The Raiders gave their fans hope after three straight thrilling wins but on Thursday night against the Rams, that hope turned back into despair.
Las Vegas failed to put away an undermanned Rams team and in the end, Los Angeles drove 98 yards for the winning touchdown with just seconds to go. Quarterback Baker Mayfield led the way after joining the Rams two days before kickoff.
Instead of making progress after their three-game winning streak, the Raiders once again blew a lead, as they were ahead by 13 points in the fourth quarter. They should have been ahead by more, but timely mistakes held them back. Here are the winners and losers for the week as Las Vegas fell to 5-8 on the campaign.
Loser: Defense/Patrick Graham
We're starting with losers first this week, and the defense, led by coordinator Patrick Graham, is No. 1 on the list. Facing Mayfield should have been an easy assignment, as he barely knew the playbook. Allowing him to drive 98 yards in just over a minute was astonishing and simply unacceptable.
A spirited effort by the defensive front went to waste, as the Raiders tallied four QB sacks, five tackles for loss, and six QB hits.
Loser: CB Tyler Hall
This loss was a team effort, but I'm about to single a few players out, starting with cornerback Tyler Hall. He's filled in admirably for a secondary in search of answers and facing injury problems, but he allowed the game-winning touchdown and he didn't even see it coming.
Loser: DE Clelin Ferrell
The Raiders were ahead 16-3 in the fourth quarter and had just forced the Rams to punt. Many football fans across America were likely bored or had stopped watching. But defensive end Clelin Ferrell went offsides on the punt and granted LA a first down. (Hall was flagged on the play too, but the penalty was declined.)
The Rams went on to score a touchdown and were down just six points to the Raiders with 3:19 to play, setting the table for Mayfield's comeback.
Loser: CB Amik Robertson/DT Jerry Tillery
The Las Vegas offense went three-and-out after the Rams pulled within six points, and a 64-yard punt from A.J. Cole pinned LA back at their own 2-yard line.
Safety Duron Harmon intercepted Mayfield on 3rd-and-2 but CB Amik Robertson was called for a blatant holding penalty. A play later, defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Chander Jones sacked Mayfield for a nine-yard loss, but defensive tackle Jerry Tillery knocked the ball from Mayfield's hand after the play, ruining Vegas' momentum and providing the Rams with free yards.
Loser: WR D.J. Turner
Though the Raiders outgained the Rams 235 yards to 95 in the first half, they only held a 13-3 advantage at the break. A drop by wide receiver D.J. Turner epitomized the day for the offense. Las Vegas reached the 8-yard line and was pushed back to the 13 before Turner dropped a throw from QB Derek Carr on a WR screen.
Though it was unclear whether Turner would have earned a first down, he didn't even give himself or the Raiders a chance and contributed to the team's malaise.
Loser: FB Jakob Johnson
The Raiders offense started the second half cold, too. Fullback Jakob Johnson's holding penalty set them back on their first drive in the second half; a 15-yard run on a draw play from running back Josh Jacobs and a valiant attempt at a first down run from Carr couldn't get Las Vegas ahead of the sticks again, setting the tone for a scoreless third quarter and just 67 second-half yards for the Raiders.
Loser: QB Derek Carr
Clearly, there is a lot of blame to go around after this loss. Carr is on the Loser list too, due to his 36.9 passer rating, a career low.
He finished with zero touchdowns and two interceptions, though one INT came on a desperate heave as time expired. But his pick just before halftime cost the Raiders dearly and looked rather inept.
Carr's interception wasted a 10-play, 73-yard drive that was a result of a Rams turnover.
Loser: HC Josh McDaniels
It's hard to say exactly what coach Josh McDaniels did wrong in this loss, and execution was undoubtedly a factor, but it's safe to claim he coached conservatively on Thursday.
While Jacobs had 27 carries and averaged just 3.7 yards per tote, superstar WR Davante Adams was targeted only seven times. McDaniels kept feeding Jacobs the ball even after Jacobs injured his right hand, apparently somewhat seriously.
McDaniels punted the ball on 4th-and-1 near midfield on Vegas' first drive of the second half, but his decision to run an injured Jacobs up the middle three times as the Raiders clung to a 16-10 lead was more puzzling. Las Vegas went 3-and-out, providing a path for Mayfield's heroics.
Winner: DE Chandler Jones
Jones built on his AFC Defensive Player of the Week performance against the Chargers and had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a full QB sack, two QB hits, and numerous pressures. He also forced at least one holding penalty, as did Crosby.
Winner: RB Josh Jacobs
Jacobs didn't have his best day but he showed some serious heart after injuring his hand. It was a throwback performance, as he appeared unwilling to leave the lineup at any cost. It was impressive, but McDaniels would have been wise to use him as a decoy instead of continuing to hand him the ball.
Winner: Offensive line
The offensive line suffered injuries to guard Alex Bars and offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor but still didn't allow a sack. Carr did face more pressure than usual, but he was hit just three times. And though Jacobs and the line failed to deliver late when the Raiders were ahead 16-10 and needed a first down, McDaniels' play selection didn't help them much.
The Raiders had this game in the bag and allowed an improbable comeback by the Rams, but Las Vegas played poorly for nearly the entire game, save for a few bright spots. They'll have the weekend to think about it before they try to get back on track against the Patriots. But at this point, it's hard to know what to expect from this talented but inconsistent group.
Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire