Last Sunday, the Raiders collapsed in historic fashion. They blew a 20-point lead for the first time in franchise history. Their dominating 20-0 first half gave way to a 23-3 second half by the Cardinals and they summarily lost in overtime.
It was the inverse of the season opener in Los Angeles where the Raiders seemed to take a while to get things going and played better football in the second half. But in both cases, it wasn’t enough and they ended up on the losing end.
That first game had the Raiders feeling pretty good about things despite the loss to the Chargers. Mainly because of the stronger finish and because the Chargers are considered one of the best teams in the NFL this season.
But that second game…
The most outrageous aspect of that game was the lack of targets and catches for Davante Adams who had just two catches for 12 yards and none in the second half when the wheels completely fell off.
It appeared the Raiders came out of the half in cruise control. They got conservative and careless, seemingly thinking they had this one wrapped up. They did not. And Adams in particular is hoping they learn from this.
“You just have to lock in demand it from yourself,” Adams said of playing a full game. “Every player, you’ve got to learn how to put the foot on the gas and for lack of better words, break their necks when you have them in a corner like that. That’s the way that I’ve learned to play the game, and that’s the way that I hope that this team will play the game.
“Part of it is just keeping that mindset, never getting comfortable, just thinking zero-zero. Especially at half, you go in there – I know this game we are coming in and we’re up at half, it’s going to be a little different feeling.
“I’d like to think everybody kind of had that feeling this past week, but obviously we didn’t really represent it the way we went out there and played in the second half. You’ve got to have it in your mind, and then go out there and follow up with the way you play.”
Adams had 10 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. His 17 targets were what you might expect, considering the investment they made in Adams in the hopes he could be the difference for them this season.
After the game, I asked Adams if he expected that kind of volume in his first game with his new team and he said flatly “absolutely,” that that’s why they brought him here.
He has also at times said he doesn’t need to get the ball all the time. But spreading around the rock is contingent upon one important thing — winning football.
“Especially after a game like that, there’s all different types and levels of frustration,” Adams said. “Obviously the part of me not being able to produce the way I expect, obviously that’s frustrating. But for me, it’s not just that. For me it’s the bigger picture. If Darren goes out there and has a monster game or Hunter has a monster game, or the run game is working and it’s one of those games where we’re just pounding it and pounding it…it is what it is.
“I’m not expecting it’s going to be like that for me every game, so if I go out there and have 20 yards or 50 yards or whatever, that’s not what it’s about, it’s about the way that the offense looks. And if I can’t be a factor in the game, and it does look bad, that’s when I have frustration about my productivity.”
And the offense in the second half for the Raiders was atrocious. Meanwhile, Adams saw one target in the second half.
There isn’t a person out there that would say you find a way to get the ball in the hands of your best player in any game. More so when you — as Adams put it — “have them in a corner” you finish the job and “break their necks.”
If this team is really about learning from each game and taking the positive out of it, that would be where you find it in that game. Take how they came out firing against the Cardinals and how they fought to get back in the game against the Chargers and put them together into one full game.