The Oakland Raiders went back out on the road on Sunday after two tough losses to the Steelers and Vikings.
Things didn’t get any easier for the Raiders offense as they struggled to find any rhythm early against the Detroit Lions, who were coming off of a dominating win against the Green Bay Packers.
Head coach Jack Del Rio saw his defense go out on the field to begin the game, looking to contain the Lions passing attack that features quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
The Raiders defense struggled to slow down Stafford, but were able to execute a bend-don’t-break strategy that resulted in just field goals for the Lions.
Meanwhile, the Raiders started the game with four straight drives that resulted in a punt. Their best drive of the game came late in the first half when the offense got it down to the Lions 41 yard line, but ultimately had to punt the ball back to the Lions. The Lions proceeded the drive the ball back down the field for another field goal to end the first half with the Raiders down 9-0.
From there, the Raiders coaching staff did a stellar job of making adjustments heading into the second half.
Second-year quarterback Derek Carr got the offense moving when they Raiders got the ball to start the second half. Carr did throw an interception on the drive that would have halted any progress, but it was called back after a holding call on the defense.
The young quarterback took advantage of the extra life by using seven more plays to punch the ball into the end zone with running back Latavius Murray from one yard out on third down.
Linebacker Khalil Mack and the Raiders defense responded with their own corrections, forcing a three-and-out on the Lions ensuing drive.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave would keep the pedal to the medal with Carr and the offense, but their next two drives would stall and they would have to settle for two field goals to take their first lead of the game, at 13-9. One of the field goals would be from 56 yards out, a season-high for Sebastian Janikowski.
But Stafford and the Lions would make their own adjustment, using just nine plays to go 80 yards to put the Lions back up on top. Stafford would finish the drive himself, carrying the ball into the end zone from five yards out on a quarterback draw. It would be the first rushing touchdown for the Lions since week three.
Down 16-13, the Carr and the Raiders would struggle to get the offense clicking again, going three and out on the ensuing drive.
After another Lions three-and-out, Carr would get another chance to retake the lead. Instead, they would only increase the Lions lead. On 3rd and 15, Carr would drop back looking to pass by Lions pass rusher Ziggy Ansah would be held in the end zone, giving the Lions the safety and the 18-13 lead and giving the Lions offense the ball again with just 7:17 remaining in the game.
From there, the Lions offense would run the clock out. The Raiders had a couple of chances to get the stop but ultimately bad tackling did them in. Safety Nate Allen had the opportunity to give the Raiders a chance late in the game, but Lions running back Joique Bell broke the tackle to give the Lions the first down with just two minutes left.
From there, the Lions would run the clock out, handing the Raiders their sixth loss of the season.
Del Rio will take his team back on the road next week as they’ll go to Tennessee to play the Titans.