The Oakland Raiders returned home after a thrilling road victory against the New Orleans Saints last week looking to beat the Atlanta Falcons to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2002, the year the team went to the Super Bowl.
But the Falcons had different plans.
After giving up over 400 yards to Drew Brees last week, the Raiders defense couldn't slow down Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons offense.
The Raiders secondary struggled mightily against the pass again, allowing Ryan to complete passes at ease while going 24-for-32 for three touchdowns, one interception and 396 yards.
But the secondary wasn't the only squad to struggle on the field for defensive Ken Norton, Jr. Sunday. His linebackers struggled to contain Falcons running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who combined for 133 rushing yards on 24 carries.
Overall, the Raiders defense surrendered 526 total yards while giving up 35 points to the Falcons. In all, the Raiders have now given up 1,033 yards and 69 points in their first two games, numbers that make it tough to win.
"That's embarrassing," linebacker Malcolm Smith said of the number after the game. "We have a lot of work to do. We have no choice, we have to get to work. I'm going to get to work to get it right, we have to do what we have to do."
Even with all of the points given up, the Raiders still had a chance to possibly steal the game like they did against the Saints last week.
With just over four minutes remaining in the game and down 35 to 21, Derek Carr drove down the field 75 yards in just eight plays to make it just a one-score game with a little over two minutes left and all three Raiders timeouts remaining. Instead of electing to go for the onside kick, head coach Jack Del Rio elected to kick it deep and give its defense a chance to get a stop, something it hadn't done all game.
On third and three, wide receiver Mohamed Sanu beat slot cornerback DJ Hayden inside for an easy 15 yards and the first down, essentially icing the game.
"We had a shot, get them to third down and don't make a play there," Del Rio said after the game. "Again, it's a mental error that allows an easy completion on that third down -- you have to have tight coverage in that situation."
Del Rio believes mental errors are the reason for most of the Raiders faults on defense, which ultimately comes down to him as the head coach.
"A lot of mental [mistakes], which I take full responsibility for," Del Rio said. "We have to make sure we're teaching it better and make sure our guys understand what we're asking them to do."
The score could have been a lot worse if it weren't for some solid redzone defense, the one area that they found some success. After holding them to two early field goals, the cornerback David Amerson made another nice play in the end zone to come away with his first interception of the season to give the ball back to his offense. Unfortunately they were unable to move the ball, and punted it right back to the Falcons.
The Raiders offense was able to move the ball as a whole, amassing 454 total yards and 28 points. They'll head out on the road for the next two games, starting with the Tennessee Titans next week.