holding at least a 17-point lead — 20-0 against Arizona, 17-0 at Kansas City and 17-0 in Jacksonville — to fall to 2-6 under new coach Josh McDaniels. This after being 10-7 and a playoff team last year under interim coach Rich Bisaccia, who took over in Week 6 after Jon Gruden resigned.
The Raiders’ three losses after leading by at least 17 points this season ties the mark for most such losses by any team in NFL history, and it’s only been done two other times: by the 2020 Los Angeles Chargers and the 2003 Atlanta Falcons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Raiders had never had two such losses before this season.
Over the last two weeks, the Raiders have been shut out by the New Orleans Saints and then blown the 17-point lead, marking the eighth time in league history a team has been blanked and blown such a lead in consecutive games, regardless of order — the first time it’s happened since the Cleveland Browns did it in 2009. The Raiders, who also accomplished the ignominious mark in 1997, are the only team to do it multiple times now.
Entering this season, the Raiders had won 52 of their last 54 games, dating to 2000, when leading by at least 17 points.
Perhaps most galling for the Raiders in general, and Adams in particular, was how fast they had started by throwing the ball to Adams. In building a 17-0 lead, Adams had nine catches on nine targets for a season-high 146 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time in his nine-year career Adams had at least 100 yards receiving and multiple receiving TDs in a half.
The rest of the game, though, Adams had one catch, for no yards, on eight targets.
“The way we were attacking in the first half was working, to a certain extent,” Adams said. “I feel like we got away from that and started playing the game a little different and that’s not the way we’ve got to do it.”
Still, Adams would also say he was not taking a shot at his coaches or McDaniels’ scheme.
“But at the end of the day, if I’m rolling in certain situations like that, or if the pass game is something that’s helping us move the ball and win games, then, obviously, that’s the idea,” Adams said. “You want to stick with what’s working.”
Even, as Adams said, the Raiders want to have a balanced offense, with one of the top running backs in the league in Josh Jacobs.
“So, I understand that part of it,” he said, “but I also understand the part that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s kind of the way I think … so at the end of the day, we don’t need to make it any spicier than it needs to be, but I think y’all feel me on that.
“We did a decent enough job to still put ourselves in a decent position moving into the second half and then, we just, basically fell apart. I don’t even know how else to even characterize it. But it’s frustrating. Ain’t No way we should be losing games at the rate we are, let alone the way that we are, and over the middle at the end of the game, I’ve got to make a play on that ball.”
Carr, meanwhile, kept a relatively tight lip when asked about the Raiders blowing their third 17-plus point lead.
“There is a lot I want to say, you know, but if I’m honest, I don’t need to say it here,” he said. “There are things that will be said [internally] … things in-house that we’ll talk about man-to-man and all that kind of stuff that could be addressed.”
McDaniels, who is 7-23 as a head coach after a 6-0 start with the Denver Broncos in 2009, said most of Adams’ success in the first half came against single-coverage.
And a week after apologizing for the showing in the 24-0 loss in New Orleans, he said the latest collapse was a result of not playing well for 60 minutes. The Raiders also spent the week practicing at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“I don’t sense that our team relaxes when we have that situation, but obviously that might be the wrong thing, you know what I mean?” McDaniels said. “And so, we’ve played, like I said, some stretches of football that are good. Good enough to get ahead and produce a lead, but that’s not what this league is about.”