The Raiders came into this season carrying the weight of high expectations. They didn’t live up to them Sunday night in their 27-10 loss to Washington.
Washington looked sharp right off the bat. The defense pressured Derek Carr relentlessly, landing four sacks. It held Carr to 118 yards, one touchdown, and snagged two interceptions.
Oakland’s defense was up and down against Washington. It landed one sack on Kirk Cousins and allowed him 365 passing yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.
Here are four things we learned from Washington’s win over the Raiders.
1. Kirk Cousins is going to get paid this offseason
Okay, fine. This isn’t a thing we just learned tonight, but the talent Cousins has and the level of play he’s capable of was on display.
Cousins finished with a passer rating of 150.7, and looked confident throughout. The offensive line deserves recognition, because not only did they keep Cousins upright, they also took some pressure off with effective run blocking.
And he had plenty of help from his teammates. Chris Thompson went off, once again, with 150 receiving yards and a touchdown on just six catches, and he added 38 yards on the ground.
But Cousins looked poised and in control all night, like he did on this 52-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson.
2. Washington had some glaring mistakes
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Washington. They had to overcome a muffed punt that Oakland recovered deep in Washington territory.
There was also a missed field goal and a late-game fumble that Oakland recovered in Washington territory, too. But overall, the Washington defense stepped up and kept things under control.
3. Oakland looked pretty unprepared overall
The Raiders didn’t score until late in the third quarter, and Derek Carr — an MVP candidate before his season-ending injury in Week 16 of last year — didn’t even surpass 100 passing yards until the Raiders’ final drive.
Washington worked over one of the best offensive lines in the league, getting Carr on the ground four times and hitting him six times. The line was off all night. Pass protection and run blocking were not up to snuff, and Carr was surprised by some errant snaps. And Washington was tough against the run, too. They allowed Marshawn Lynch just 18 yards, and he was the Raiders’ leading rusher.
Oakland had some opportunities. They recovered a Samaje Perine fumble in the fourth quarter and were in scoring position, but Washington held them. The Raiders settled for a field goal, and couldn’t do enough on either side of the ball to keep the game competitive.
4. Chris Thompson is damn good
Thompson was a fifth-round draft pick by Washington in 2013. He’s made a name for himself this season, and Sunday’s win will help build his reputation as one of the hottest backs in the league right now.
He’s versatile and an adept receiver. His 74-yard catch and run was a thing of beauty.
4. Vernon Davis seems to like the new celebration rules
Vernon Davis got into the end zone early, and he would have been fined for this celebration last season. This is why it’s great that the NFL relaxed its rules for those.
If Washington keeps playing like this, they’ll be able to contend for the NFC East. And if the Raiders don’t tighten up, they’ll be left out in the cold in a competitive AFC West.