Just when it seemed like the Raiders, after a disastrous 2-7 start, had finally figured it out, it all fell apart Thursday night with Las Vegas suffering another humiliating defeat, this time at the hands of a struggling Rams team that hadn’t won since Week 6. The Raiders’ latest collapse, letting a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead go to waste, had fans on Twitter lining up to fire Josh McDaniels, demanding accountability from the beleaguered head coach after getting torched by Baker Mayfield in his Los Angeles debut.
Losing to the Rams at full strength is one thing, but that hasn’t been the case in months with the reigning Super Bowl champs trotting out a MASH unit of low-wattage reserves led by the unheralded likes of Ben Skowronek, Van Jefferson and pint-sized deep threat Tutu Atwell (generously listed at 5’9”/165). Even with Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp reduced to spectator status, the Raiders couldn’t get it done, proving no match for Mayfield’s late-game heroics. Thrust into the lineup after an opening-drive three-and-out by hobbled backup John Wolford, Mayfield showed impressive poise, leading the Rams to victory despite only having 48 hours to learn the playbook (Los Angeles claimed him off waivers following his release from Carolina earlier this week).
Thursday marked the fourth time this year the Raiders have squandered a double-digit halftime lead, which can only be seen as a massive indictment of McDaniels’ coaching, displaying a concerning lack of urgency in pressure situations. For all his accomplishments in New England (and boy could the Patriots use his expertise as an offensive coordinator right now), McDaniels has failed spectacularly whenever he’s gone out on his own, proving dangerously ill-equipped as a head coach.
Ownership has been supportive of McDaniels, suggesting the Raiders plan to bring him back in 2023, regardless of this year’s outcome. It’s also worth noting Vegas had won its previous three games prior to Thursday’s letdown in Inglewood. Still, it’s hard to have any level of confidence in McDaniels, a career coordinator who, every time he’s left the safety net of Foxboro, has looked out of his depth, a supporting cast member inexplicably cast as the lead.