A re-worked Raiders defense just couldn’t do enough to limit Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts offense Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, as the Silver and Black fell at home 42-28, dropping their record to 1-6 in the process.
With veteran safety Reggie Nelson and cornerback Rashaan Melvin ruled out as healthy inactives 90 minutes before kickoff, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s unit featured some fresh faces in the starting 11, mainly rookie linebacker Jason Cabinda and second-year cornerback Gareon Conley.
In fact, since we’re talking about the starting defense, the youth movement was in full swing, as seven of the Raiders 11 starters were 23 years of age or younger.
And while Andrew Luck at times very much looked like the Pro Bowl quarterback the league grew accustomed to seeing before he missed all last season due to injury, give Conley, Daryl Worley and the rest of the Raiders defense credit for making life difficult for the former Stanford Cardinal.
In fact, after Luck opened the game 10 of 10 – credit where credit is due after all – he found everything after that time tough to come by; although he and the Colts offense took full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them by the Raiders throughout the game.
Things weren’t perfect Sunday afternoon – by halftime, the Colts had already eclipsed the century mark on the ground, and by the end of regulation, that number had ballooned to over 200 yards – but the Week 8 matchup was a relatively tight one until the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
Offensively, after a slow start to Week 8, Derek Carr and the Raiders offense found its collective footing, roaring back to take a 14-10 lead over Luck and the Colts in the first half, after looking up at a 10-point deficit early.
Headed into Sunday’s game at the OACC, one of the biggest questions – if not the biggest question – surrounding the Raiders offense was who would step up and fill the void left by the absence of Amari Cooper.
Well, while that situation will likely will be a fluid one, Carr and the team’s passing attack certainly didn’t seem to miss a beat, as Carr got all of his buddies involved en route to throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions, as well as recording the first rushing touchdown of his career.
Oh, and we’d be remiss to not mention that Carr is now in sole possession of No. 3 on the Raiders all-time passing list, passing Daryl Lamonica in the final minutes of the third quarter.
As good as Carr was Sunday afternoon – and he was really good in a losing effort – he was helped out immensely by none other than Doug Martin, who looked stellar in his first extended game action, effectively carrying the rock, particularly in the second half.
But as good as Martin was, the big blunder of the day also belonged to him as well, as he fumbled the ball with the Raiders down seven in the fourth quarter, which effectively allowed Indy to put a bow on their Week 8 win.
All told, Sunday’s clash at the OACC was an immensely entertaining one, featuring its fair share of ties, lead changes, and the expected fourth quarter theatrics.
But, when the clock hit triple zero, the Colts had bested the Raiders by two scores, dropping the Raiders five games under .500 in the process.
While the Silver and Black now own a 1-6 record, the team won’t have much time to dwell on Sunday’s home loss. Head Coach Jon Gruden’s team will now almost immediately shift its attention to the San Francisco 49ers, as the two teams will meet in just a few days’ time to kick off Week 9 NFL action on Thursday Night Football at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
Photos of the game action during the Raiders' Week 8 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts at the Coliseum.