The Las Vegas Raiders followed up their Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with another heartbreaking loss. The Raiders conceded their 10th loss of the season after losing at home to the San Francisco 49ers 37-34 in overtime in Week 17 of the 2022 NFL season. Las Vegas led by double digits at times in the second half, but then collapsed again. That result pulled the Raiders back to 6-10, putting them in third place in the AFC West. It also officially booted them out of the postseason. Here we will discuss the four Raiders most responsible for their Week 17 loss to the 49ers.
The Raiders tried to capitalize on a rare poor performance by the 49ers defense. However, they did not succeed, at least not completely. Remember that Las Vegas has lost three of their last four games. This was also their fifth loss of the season after leading by double figures in the second half. That sets a dubious NFL record.
The Raiders took a 17-14 lead at halftime when QB Jarrett Stidham threw a backup 4-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams, who managed to keep both feet inbounds while making the catch in the end zone. That game made Adams the eighth receiver in NFL history with at least three seasons in which he had 13 or more touchdowns. Las Vegas extended their lead to 24-14 early in the third quarter when Stidham scored a 60-yard touchdown with Adams. However, they left the door open for a 49ers comeback, and that’s exactly what happened.
First, let’s look at the four Raiders most responsible for their Week 17 loss to the 49ers.
Full team effort. pic.twitter.com/7kPRvI5LQ4
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) January 2, 2023
4. OT Kolton Miller
Offensive tackle Kolton Miller had two weak moments in this game. He was badly hit near the goal line on a failed 4-inch attempt. That caused the game called by McDaniels to fail. The Raiders might have been better off trying a different play, such as a QB sneak, but Miller’s mistake sealed their fate. He also allowed 49ers DE Nick Bosa to drive him to Stidham in overtime. This led to Stidham’s OT interception and the Raiders’ loss.
3. Predator secondary
The Raiders secondary team struggled in that game, notably CB Amik Robertson and FS Tre’von Moehrig.
While Robertson’s performance wasn’t the game’s worst, it represented the overall breakdown of the defense. He had an interception in the first half that kept the Raiders’ 24-21 lead. However, he was burned by 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk for 23 yards on a drive that followed Carlson’s 57-yard field goal. He just gave Aiyuk too much space throughout the game. On the same drive, Robertson was also hit hard and tripped by the 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. That led to a touchdown in San Francisco with a spectacular catch and run.
Meanwhile, Möhrig had an unforgettable performance. He allowed a reception for 28 yards and was also flagged for passing interference. Note that this was his fourth penalty in the last five games. He also received a below-average score of 52.8 from PFF against the run. Möhrig just didn’t feel comfortable with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s system all season. Now the Raiders need to find more help at the safety position in the offseason.
2. Raiders Run Defense
The Las Vegas defense fought the run, allowing San Francisco to rush for 170 yards overall and 6.3 yards per carry.
The team’s linebackers, especially Luke Masterson, played a significant role in this fight. They kept chasing too much, leaving McCaffery and other 49ers wide rushing lanes to run through. This resulted in Masterson earning the sixth-lowest PFF run defense grade (38.2) among linebackers prior to Monday Night Football.
With the Raiders suffering from a series of injuries at the linebacker position, it was a missed opportunity for Masterson to build momentum in the offseason. That was disappointing as he had performed well in the last two games against the Rams and the Patriots.
1. Coach Josh McDaniels
It seemed almost certain that the Raiders would lose as they took a double-digit lead in the second half. For most of this season, Las Vegas fans have just had this cursed-like feeling hanging over their heads.
However, head coach Josh McDaniels bears much of the blame for this collapse and the team’s inability to finish on target. It was particularly painful here after the attack hit in the first ball possession of the second half. After that, their next three drives totaled just 14 plays and 56 yards and ended in two punts and an interception. They ran just three plays in opposing territory and never went further than the 49ers’ 46-yard line.
While the Raiders scored on their last two drives in the fourth quarter, many of those games were the result of Stidham making something out of nothing. In a way, these indicated that play-calling remained too predictable. It’s up to the head coach.