The Raiders lost to the Cardinals in overtime on Sunday after leading 20-0 at halftime. Las Vegas let Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray loose and was outscored 29-3 after the break. In the end, a fumble by wide receiver Hunter Renfrow was returned for a touchdown and the Raiders lost in sudden death, 29-23.
The defeat ruined the Raiders’ home opener at Allegiant Stadium and put Las Vegas’ record at 0-2. For coach Josh McDaniels, he was again denied his first win as Raiders coach, this time in a historic collapse.
Here are the winners and losers for the week, as the Raiders must be wondering how they let a crucial victory slip away.
Winner: S Duron Harmon
The winner section was slated to include quarterback Derek Carr and running back Josh Jacobs, as the Raiders ran the ball early to keep the Cardinals off balance and give Carr a clean pocket to throw from.
But that’s not how the game ended up. Our first winner is safety Duron Harmon, who made consecutive big plays in the first possession of overtime. First, he made a tackle on 3rd-and-5 to keep Arizona from a first down. Then he hit wide receiver Marquise Brown to break up what looked like a sure completion on 4th-and-1.
.@dharm32 broke it up for the turnover on downs! 💥
📺: CBS pic.twitter.com/eQLDH3xsKD
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) September 18, 2022
His effort gave the Raiders the ball in overtime, needing only a field goal to win. Renfrow’s fumble ended that notion, but Harmon showed fight nonetheless.
Winner: TE Foster Moreau
Tight end Foster Moreau had three catches for 30 yards, but he’s a winner this week for showing heart near the end of this loss, too.
Renfrow actually fumbled twice on the Raiders’ final possession of the game, and his first was recovered by Moreau. He battled two Cardinals for the football and won, granting the Raiders another chance to win.
Of course, the Raiders couldn’t pick up Renforw’s second fumble and lost. But Moreau fought until the bitter end.
Winners: DE Maxx Croxby/CB Amik Robertson
The Raiders notched their first QB sack and interception of the season, courtesy of defensive end Maxx Crosby and cornerback Amik Robertson.
Here’s Robertson’s pick, which occurred, of course, in the first half.
He wanted it. He saw it. He took it.
INT @_YoungTruth7 😤
📺: CBS pic.twitter.com/AO3Qn6SFkt
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) September 18, 2022
Crosby’s QB sack happened before halftime, as well. The pass rush disappeared after the break as Murray found his groove and started to run wild.
Robertson had his share of not-so-good plays, too, but for a while, it appeared he’d be a symbol for a choppy win for the Raiders, as he kept fighting through adversity and made enough plays to get the job done. That’s not how this Sunday went for Las Vegas, however.
Loser: coach Josh McDaniels
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where this game started to unravel for the Raiders. But one poor sequence that must be mentioned falls on the shoulders of coach Josh McDaniels.
The Raiders had just stopped the Cardinals on fourth down after consecutive nice plays by Robertson and CB Nate Hobbs in the red zone. Las Vegas took the ball up 23-7 with 12:31 left in regulation.
As the Raiders’ run game was effective to that point, chewing up clock with the ground game seemed like a good idea — except to McDaniels. Las Vegas threw three incomplete passes and punted, taking a measly 24 seconds off the clock.
Arizona responded with a touchdown, and after Murray converted an absurd, scrambling run for a successful 2-point try, it was clear McDaniels and the Raiders were in big trouble. Also, this is a good time to mention defensive coordinator Patrick Graham as an honorable mention on the loser list, since his group failed to stop Murray in the second half.
This Kyler Murray 2-point conversation is absolute bonkers 🤯
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 18, 2022
Loser: OT Thayer Munford
After Robertson’s interception, the Raiders were flying high. But in perhaps the first sign of trouble on the day, they had to settle for a 55-yard field goal on a promising drive that could have further dampened the Cardinals’ mood before halftime.
But rookie OT Thayer Munford Jr. had two penalties on the drive: one for holding, and one for an illegal formation infraction. His first penalty wiped out a 15-yard run from Jacobs. His second canceled an 11-yard catch and run by RB Ameer Abdullah.
It’s incredible that Munford, a seventh-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, was out there at all — especially considering he didn’t start the game and rotated in for OT Jermaine Eluemunor, though Eluemunor suffered an early hip injury. So it’s unclear whether Munford would have rotated in regardless, as he did last week.
In any event, part of Munford’s loss falls on McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, who have seemingly outright refused to upgrade their right tackle position for months now.
Loser: WR Hunter Renfrow
Renfrow had a tough time holding on to the football last season, as he coughed it up five times. That issue has flown under the radar a bit, but it blipped significantly on Sunday.
Moreau saved him on his first blunder, but couldn’t on his second. Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons knocked the ball loose on a vicious hit, allowing CB Byron Murphy to scoop and score for a 59-yard fumble return touchdown.
BYRON MURPHY WINNER pic.twitter.com/JQkRIWISuo
— PHNX Cardinals (@PHNX_Cardinals) September 18, 2022
If Renfrow can hold on to the ball there, the Raiders likely win, as they were near field goal range and kicker Daniel Carlson is as clutch as they come. But it was not to be on this given Sunday.
Making matters worse, Renfrow was evaluated for a concussion after the game.
Mcdaniels’ coaching skills — not play calling, but the intangible kind — will be put to the test now, much earlier than expected. Can he lead the Raiders in overcoming early-season adversity?
He should probably try getting the ball to superstar WR Davante Adams, who had just two catches. But before that point, the Raiders’ leadership has to step up, as they lost after leading by 20-plus points for the first time in franchise history, putting themselves in an 0-2 hole after this historic collapse.
This was first time in franchise history the #Raiders lost a game they led by 20+ points. Previous high was 18:
38-35 loss to Bills in 2011
24-21 loss to Browns in 2006
22-21 loss to Seahawks in 1997
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) September 19, 2022