Grading the Raiders in a Week 15 loss to the Bengals

Updated December 16, 2018 - 4:16 pm

How the team performed in a 30-16 loss against the Bengals:

OFFENSE

It’s notable that quarterback Derek Carr now holds the franchise record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception and that tight end Lee Smith has caught a touchdown in three consecutive games and everyone suddenly knows who in the world Darren Waller is, but consider: Cincinnati this season ranks as one of the worst defenses historically on third down, having allowed opponents to convert before Sunday at a 52 percent clip. The Raiders? They went 3 of 14. And while the starting guards were out injured, it was rookie left tackle Kolton Miller getting schooled for much of the day, as the Bengals sacked Carr five times (all from the left side).

DEFENSE

Field position wasn’t any advantage, as

Cincinnati began four possessions in Raiders’ territory and another two at its own 45 and 49. But the Bengals were also 8 of 19 on third down and two fourth-down conversions in the first half led to 14 points. Joe Mixon ran all over Paul Brown Stadium, finishing with 129 yards and two scores on 27 carries, while the Raiders again offered inconsistent pressure on the quarterback, sacking Jeff Driskel once and being credited for four hurries.

Erik Harris had his first career interception, timely in that it was the play following a Carr fumble. The Raiders couldn’t cover Tyler Boyd (five catches, 38 yards, TD) before the wide receiver injured his knee and didn’t return for the second half.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Daniel Carlson continues to make kicks, now 13 of 14 since joining the Raiders, having been good from 50, 27 and 40 yards Sunday. Having converted on 92.3 percent of field goals, the rookie is ahead of the single-season franchise record of 91.2 percent, set by Sebastian Janikowski in 2012. But as solid as Carlson was — other than being flagged for a face mask when trying to make a second-quarter tackle — you can’t as a coverage team allow a 77-yard kick return with 5:05 remaining and having just pulled within seven points. Two plays after Alex Erickson’s electric run down the sideline, Mixon scored from 16 yards out and that was that.

COACHING

The Raiders are now 1-9 in their last 10 road games and the fact they couldn’t get more done offensively — even with the injuries up front — against a Cincinnati defense that has had its own share of missed games by hurt players told the story of this one. Two false starts on goal-to-go plays? Too many penalties, not near enough execution on third down and a special teams breakdown at the worst possible time? All bad stuff, man.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

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