The Cincinnati Bengals won the most important game of their season on Sunday, and 3 immediate takeaways from the Raiders’ close playoff loss to them.
1) The Season is not over for Oakland yet: With a win against Indianapolis in week 17, they would have had a chance to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Instead, they lost by 2 points at Arrowhead Stadium with less than 30 seconds left in regulation time.
2) Derek Carr was awful: In what has been an otherwise incredible year for him, he was absolutely terrible in this game throwing 4 interceptions and completing only 6 passes out of 23 attempts—his lowest total since his rookie campaign (6).
3) The Defense Was Outplayed: Even though it made up for some mistakes that hurt them earlier this season when facing good quarterbacks like Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger; it wasn’t enough today as Andy Dalton threw 5 touchdown passes without giving up any turnovers–the first time he’s done so all year long.
The “2002 afc championship game” was a close game that the Raiders lost. The 3 takeaways from the game are: 1) Kiffin’s play calling, 2) Carr’s injury and 3) Derek Carr.
The Wild Card Playoff meeting between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals did not go as planned. The Raiders had to overcome a lot of obstacles to make it to the playoffs this season, but Derek Carr and company were unable to defeat the Bengals’ high-octane offense. We’ll look at some Raiders Wild Card Playoff takeaways while the Raiders-Bengals game is still fresh in our minds.
Despite the defeat, the Raiders put up a strong performance, with numerous players participating in many aspects of the game. While the Raiders fought hard to keep the game close, the Bengals were just the better team this time. The Raiders defense came up big and made several crucial stops, but the offense couldn’t capitalize. The squad made a gutsy second-half comeback, but their offensive basics issues cost them dearly. The Raiders’ progress under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia was evident throughout the game, but they just lacked the firepower to surpass the Bengals.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most important lessons from the Raiders’ Wild Card defeat to the Bengals.
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Takeaways from the Raiders’ Wild Card Game
3. Government officials played an important role.
The 26-19 defeat wasn’t without controversy, as supporters questioned a specific decision made by officials. An erroneous whistle blew on the field as Burrow connected with Tyler Boyd for a touchdown to give Cincy a 20-6 lead, leading the Raiders defense to come to a halt. Despite NFL rules indicated that the play should have been stopped due to the erroneous whistle, the Bengals were able to keep their lead, much to the chagrin of Raiders fans and players. While it’s difficult to tell if the whistle had an influence on the touchdown, the fact remains that the refs created a lot of doubt where none should have been, and the Raiders were forced to pay the price. Given that the game was decided by a single touchdown, the Boyd touchdown definitely had a substantial influence on the result; nonetheless, one may argue that Boyd was going to score on that play regardless of the official’s error.
2. Josh Jacobs’ effect was lessened due to an early disadvantage.
The Raiders’ Josh Jacobs got off to a fast start in the first half, but they couldn’t reach the end zone to put his efforts to good use. Soon after, the Raiders were behind by two touchdowns, forcing the offense to forsake the run game in order to keep the game close. What’s the end result? Jacobs ended the game with 83 yards on 13 carries, the most of which came in the first half. With Jacobs as one of the offense’s most significant players, the team’s inability to run the ball as a result of their disadvantage took away a key component of their offensive identity. To no one’s fault, the Raiders’ self-proclaimed ‘closer’ was rarely a factor in the second half, although the Raiders would have preferred a game script that gave Jacobs more touches. Jacobs has run for more than 125 yards in two of his previous three games coming into this contest. Despite his outstanding performance leading up to the playoffs, Jacobs’ role was diminished as the Raiders’ failure to convert great drives into touchdowns forced them to switch to a pass-heavy strategy.
1. The Raiders’ defense performed well, but the offense did not.
While the Raiders’ offense struggled to get out of their early hole, their defense played well. Despite the Bengals made five visits to the red zone throughout the game, they were only able to score two touchdowns. The Raiders’ defense came up with crucial stops, forcing Cincinnati to settle for three field goals. Carr and the offense, on the other hand, couldn’t get it done on the other side of the field, being crushed in the red zone and failing to score during important moments. In the first quarter, the Raiders also made costly holding penalties and a couple false starts, blunders that are just inexcusable in a playoff game. While Derek Carr threw for over 300 yards in the defeat, the Raiders’ false starts and a few wayward passes that he should have made proved costly as they tried to rally against the Bengals.
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