3 Takeaways from Raiders' Week 5 Loss
On Sunday afternoon, the Las Vegas Raiders had an opportunity to bounce back after their first loss of the season. Instead, they left Allegiant Stadium with a disappointing defeat, one that dropped them out of the AFC West lead.
It was a quiet day for the offense, with the Bears defense holding the unit to three points over the first 50 minutes, 59 seconds. Las Vegas didn't score a touchdown until Josh Jacobs got into the end zone with 9:01 to go, but Chicago sealed its win with a pair of Cairo Santos field goals in the final three minutes.
Here are three takeaways from the Raiders' Week 5 loss.
The Running Game Still Can't Get Going
When Jacobs was out because of an ankle injury, Peyton Barber filled in for two games. And in Week 3, Barber ran for 111 yards in an overtime win over the Miami Dolphins. That remains the only time through the first five games of the season that the Raiders have eclipsed 100 rushing yards as a team.
On Sunday, Las Vegas was held to 71 rushing yards, 48 of which came from Jacobs. Although he scored his first touchdown since getting into the end zone twice in the season-opener, he averaged only 3.2 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake (two carries for 11 yards) was the only other Raiders back with a rushing attempt.
Las Vegas ranks 29th in the NFL with 78.6 rushing yards per game. However, Jacobs believes things will improve in the near future.
"I'm very optimistic about the guys getting better, and I believe in the guys," Jacobs said, per The Athletic's Tashan Reed. "I see the way that they work each day, so I think it's just a matter of time before we start putting the pieces together."
Until that happens, it may be tough for Las Vegas to excel offensively considering the unit is too one-dimensional. If the Raiders start running the ball better, it could help the passing game as well.
Penalties Prove Costly Too Many Times
The Bears scored only one touchdown, and it came on a first-half drive that likely shouldn't have reached that point. The Raiders committed three penalties during that possession, giving Chicago repeated extra chances to keep moving down the field.
Late in the first quarter, Las Vegas defensive end Yannick Ngakoue got called for roughing the passer on a 2nd-and-22 at Chicago's 16-yard line. Once the Bears got into the red zone, Maxx Crosby also received a roughing call on Bears quarterback Justin Fields, while Johnathan Abram had an illegal use of hands penalty.
The Raiders ended up with 10 penalties for 82 yards, far too many for them to keep momentum.
"The penalties—they gotta stop," Gruden said, per Reed. "But it all falls back on me."
Gruden is right in that Las Vegas can't make that many mistakes and still expect to win games, especially when it's taking on stronger teams. So that's another issue the Raiders will need to correct moving forward.
The Defense Played Well Enough to Earn a Win
Although the penalties proved costly, Las Vegas' defense played well enough to give the team a chance to win the game. Chicago amassed 252 total yards and only reached the red zone twice. Fields also passed for only 111 yards.
If the Raiders offense had played to its potential, the defense's mistakes wouldn't have been amplified. Instead, Las Vegas would have had to play nearly perfect on the defensive side in order to have beaten Chicago.
Things weren't perfect, as the Bears went 6-of-13 on third downs and had 143 rushing yards. Still, there were positives for the Raiders to take away, including a pair of sacks from Ngakoue, six quarterback hits and a game-high 12 tackles from linebacker Denzel Perryman.
"We did our thing on a lot of three-and-outs," Ngakoue said, per Levi Edwards of the team's official site. "As a defensive player I'm proud of everybody—all of the guys who stepped up. We just got to keep working."
It could be a defensive performance Las Vegas will build off of, which may be a key to the team getting back on track.