The Pass Rush Is Coming Alive: Five Lessons We Learned From The Raiders Matchup With The Vikings

After winning back-to-back games and garnering a plethora of national attention, the Oakland Raiders have now lost back-to-back games to drop their overall record to 4-5.

Their most recent defeat came Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, in the form of a 30-14 loss to Minnesota, in a game the Silver and Black led for just 13 seconds.

The final score of Sunday's game might be a little deceiving as the Raiders played the division-leading Minnesota Vikings tight for just over three quarters.

However, it just wasn't good enough Sunday afternoon, and as a result, the Raiders now find themselves under .500, but before we officially look ahead to the team's Week 11 contest with the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit let's find out what we learned from the loss to the Vikings.

Derek Carr Came Back To Earth

Over the past month or so, quarterback Derek Carr had been on a tear, throwing for 300 yards in back-to-back games and leading one of the more prolific offenses in the NFL.

However, Sunday afternoon the second-year signal caller came back to earth – at least for a day.

All in all, he produced another solid day, going 29 of 43 for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he did throw 2 interceptions, one of which proved to very costly at the end of the day.

"It was the one time finally on that drive we kind of got a one-on-one so I just gave Andre [Holmes] a chance," Carr said postgame. "Again 23 [Terence Newman] made a great play. He did."

No, Carr didn't deliver the best performance of his young career Sunday against the Vikings, but if past efforts serve as a barometer, the young quarterback will bounce back, and the Raiders will need him to if they want to get back in the win column.

"I like Derek," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said postgame. "We're going to throw the ball down the field. We're going to make decisions, he makes a heck of a lot of good decisions. The things where we don't do it as well as we can will be learning opportunities and we'll do that and move on."

The Vikings Ground Attack Was Too Much To Handle

For the second week in a row, the Raiders allowed a big day on the ground for the opposing team's running back.

Last week in Pittsburgh it was DeAngelo Williams to the tune of 170 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Sunday it was Adrian Peterson running wild for 203 yards and 1 score – including one backbreaking gallop for 80 yards in the final minutes of the contest.

"He finds holes in defenses like no other running back does," Charles Woodson said of Peterson. "He's a workhorse, man. He's been doing it for years. He hasn't let up yet. Again, he's one of the best to ever play this game."

After demonstrating a stout run defense early in the season, the Raiders will look to re-establish their dominance up front when they travel to Detroit to take on Matthew Stafford and the Lions Sunday at Ford Field.

The Pass Rush Is Coming

Much has been made as of late about the Raiders pass rush, or lack thereof, but Sunday's contest against the Vikings proved that the pressure is indeed coming.

When all was said and done, the Raiders brought down Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater 4 times and created constant pressure throughout the afternoon.

Ultimately, the team is measured in wins and losses, but the fact that the Raiders were able to consistently get through the Vikings offensive line and make life difficult for Bridgewater is good news going forward.

Special Teams Mistakes Proved Costly

The Raiders led for just 13 seconds Sunday.

Just minutes after Carr found Andre Holmes for a 34-yard touchdown to propel the Raiders in front 14-13, Cordarrelle Patterson took Sebastian Janikowski's squib kick 93 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown that recaptured the lead for the Vikings – a lead they would not surrender for the rest of the day.

Special teams coordinator Brad Seely was brought to Oakland to shore up the Raiders coverages units, and for the most part he's done exactly that, but Sunday's lapse did prove costly.

Was it the reason the Raiders lost? Absolutely not, but it's the type of error that the Silver and Black can't afford if they want to win close games against quality teams going forward.

The Raiders Are Still Trending Up

As disappointing as it is to lose at home and to fall under .500, let's not forget that at this time just a year ago, the Raiders were an 0-9 team.

Now, Head Coach Del Rio has consistently said that this team and the 2014 Raiders are unrelated, and he's right, but it's easy to forget how far this team has come in a relatively short amount of time.

The Raiders are an improved unit from a year ago – that's hard to deny, but there is still room for improvement from top to bottom.

Sunday's game against the Vikings wasn't the team's best effort of the year, but there were also positives to take away as they prepare for their matchup against the Lions.

Charles Woodson may have summarized it best postgame, saying, "We're close, but not close enough, so we've got to keep on grinding."

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