No, the Las Vegas Raiders are not elite. They are not a playoff team. And they are not ready to take that next step. At least, not yet.
Not when they get so thoroughly out-schemed, out-hustled and, well, out-played by a bad Atlanta Falcons team. And not with so much on the line. Not today, at least.
Getting embarrassed in Atlanta to the tune of a 43-6 score showed the Raiders were not ready on Sunday. The question: Can they avoid the letdown that sunk their season last year -- a 34-3 loss at a terrible New York Jets team that dropped the Raiders’ record to 6-5 en route to a 7-9 finish? The Raiders’ record after the thumping they took in Atlanta? Yeah, 6-5. And guess where they play next week... indeed, at the New York Jets.
Describe the game in two words: Unmitigated disaster. Sure, perhaps a bit dramatic for what’s going on in the real world, but to get blown out by a bad team missing two of its most crucial offensive weapons -- WR Julio Jones and RB Todd Gurley -- in the most critical game of the season thus far more than qualifies... in a pure sporting sense.
Troubling trend: The Raiders had a season-high 11 penalties for 141 yards. A week after they had eight penalties for 72 yards. Not good.
QB breakdown: It was a game Derek Carr would rather forget. He lost three fumbles on strip sacks and threw a pick-six while completing 22-of-34 attempts for 215 yards and a season-low 70.1 passer rating. He was replaced by Nate Peterman in the fourth quarter, basically for his own safety. As the Associated Press noted, Carr joined Peterman, Sam Darnold, Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Fitzpatrick as the only QBs in the past five years to author a performance that included four-plus giveaways, one pick-six and no TD passes.
Pivotal play: Let’s go early here. Like first offensive possession of the game for the Raiders early. After starting with a first-and-5 thanks to a Falcons penalty, Las Vegas faced a fourth-and-1. And despite having a punishing running game and an oft-dominant offensive line, the Raiders called a pitch play that went wide. RB Josh Jacobs, who was dealing with a hip injury this past week, looked hesitant and was stopped for no gain. It set a certain tone as Jacobs would finish with a career-low 27 rushing yards on seven carries before leaving with an ankle injury on a lost fumble in the fourth quarter.
Silver lining: With home games remaining against two teams the Raiders are competing with for a playoff spot, the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins, the Raiders still control their own destiny. And their next game is at the winless Jets. So there.