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Three-and-out: Bucky Brooks' observations from the Raiders' Week 17 loss

The Raiders' playoff hopes faded in a 23-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on the road. Though the Silver and Black have shown promise under Antonio Pierce's guidance, the disappointing loss puts the Raiders on the outside looking in when the playoff field is settled at the end of Week 18.

With some to review and reflect on the loss, here are some thoughts from a former NFL scout.

Raiders drop an opportunity

The Raiders faced long odds of making the playoffs, but the disappointing effort against the Colts feels like a blown chance to extend their season. The Raiders could not come up with enough plays to tilt the game despite putting together a plan designed to crush the Colts' running game and force Gardner Minshew to make plays as a playmaker from the pocket.

The Colts ran for 134 yards on 29 carries, with Taylor accounting for 96 yards and a touchdown on 21 rushing attempts. The methodical, run-based attack enabled the Colts to keep Minshew on a limited pitch count designed to minimize his turnover chances. Without forcing the journeyman into a pass-heavy game plan, the Raiders could not create the chaos and turnovers needed to knock off the AFC South contenders.

With the Raiders also committing a handful of costly penalties and surrendering a few "explosives" (big plays), the team violated the "DBO" (Don't Beat Ourselves) principles that keyed the team's late-season surge.

Davante Adams tops the 1,000-yard mark again

The perennial All-Pro registered his fourth straight 1,000-yard season and the fifth of his 10-year career with a 13-catch, 126-yard effort against the Colts. Adams' dominance on the perimeter as a WR1 effectively anchors a passing game that flashes explosive potential with a collection of polished route runners in place to attack the defense from various angles.

As the Raiders contemplate how to take the offense to another level, Adams should remain the focal point of the passing game as the No. 1 option. With the veteran continuing to post elite production while commanding double coverage and extra attention, the Raiders can create and exploit mismatches featuring the WR1 as the playmaker or decoy on the perimeter. In a league where stars matter, Adams' continued success gives the Raiders a chance to put up big numbers against any defense.

Zamir White is ready for a bigger role

The absence of Josh Jacobs over the past few weeks has allowed White to showcase his potential as an RB1. The second-year pro has responded with 285 rush yards on 59 carries (4.83 yards per attempt) with a score over his past three games. The steady production with a heavy workload has shown decision-makers that he can handle the No. 1 role.

While the Raiders are certainly better with Jacobs in the fold, the chance to feature co-RB1s gives the team a dynamic duo with contrasting styles. As the league returns to a "ground-and-pound" emphasis that protects quarterbacks and enhances a complementary football game plan, elevating White into a prominent role should be a part of a longterm strategy that helps the Raiders inch closer toward contender status.

View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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