Three takeaways from the Raiders’ 38-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York:
1. Raiders defense was downright terrible
There was nothing positive about the performance of the Raiders defense. Between giving Josh Allen entirely too much time to throw the ball and an inability to contain the run, the Raiders were a sieve while looking slow, out of sync and disconnected.
Allen played a careful, prudent game after his reckless performance Monday night in an upset loss to the New York Jets. But it didn’t help that the Raiders did little to disrupt him with a nonexistent pass rush and secondary coverage looks that played right into his hands.
Allen finished 31 of 37 for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
The Raiders surrendered 5.2 yards on 35 Buffalo rushing attempts, including the 123 yards they allowed to James Cook on 17 carries.
Whatever success the Raiders had by holding the Bills to seven third-down conversions on 13 tries, they negated it by giving up three fourth-down conversions on four attempts.
Everything the Raiders emphasized in the offseason by trying to be more aggressive and force more turnovers was nowhere to be found.
2. Josh Jacobs MIA
Any assumption that Josh Jacobs’ struggles in the season opener were the result of the rust that accumulated during his absence from organized team activities and training camp was exasperated Sunday by an even worse performance.
Part of the problem was the lack of room Jacobs had to work with, as he was often hit behind the line of scrimmage. But he has successfully dealt with that his entire career. Jacobs looks slow, as evidenced by the 1 yard he gained on a second-half draw play in which he had plenty of room to operate.
The Raiders might have no choice but to keep chipping away with Jacobs to get him back on track. But the struggles are real.
Or maybe they turn more to Zamir White?
3. Jimmy Garoppolo’s struggles
Aftter getting off to a great start with a touchdown drive on the Raiders’ first possession, Jimmy Garoppolo struggled the rest of the day while completing 16 of 24 passes for 124 yards and one TD.
The big issue were his two interceptions, including the killer in the first quarter that he tossed with the Raiders leading 7-0 and looking to take command early.
On the play, the Bills sniffed out a screen pass by applying maximum pressure on Garoppolo. Rather than throw the ball away or take the sack and move on to third down, Garoppolo recklessly tried to loft the ball over a pass rusher. The ball ended up getting tipped and falling into the hands of Terrel Bernard for an easy interception.
That led to the short field the Bills had to work with and a game-tying touchdown.
Garoppolo never seemed in rhythm the rest of the day. And with no run game to lean on, it was just a bad day for the Raiders’ quarterback.