The Las Vegas Raiders’ promising 2-0 start is in their rear-view mirror and after four games of the 2020 season, they are simply a .500 team with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on the horizon.
Quarterback Josh Allen passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as the undefeated Buffalo Bills held on for a 30-23 victory over the Raiders on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
The Raiders’ second game at their new stadium, which seats 65,000 fans, was again played without spectators because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Las Vegas made it close at the finish when Derek Carr hit wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a seven-yard touchdown pass with 1:29 left in the game, but Daniel Carlson’s onside kick was recovered by the Bills, who ran out the clock.
"You saw the game," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "We made some turnovers, but our defense has to get some turnovers, too. I think we've had one or two turnovers all season. Our defense has to play better.
“ ... If anyone has played a tougher schedule than us, tell me who has? We played Monday night against the Saints, cross country for a short week against the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills are undefeated and playoff team. We’re not going to get any sympathy next week either going to Arrowhead.
“This is a great opportunity for us to continue to get better and look at our young players. We’ve been in all these games, we’ve won two, we’ve lost two and the first quarter is in the books.”
The Bills (4-0 for the first time since 2008) took the lead for good at the start with two 75-yard touchdown drives and when the Raiders (2-2) pulled to within 17-16 after three quarters, Buffalo put the game away two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Last week, the Bills blew a 25-point lead to the Los Angeles Rams, but Allen threw a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end, Tyler Kroft, with 15 seconds left to pull out a 35-32 victory.
This time, Allen completed 24-of-34 passes for 288 yards without an interception and threw touchdowns of 26 yards to rookie Gabriel Davis and 11 yards to Cole Beasley to build a 14-3 lead.
Allen added a one-yard quarterback sneak on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 23-16 and rookie kicker Tyler Bass gave the Raiders hole when he missed the extra point.
The Raiders took the ensuing kickoff and were driving for what could have been the tying touchdown when tight end Darren Waller caught a four-yard pass from Carr, but Bills cornerback Josh Norman forced and recovered a fumble.
“I bided my time, and I was able to see [Waller] in the flat again.” Norman said. “ ... I know he always likes to get extra yardage, so when I went to knock the ball out, I struck it. Coach was saying, ‘Somebody make a play.’ I said, ‘I’ll make a play!’”
Added Gruden: “The guy made a good play on Waller.”
Said Waller: “I feel my fumble was the turning point. “Stefon Diggs had the deep play the next play after. That was a huge swing right there. That’s where it started to get out of our control.”
On the next play, Allen hit Stefon Diggs down the middle for 49 yards to the Las Vegas 11-yard line, and three plays later, Devin Singletary, who rushed for 55 yards on 18 carries, ran two yards for a touchdown to make it 30-16 with 11:17 left in the game.
Diggs led the Bills with six catches for 115 yards.
Carr, who lost two fumbles last week in a loss to the New England Patriots, had the ball knocked away again by defensive end Quintin Jefferson on the next series and Jefferson also recovered with 5:21 left.
The Raiders forced the Bills to punt but simply ran out of time.
Carr completed 32-of-44 passes for 311 yards without an interception for the eighth straight game dating to last season and hit the veteran tight end, Jason Witten, with his second scoring pass of three yards.
“I’m sick of losing,” Carr said. “I’m sick of working as hard as I do and we do and losing. It sucks. Enough is enough.”
Witten, the former All-Pro with the Dallas Cowboys, made the 73rd scoring catch of his career, while Carr’s two touchdown passes gave him 151 his career, breaking Kenny (Snake) Stabler’s franchise record.
Josh Jacobs led the Raiders with only 48 yards on 15 carries, but the Silver and Black had trouble running the ball with tackle Trent Brown and guard Richie Incognito out because of injuries.
“They were flying in all the gaps, shooting the holes, early on they made our line react fast,” Jacobs said. “We had a few injuries, but it’s just a credit to their defense.”
Waller, after making only two catches last week against the Patriots, again was Carr’s favorite receiver with nine catches for 88 yards, while Hunter Renfrow had five receptions for 57 yards, Agholor had four for 44 and Zay Jones added four for 32.
Agholor and Jones started in place of starters Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, who also were out because of injuries.
Carr hit Agholor for what appeared to be a 49-yard touchdown strike early in the second quarter, but the play was nullified by an illegal formation penalty because tight end Foster Moreau lined up on the line of scrimmage instead of one-yard into the backfield.
The drive stalled and the Raiders had to settle for one of Carlson’s three field goals of 54, 39, and 29 yards, and coming away with three instead of seven that many times made a big difference in the end.
So the Raiders will head to Kansas City to play their AFC West rival next Sunday on a two-game losing streak.
How to watch or listen to the Las Vegas Raiders versus the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday?
Radio: Raider Nation Radio
Odds: (Not Yet Available)
Tell us what you think in the comment section below and please make sure you like our Facebook Page WHEN YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE.
Want the latest breaking Las Vegas Raiders news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Raiders Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE FOLLOW button on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates for your Las Vegas Raiders when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter, @HikaruKudo1