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Jon Gruden on Pride in the Las Vegas Raiders Offense, Defensive Change and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jon Gruden on Pride in the Las Vegas Raiders Offense, Defensive Change and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Short-Handed Las Vegas Raiders Fall 45-20 to Tampa Bay

The Las Vegas Raiders entered today's game short-handed and fell 45-20 to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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The Las Vegas Raiders were short-handed all week, including on Sunday, when they put up a good fight before coming up short against 43-year-old Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Silver and Black managed to stay with the Buccaneers into the fourth quarter before the Buccaneers pulled away in the final 10 minutes to claim a 45-20 victory at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The game originally was scheduled for prime time on Sunday night, but the NFL moved it to the afternoon after tackle Trent Brown and safety Johnathan Abram of the Raiders were placed on the Covid-19 list this week.

The rest of the Raiders offensive line was unable to practice most of the week because they had been in contact with Brown.

“I’m proud of our guys, really proud of our team,” Raiders Coach Jon Gruden told reporters after the game. “We had a tough week. We were in the ballgame, seven, eight minutes left, 24-20. It got away from us at the end. We have to play better.

“Obviously on defense, we’ve got better players. We’ve got to play better. We will. It’s disappointing, (but) credit to Tampa Bay. They’re a good team, I think we are too. We’ve got to do a better job. It goes back to me. Obviously, missing (Johnathan) Abram and (Damon) Arnette on the back end, it’s tough on us. But I’m not making excuses.

"We did not get enough pass rush today, and if you let Tom Brady sit back there and survey the field, he’s proved it for 20 years, he’s proving it for 21 years, that he’s still one of the very, very best.”

Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots before signing a free agent with the Buccaneers (5-2) before this season, was in vintage form while completing 33-of-45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns.

In addition, Brady scored a touchdown on a quarterback sneak.

“We’re 5-2, we’re at decent place, we’re not quite at the halfway point in the year,” Brady said. “We’ve got a lot of football left. We’re going to need everybody and we’re going to need everybody’s best and we're going to expect everybody’s best and we’re going to try to meet the challenge every week.

“ … There were some really good plays that were made and we finished the game strong against a good football team that played hard.”

Derek Carr kept the Raiders (3-3) in the game for as long as he could by completing 24-of-36 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns, bringing the Raiders back from a 24-10 halftime deficit early in the third quarter to within 24-20 with 12:43 left in the game.

Carr drove the Raiders 72 yards in six plays and threw a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Waller with 4:15 to left in the third quarter to cut the margin to 24-17.

“I’m not going to use any excuses, we can’t,” Carr said. “We’re in a production-oriented business. The miscommunication, absolutely, it took place. It’s a game of practice, it really is.

“You got to be available, not just for Sundays, you got to be available all throughout the week cause there’s so much information that goes into it.”

The Buccaneers had scored on four of their first six possessions, but the Raiders defense forced their second third-and-out of the game, and Carr drove the Raiders toward what could have been the tying touchdown.

However, when Waller was stopped one yard short of a first down at the Tampa Bay 19-yard-line after catching a five-yard pass from Carr, the Raiders settled for a 36-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson with 12:43 to make it 24-20.

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“It’s easy to second-guess right now, but in hindsight I probably would have done the same thing,” Gruden said.

However, it got ugly after that.

Brady drove the Buccaneers 67 yards in 11 plays, throwing a four-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin to make it 31-20 with 7:22 left, and after Carr’s pass bounced off Nelson Agholor’s hands and was intercepted by rookie Antoine Wingfield Jr., it took Tampa Bay only two plays to score again.

Brady hit Godwin down the left sideline for 24 yards to the one-yard-line and Ronald Jones powered into the end zone on the next play to make it 38-20 with 6:40 remaining.

When the Raiders got the ball back, Carr was stopped one yard short of the sticks while scrambling on fourth down and Brady took the Buccaneers 32 yards in six plays for some frosting on the cake, throwing a one-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Johnson to end the scoring with 3:08 left.

The Raiders actually scored first, with Carr hitting Agholor down the seam for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 9:55 left in the first quarter, but the Buccaneers got even with a 77-yard scoring drive that Brady capped with a one-yard quarterback sneak with 5:37 left.

Carlson’s 42-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter gave the Raiders their final lead at 10-7, four plays after Carr hit rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III with a 28-yard pass.

However, the Buccaneers took charge before halftime with Brady throwing touchdown passes of five yards to tight end Rob Gronkowski and 33 yards to Sean Miller with 17 seconds left in the half to make it 21-10.

“It was a sweet play,” said Miller, who caught six passes for 109 yards. “Tom put it on the money there in the back corner. It was really just a straight go-route, I just ran right at my guy and got on his toes.

"{Tom put it up and I knew it was close to being out of bounds, so I just tried to catch it and dropped straight to my knees to try to get at least one knee down. It ended up working out, but again, he put it right in the breadbasket and made it easy for me.”

Brady and Gronk, who also played in New England, have combined four 80 touchdown passes in the regular season during their time together—good for second all-time.

As if the Raiders didn’t have enough problems on their offensive line, Sam Young was filling in for Brown but had to leave because of a knee injury in the first half and was replaced by second-year man Brandon Parker.

Then guard Gabe Jackson was ejected for a personal foul penalty after Waller’s touchdown and was replaced by rookie John Simpson, the last lineman on the bench.

“This whole year has been weird with the virus, but we did the best we could and followed protocol along the way,” Raiders tackle Kolton Miller said. “But individually, we tried to do our best with what we (had).

“When we weren’t at practice, those twos got a lot more extra reps. So in a way, they were a little bit more prepared to step in. But we’re just doing our best to stay healthy and try to overcome this virus. We did the best we could.”

The Raiders should have time to get their line back together this week before going on the road to play the Cleveland Browns next Sunday.

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The Las Vegas Raiders were short-handed all week, including on Sunday, when they put up a good fight before coming up short against 43-year-old Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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