Published Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Updated Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021 | 4:12 p.m.
The Raiders’ defense held numerous times throughout Sunday’s game at Allegiant Stadium against the Washington Football Team. It couldn’t hold when it mattered.
Washington’s Brian Johnson kicked a game-winning field goal with 42 seconds remaining to beat Las Vegas 17-15. The Raiders fell to 6-6 on the season going into next week’s game at Kansas City, which handed Las Vegas its worst loss of the season in a 41-14 blowout last month.
Raiders kicked Daniel Carlson was nearly the hero of Sunday’s game against Washington. He made a 37-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining to give Las Vegas its first lead of the day at 15-14.
A previous pass play on third down from the 18-yard line had gone off of one of Raiders receiver Zay Jones’ fingertips in the end zone.
Getting the field goal instead of the touchdown meant the Raiders had to hold Washington off from scoring in any fashion — something it had been able to do for five straight days in the middle of the game. But it couldn’t with the outcome hanging in the balance.
Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke completed a series of short passes, and Las Vegas safety Tre’von Moehrig dropped a sure interception, to get his team into field-goal range. Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr had a couple deep heaves at the end of the game, including another one that just missed Jones, but couldn’t get the Raiders down the field in time to attempt a field goal.
Carr completed 28 of 38 passes on the day for 249 yards with no touchdowns or interception, while Heinicke had 196 yards on 23-for-30 passing with two touchdowns and one interception.
Washington scored on its opening drive when Heinicke found tight end Logan Thomas in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown pass. It also scored on a third-and-goal play early in the fourth quarter when Heinicke found running back Antonio Gibson right at the pylon.
Las Vegas’ only touchdown, a 1-yard run by Joh Jacob, came as an answer and then the Raiders managed its first interception in four games when Nate Hobbs grabbed a deflected Heinicke pass. But they stalled inside the red zone, leading to Carlson’s aforementioned final field goal.
Carlson might have been Las Vegas’ best player for the second straight week, making three total field goals including a 52-yarder to get the Raiders on the board right before halftime.
Touchdowns were hard to come by with Las Vegas’ offensive line struggling to protect and receivers, save for Hunter Renfrow who had 102 yards on nine catches, not getting much separation. Settling for field goals was ultimately the Raiders’ undoing when the defense could no longer bail the offense out.
Check back to lasvegassun.com later for full coverage and read below for live updates from throughout the game.
The Raiders have the lead for the first time of the day, but not a big enough one to feel comfortable with 2:22 remaining in the game.
Las Vegas is ahead of Washington 15-14 via a 37-yard field goal from Daniel Carlson, his third of the day, after again getting shut down once they get deep in Washington territory. A third-and-7 pass from Derek Carr at the 18-yard line went off Zay Jones’ fingertips in the end zone, leading to the field goal.
Washington’s last drive ended on an interception by Nate Hobbs, and Las Vegas may need another turnover to seal this one up.
Touchdown good, two-point conversion not
The Raiders scored their first touchdown of the day but failed to tie the game with the Washington Football Team.
A few penalties — holding, pass interference and roughing the passer — helped march them down the field for a 1-yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs to make the score 14-12. An ensuing two-point conversion attempt, a pass intended for Foster Moreau, failed.
It was a quick answer for the home team after Washington’s touchdown as it took only 2:31 off the clock for the scoring drive.
Heinecke throws second touchdown
A series of third-down conversions has put the Raiders back down a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Allegiant Stadium.
Washington Football Team leads 14-6 after Taylor Heinecke threw his second touchdown pass of the day, a 4-yard completion to Antonio Gibson just in front of the pylon. Heinecke had just scrambled for a first down inside the 10-yard line on a 3rd-and-6 a few plays before.
The undrafted quarterback out of Old Dominion has done just enough against Las Vegas all day with 149 passing yards and no turnovers on 18-for-23 passing. Las Vegas has 13:34 of game time to mount a comeback.
Daniel Carlson kicks second field goal
The Raiders’ offense finally got going in its second drive of the second half, but stalled inches outside the red zone.
Las Vegas settled for a second Daniel Carlson field goal, the latest from 38 yards, to cut Washington’s lead to 7-6. Derek Carr and Foster Moreau combined for the Raiders’ biggest play of the game so far to get into scoring range.
Carr zipped a pass to Moreau down the seam, and Moreau slipped a couple tacklers low to get down for a 34-yard gain. Another Carr pass intended for Moreau two plays later was broken up in the end zone by Washington’s Cole Holcomb.
Raiders score before halftime
Kicker Daniel Carlson was the Raiders’ leading scorer in last week’s win over the Cowboys, and he’s the team’s only scorer through the first half of this week’s game against the Washington Football Team.
Carlson made a 52-yarder with seconds to go before halftime, cutting Washington’s lead to 7-3. Derek Carr had a pair of runs for a total of 24 yards to key the scoring drive.
He’s not getting much help elsewhere considering the offensive line is struggling and receivers are failing to get open. Carr has completed 15 of 19 passing attempts but for only 80 yards.
Hunter Renfrow has been his favorite target as the third-year player has five catches for 32 yards.
Washington scores fast to start game
Based on the first drive of the game, it’s going to be a long day for Las Vegas’ defense.
Washington Football Team marched right down the field, scoring on a seven-yard pass from Taylor Heinicke to Logan Thomas with 9:44 remaining in the first quarter. The drive lasted nine plays and covered 75 yards but it took them virtually no time to get into scoring position.
Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley wanted to limit big plays, and yet to start the game, Washington had a play of 20+ yard gains with Antonio Gibson and John Bates.
Josh Jacobs and DeSean Jackson are in. Darren Waller is out.
The three offensive weapons were the Raiders’ biggest health questions coming into the weekend, and there’s now official clarification on their status for today’s game against the Washington Football Team.
It’s not much of a surprise. Waller was listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report, while Jacobs and Jackson were both questionable but with some optimism that they could play after taking part in a portion of practice.
The other inactives along with Waller are defensive end Carl Nassib, cornerback Amik Robertson, linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, guard Jermaine Eluemunor and defensive tackle Kendal Vickers.
Nassib is the only who’s hurt as, like Waller, he’s nursing a knee injury. Waller went out in the second quarter of the Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys, and didn’t return.
The Raiders regularly refer to him as their “best player” so his absence will be felt but they won the other game without him this year, against the Eagles, with backup Foster Moreau playing well in his slot. Moreau will need to produce again today if the Raiders want to beat Washington.
The Raiders finish off the interconference portion of their schedule with Washington’s first-ever trip to Allegiant Stadium. Las Vegas has gone 2-2 against the NFC so far, knocking off the two higher-rated teams in Dallas and Philadelphia but getting upset by the two lesser teams in Chicago and the New York Giants. Washington falls somewhere in between. The Football Team grades out poorly by any advanced measure but has turned its season around and currently sits in the final NFC playoff spot with a three-game winning streak. That includes a 29-19 upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers three weeks ago and a 17-15 victory against the Seattle Seahawks on last week’s Monday Night Football. The Raiders may appear a level above the Football Team on the surface, but things have rarely gone according to plan in their games this season, as the underdog has won outright in seven of 11 contests.
Favorable matchup: Raiders’ offensive creativity vs. Washington’s defense
Las Vegas broke out of an offensive slump in last week’s 36-33 Thanksgiving day victory in Dallas largely because it diversified its attack. A preceding three-game losing streak where the Raiders averaged only 14 points per game had seen the rest of the league get comfortable in defending against offensive coordinator Greg Olson’s tendencies. Olson switched it up against Dallas, however, by using better-timed and designed runs, calling a higher rate of play-action passes and inserting backup quarterback Marcus Mariota in a couple of crucial short-yardage situations. Starting quarterback Derek Carr, who currently leads the NFL in passing with 3,414 yards, said all the new wrinkles the Raiders showed against the Cowboys should make it harder on future opponents to prepare. That could especially ring true against a sliding Washington defense, which rates 29th in the NFL in giving up 5.9 yards per play and 31st on defense overall by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.
THEY SAID IT
“The D-line is getting back there and doing what they do best, they’ve been doing a great job for us (defensive backs). If I would have went higher in the draft, I’d have taken them out to eat a couple times but I’ve got to save up.” -Cornerback Nate Hobbs, a rookie fifth-round pick, on the pressure the Raiders are creating up front
“I told them I’ll find a way to play if I need to — find some adult diapers or whatever, trash bag on the sideline.” -Kicker Daniel Carlson on his bout with food poisoning before the Cowboys’ game
“The way I feel about the teams I leave that I used to play for, I always feel like I’ve got to make them pay extra hard because they had an extra chance to keep me and didn’t.” -Wide receiver DeSean Jackson on going up against Washington where he played from 2014-2016
“I always joke around with (offensive coordinator Greg Olson). He’s like, ‘Anything you don’t like?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, just those run plays. Just call the passes.’ That’s every quarterback. I almost went to SMU with June Jones out of high school because he’s like, ‘You can come here, and we’ll throw it every play.’” -Quarterback Carr on Olson’s playcalling
Problematic matchup: Wide receiver Terry McLaurin vs. Raiders’ secondary
Most expected Washington to be a more defensive-led team coming into the season, but it’s turned out to be the opposite. The Football Team has been more lethal offensively with a scheme built around the skills of the third-year receiver out of Ohio State who sits 16th in the NFL with 786 receiving yards on 58 catches. He has four games with at least 100 receiving yards and has particularly heated up during the win streak, catching 15 passes on 22 targets from improving first-year starting quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Las Vegas’ top cornerback, Casey Hayward, and free safety, Tre’von Moehrig, have been solid throughout the year but opponents have started hunting matchups with the likes of second cornerback Brandon Facyson and strong safety Johnathan Abram. Washington won’t be any different as it will specifically be seeking out favorable spots for McLaurin, who’s one of the rare receivers who can truly do it all. He came into the league scouted mostly as a deep threat but has turned out to be just as dangerous in picking up yards after the catch.
Gamebreaker: Kicker Daniel Carlson
The AFC Special Teams Player of the Week deserves some love. The Raiders wouldn’t have beaten the Cowboys without Carlson. Not only did the fourth-year veteran kick the game-winner in overtime and a 56-yarder near the end of regulation, but he was also perfect on the rest of his attempts and extra points — more than could be said for Dallas counterpart Greg Zuerlein. For Carlson, it was nothing new. He struggled a bit in his first full year with the Raiders in 2019 but was great last season and has been even better this year. He’s made 24 of 27 field goal attempts, including going 5-for-6 from 50-plus yards and 4-for-5 from 40-49 yards. Team leaders like linebacker Denzel Perryman and running back Josh Jacobs have gone out of their way to praise Carlson in recent news conferences. Jacobs even revealed that he has his own nickname for Carlson — “sniper” because he’s such a sure shot.
Big Number: 4
Straight games that edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue has registered at least one sack, tying the career-best run of his six-year stint in the NFL. He’d set a new personal-record streak with a sack against his hometown team this week, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to get one. Washington sits 20th in the NFL in allowing sacks on 6.11% of snaps. All eight of Ngakoue’s sacks with the Raiders have come in the last six weeks, putting him on the type of tear that would usually call for double-teams and extra attention from opponents. It’s hard for teams to do that against the Raiders, though, because Maxx Crosby has been arguably even better on the other side. Crosby has three fewer sacks than Ngakoue on the season with five but even better pressure numbers despite regularly appearing to be held by opposing offensive linemen. Raiders’ fans have been irate with uncalled penalties against Crosby, and to a lesser extent, Ngakoue, but defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said he thought officials would be on the lookout going forward.
Best Bet (5-6): Josh Jacobs over 13.5 rushing attempts
Reports surfaced before the Cowboys’ game that the Raiders were emphasizing getting Jacobs more involved in the offense, and they turned out to be true as he ran a season-high 22 times for 87 yards. That should be more of the norm going forward than his previous season average of 11 carries per game. Jacobs was on the injury report this week as a limited practice participant with a sore ankle, but the Raiders are always cautious with him. It doesn’t appear to be a major concern. And, keep in mind, if Jacobs does end up tweaking the ankle further and sitting out of his third game of the season, all prop bets would be refunded.