Raider Nation, Sunday night was very tough to watch. It was the first time Oakland Raiders’ fans got to see their team on Sunday Night Football on the road since October 15, 2006, when they lost to the Denver Broncos 13-3.
This time around against the Washington Redskins, the team came out flat looking like the Raiders of the last decade, the pre-Derek Carr Raiders.
However, fans should stay away from the panic button. A loss next Sunday might be worrisome, but here are three reasons why everyone in Oakland should stay calm for the time being.
Trump made the Raiders bad again
This week might have been one of the most emotional weeks in recent NFL memory.
It was the first time the country could see how good the Silver and Black have become. Obviously, Oakland had been looking forward to this game in the nation’s capital for quite some time.
Moreover, it was a hectic week as soon as president Trump released his latest comments surrounding the NFL protests and players. It created a lot of controversies and encouraged the teams to protest the President’s words.
The Raiders should have and had every right to protest, however, it definitely took time away from focusing on the game and could have been mentally draining.
As such, the team played without a spark for the entire night.
Oakland usually plays with a certain edge, especially with running back Marshawn Lynch on the roster, making this game an anomaly as there will not be this much off the field emotion surrounding a game for a long time.
The defense played admirably
Yes, the defense gave up 27 points on Sunday night, but it could have been much worse.
If one said the Raiders were going to be outgained by 344 yards, have three turnovers and wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper would have just two receptions combined, one would think the team would have lost by over 30 points.
Instead, the defense held Washington to just 3.4 yards per carry in a game in which the unit was on the field for over 38 minutes and was constantly in a poor position. So giving up 27 points is not bad.
The performance wasn’t great, but it showed that the defense is continuing to improve and is miles better than the defense from 2016, who would have given up at least 40 points if they were in a similar situation as Sunday night.
Cornerback Sean Smith still looked horrible covering tight end Vernon Davis. Once safety Obi Melifonwu returns from injury, Smith’s snaps will be very much limited as Melifonwu will be able to guard the tight ends and therefore improve the pass defense.
It was just an off night for Derek Carr
The game did confirm one thing that we should have already known, Oakland can’t win if quarterback Derek Carr has an off night.
Fortunately, Carr’s off nights come few and far between.
Also, bad nights happen to everyone. Even the unbeatable New England Patriots and QB Tom Brady stunk it up in front of a national stage on opening night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Carr still needs to improve on the national stage as the terrible performance against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football from 2016 might be fresh in everyone’s mind. But until Carr and Co. put up another stinker, there is no reason to worry.
Remember, one time is an outlier. If it continues and becomes a trend, like a loss on Sunday to the Broncos, then it is time to get out the panic button. Maybe not press it, but at least have it around.
Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and works at the Sports Desk for the Daily Tar Heel. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.