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Second-half surge not enough for Raiders to pull out victory in Indianapolis

Sunday's 23-20 loss for the Las Vegas Raiders was an unfortunate tale of two halves.

While their offense starting clicking in the second half, it wasn't enough to climb out of the hole.

What makes this defeat peculiar is their defining flaw of the game – penalties. Coming into Week 17 as one of the lowest penalized teams in the league, the Raiders were called on seven occasions for 54 yards against the Colts.

The collective lack of discipline and inability to get into the red zone had the Raiders trailing 14-3 at halftime.

"We've been really focused on ourselves pre-snap, but that didn't happen today," said Antonio Pierce. "You can't point fingers at players. Obviously we have to do a better job as coaches. ... False starts, offsides, that's the Raiders beating themselves. That's something for seven games at least we haven't done, and today it came up and bit us."

Rookie QB Aidan O'Connell echoed his coach's sentiments of beating themselves.

"Everyone involved, including myself, just not as good communication as we needed early on," O'Connell said. "It's hard to overcome those things in the NFL. Yeah, I needed a faster start, better execution, definitely start with myself on that one so that was disappointing."

The Raiders awakened on both sides of the ball when they came out of the locker room for the second half. Having allowed two touchdowns in the first half, the Silver and Black defense held the Colts to field goals for the remainder of the game. On the other side of the ball, O'Connell and the offense surged for 20 points, coming within a field goal of tying the game.

O'Connell finished with 299 yards and two touchdowns, both scores going to Davante Adams. The Pro Bowl receiver ended the day with 13 catches and 126 yards, making it his fourth straight season with over 1,000 receiving yards.

"I think he put us in some good positions and went out and executed. You can tell he got a little more comfortable," Adams said of O'Connell's performance. "It's just in the first half we didn't really have a flow."

Additionally, running back Zamir White, filling in for Josh Jacobs as the starter for a third straight contest, got going in the second half to the tune of 106 scrimmage yards on the day.

"The lineman blocked great, I was just running behind their pads. They were doing their job," White said. "Jakobi [Meyers], Jakob [Johnson] was blocking his ass off, so I felt pretty comfortable."

It's hard for the Raiders to not be disappointed as the three-point loss knocked them out of playoff contention. However, according to Pierce, their focus is on what's ahead – which is the final game of the year against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium.

"We've got one at home that we're excited about," Pierce said. "We'll move forward like we've done everything. If we won the game, I would have said that we are moving forward we'll be out of this in 24 hours, get ready for a divisional opponent against the Broncos and we're excited about that.

"Another opportunity for us to get better. Season ain't over until it's over."

View photos from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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