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Raiders report card: Jimmy Garoppolo, offense show up too late

Updated September 24, 2023 - 10:08 pm

How the Raiders performed in a 23-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on “Sunday Night Football” at Allegiant Stadium:

Offense: C-

Too little, too late. The Raiders can’t run the ball. Period. I’m not sure they have a tight end. Jimmy Garoppolo finished 28 of 44 for 324 yards and two scores but also threw three interceptions. They finally got some things going late in the second half … against a prevent defense from the Steelers. They didn’t do much in the first half beyond a 32-yard scoring pass from Garoppolo to Davante Adams on fourth-and-inches. Garoppolo was sacked twice by T.J. Watt in the first 30 minutes, the second time seeing the quarterback getting bent backward and having to hobble off the field. He continued, but it made little difference in the end result. The Steelers totaled four sacks. Josh Jacobs broke out a bit late for the first time this season, finishing with 62 yards on 17 carries. But there is zero consistency with the offensive line blocking for him. They can’t win the line of scrimmage.

Defense: C

For much of the game, the Raiders made one of the NFL’s top struggling offenses look decent. On the game’s biggest play, with 2:12 left and the Steelers facing third-and-2 from their 33, the Raiders had a complete breakdown and allowed a 6-yard reception that essentially ended the game. They didn’t help themselves in trailing 13-7 at halftime, an unnecessary roughness call on Maxx Crosby leading to a Pittsburgh field goal and a pass interference by rookie cornerback Jakorian Bennett to another. Twice on the latter drive, the Raiders lost contain on Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett on consecutive plays.

Special teams: B

Nothing to write home about. AJ Cole punted five times for an average of 52.4 yards with a long of 60, dropping one inside the 20-yard line. Daniel Carlson was good from 26 yards on his lone field-goal attempt.

Coaching: F

This was a poorly coached game. The call to kick a field goal down eight and staring at fourth-and-4 from the Pittsburgh 8 with 2:25 left was miserable. Running the ball is critical at any level, and McDaniels and company can’t get anything going. There is no complementary football. It’s either the offense or defense making plays but never consistently together. McDaniels has lost 22 of the past 32 games he has coached.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

Ed Graney Review-Journal

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