It seems that the weight of this tumultuous season is starting to crush the Las Vegas Raiders. After an impressive 5-2 start, the team have lost two in a row, including a 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at home in prime time. It was the worst game of the season for the Raiders in all three phases of the game.
The defense offered little to no resistance to the Chiefs’ attack, and Patrick Mahomes ignored them. 2019 first round pick Johnathan Abram has shown improvements this season but he has perhaps just had the worst game of his career. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed nine catches on nine targets for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Abram has had a few bad moments since joining the Raiders, but the Chiefs game stands out. He’s a liability for passport coverage and it’s fair to ask if that will ever change. He’s a big hitter and solid defender, but covering him always leads to bad things.
He wasn’t the only one having a bad game as there were bad games all over the field. While things are looking grim for the Raiders this season, Abram has been careful to send a message that the season is far from over and his team will improve.
Time will tell if Abram is right, but the signs aren’t looking good right now.
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In a division with quarterbacks like Mahomes and Justin Herbert, the Raiders can’t afford to have a starting defensive back who plays so poorly at pass cover. Soon the team will have to decide whether to use Abram’s option for the fifth year of his contract. At this point, it looks possible they might not.
If the Raiders continue this downward spiral, there is a very good chance that owner Mark Davis will clean up the house. A new head coach and general manager wouldn’t be loyal to Abram due to his status as a first-round pick. He needs to start showing that he can at least be useful in reporting, or this could be last year as a starter.
This season hasn’t been that great for Mahomes. He didn’t look like the best quarterback in the NFL and last week he had what might be the worst game of his career against the Green Bay Packers. Instead of the Raiders taking advantage of his fights, he had his best game of the season, throwing 406 yards and five touchdowns.
“Of course he’s hard to come by,” said interim head coach Rich Bisaccia of Mahomes after the defeat. “He gets rid of the ball quickly. It falls really deep. … He can always extend his plays, be it on the third down or during a series of downs he did tonight. He’s obviously in a great position to play in and out of the pocket to play downfield games. “
It looked like the teams were finally figuring out how to slow Mahomes down. Either the Raiders had a terribly bad game plan from defensive coordinator Gus Bradley or the former MVP is back. Either way, it’s bad news for Las Vegas.
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