MINNEAPOLIS — The Oakland Raiders, embarking upon a near-two-month road trip away from the East Bay, seemingly got a late wake-up call in the Twin Cities, falling behind by three touchdowns before showing any semblance of life — a flea-flicker touchdown pass from Derek Carr to J.J. Nelson in the second quarter.
And that was it.
The Raiders were flat, and then flattened by the Minnesota Vikings, 34-14, to drop to 1-2 on the season. In fact, since taking a 10-0 lead into the second quarter against the Chiefs last week, the Raiders have been outscored 62-14. Can they get right at the Indianapolis Colts next week?
Describe the game in two words: Late. Flat. The Raiders trailed 21-0 before jump-starting the offense by getting tight end Darren Waller involved and then pulling out the flea-flicker for the TD, which was the source of the most emotion the Raiders showed all game. Waller finished with 13 receptions for 134 yards.
Pivotal play: The Raiders’ defense had a chance to set a tone early by getting off the field with an opening series three-and-out, and it looked as though they pulled it off. Until cornerback Gareon Conley was flagged for defensive holding … away from the ball. The penalty kept the Vikings alive and they responded with the 76-yard touchdown drive in six plays. Tone set, indeed. The Raiders’ defense was flagged four times in the first quarter alone.
QB breakdown: Was Carr floating his passes, or were his pass catchers not running their routes deep enough? Whatever was happening, it was ugly … aside from the 29-yard flea-flicker touchdown pass Carr threw to Nelson. And yet, even the wide-open Nelson had to wait for the ball to come down at the 5-yard line. Carr, who ended up completing 27-of-34 passes for 242 yards with two TDs and an especially ugly interception, never truly looked comfortable in the din of U.S. Bank Stadium. And Raider Nation is still waiting for Carr to take a deep shot against the Vikings.
Bold prediction for next week: The Raiders will contemplate trading for Jacksonville Jaguars All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey even more. They have to after the secondary was exposed again, especially in the back end. The Raiders have two first-round picks next year, have plenty of salary-cap room and saved themselves some $30 million in guarantees with the Antonio Brown Experience having been shuttered. Pair Ramsey with Conley and move Daryl Worley to free safety, where he played a tad last week.