The Raiders failed to stop the run or pass versus the Bills. Josh Allen barely missed a pass. James Cook surpassed 120 rushing yards on only 17 carries.
Vegas failed to do much on offense too. Jimmy Garoppolo threw two interceptions. One was kind of when the game was out of reach. The first one was on a busted screen. Josh Jacobs finished the game with negative rushing yards on nine attempts. Jacobs was also the team’s second leading receiver with five catches for 51 rushing yards. This offense doesn’t move the same playing from behind.
The Blls overall had their way with the Raiders defense. Backup Buffalo runners Latavius Murray and Damien Harris combined for an additional 55 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The bright spot last week was the two sacks made by Raiders linebackers. Robert Spillane and Divine Deablo both got one sack last week. Those two players along with Maxx Crobsy, Marcus Epps and Nate Hobbs are among the Raiders best graded players, per PFF.
Vegas’ defensive line, outside of Crosby, is ranked terribly bad by PFF through two games. Overall, the Raiders defensive line got pushed around. Buffalo really controlled the game outside of the Raiders scoring first.
The offensive line earns solid PFF grades mostly due to their reliable pass blocking. Garoppolo has yet to be sacked this season. Some of that credit goes to Jimmy getting the ball out quick. Dylan Parham is the lowest graded starting offensive lineman currently. Collectively, the group could do more on thier double teams.
Now, the Silver and Black come home to face an old-time rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh stole one on Monday Night Football last week after Browns star runner Nick Chubb went down. Cleveland starting quarterback Deshaun Watson failed to carry his team to victory late in the game.
The Browns should have won that game but the biggest difference maker was the Pittsburgh pass rush. They sacked Watson six times, including one sack from sta T.J. Watt. Markus Golden, Larry Ogunjobi, Demarvi Leal, Elijah Riley and Alex Highsmith all got sacks. Every Raiders offensive linemen is going to have their pass blocking put to the test. Vegas needs to keep their heads up to identify blitzes and stunts.
Pittsburgh has also failed to get Najee Harris going this season. He finished last week’s game with 43 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Some of that gets attributed to the team battling back from a deceit. Harris has 74 rushing yards on 16 attempts for the year. He did not do much on the ground last year but made an impact as a receiver out of the backfield.
Regardless, the Raiders can’t afford to let Harris get going early. Running back Jaylen Warren has also been a passing threat out of the backfield. Warren has 9 receptions for 78 yards. The Raiders linebackers must be on their toes.
The Raiders secondary will also get pushed. Pittsburgh receiver George Pickens scored a 71 yard receiving touchdown last week. Otherwise, he has 8 catches for 92 yards on the year. Across from him Allen Robinson had a solid week versus the 49ers the week before. Robinson has 7 receptions for 76 receiving yards and has found his role.
Pittsburgh allowed seven sacks already this season. Maxx Crosby and company need to pressure Kenny Pickett and keep him from getting comfortable. Pickett has also already thrown three interceptions this year too.
Vegas is still waiting for their first interception of the year. The secondary has been better than years past, but they need to help the offense out by getting a pick this week. Pickett likes to get the ball out quick so the Raiders pass rush needs to get to work early and often.
Any turnover would be huge for this Raiders defense. The Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane will take on the team he spent four seasons with before joining the Raiders. Corner Marcus Peters is on this team to create takeaways. Peters needs to get an interception asap. Safety Marcus Epps looked great last week but it would also be great to see him make a play on the ball.
Either way, the Raiders need to set the tone on offense. They need to get Josh Jacobs and the running game going. Pittsburgh has allowed the second most rushing yards this season. Getting Jacobs going will take the pressure of Garoppolo. He’s much better protecting a lead, instead of having to push the ball downfield.
Davante Adams has found ways to be effective despite the offense not really running through him. He has 12 receptions for 150 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Steelers are in the middle of the pack as far as pass defense.
There is not another player on the Steelers that can matchup with Adams. Plus, Jakobi Meyers should be back in the lineup. He and Jimmy G. had a natural chemistry. Hunter Renfrow made a play last week. Austin Hooper also made a couple of solid catches last week. That should open up things for Adams over the top.
Again, the Raiders secondary will get tested. However, they should get some more help from the pass rush. The Raiders defensive line must earn the right to rush the passer by stopping the run. Their interior defensive linemen need to play with more hands and better anchors. They can not get pushed around again this week.
A turnover would be great to help this unit gain some confidence. It will give the Raiders defense some added room for error too. Vegas is -4 in the turnover ratio already.
The Raiders will return to their home field for the first time this season. Still, it could be a hostile environment filled with Steelers fans. We never like losing to the Terrible Towel.
Vegas has the Los Angeles Chargers and Green Bay Packers coming up. Both could be really tough games that they might not be able to lose. Nobody wants to be 1-4.
Bottom line, the Raiders need a win. It’s far from a must win. However, a victory would do a lot to build some momentum and confidence for Vegas after such a bad loss. A win here should help the Raiders establish their identity, especially if they can establish the run and create some turnovers.