LAS VEGAS — It wasn’t the prettiest game, but the Las Vegas Raiders were able to get back in the victory column with a 17-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Monday at Allegiant Stadium, their first victory over the Packers since 1987.
The Raiders (2-3) picked off Packers quarterback Jordan Love three times, with linebacker Robert Spillane grabbing two and cornerback Amik Robertson clinching the game with an end zone pick with 44 seconds left. Love threw for 182 yards on 16-of-30 passing for the Packers (2-3), who scored their only touchdown on a third-quarter AJ Dillon run.
Las Vegas Raiders
For the first time since the Reagan administration, and when the Raiders called Los Angeles home, the Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Green Bay Packers, who had won eight straight games in the series.
All it took was an end zone interception by Robertson on a deep ball to Christian Watson after Raiders All-Pro kicker Daniel Carlson missed two field goals for the first time since the second game of his rookie season, when he was a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Raiders ended a three-game losing streak, and the schedule looks promising with the woeful New England Patriots coming to Las Vegas on Sunday before the Raiders head to the equally inept Chicago Bears a week later.
Promising trend: Spillane preached takeaways throughout the offseason, into training camp and throughout the start of the season … despite never having an interception and only recovering one fumble in his five-year career. Two picks against the Packers sent a message for a defense in desperate need of big plays. His first INT set up a Carlson field goal late in the second quarter and was the Raiders’ first score off a turnover this season. Las Vegas entered the game as one of two teams — next week’s opponents, the Patriots, were the other — without a point off a turnover this season.
Troubling trend: Jimmy Garoppolo turning Davante Adams into an invisible man and essentially ignoring him in the first half, when the Raiders had an opportunity to jump to a big lead. Consider: Adams had just one target before halftime, a catch that went for 12 yards. Before facing his old team in the Packers, Adams had accounted for 39% of Raiders targets this season, highest in the NFL.
QB breakdown: It wasn’t his prettiest outing but Garoppolo, back after missing last week’s loss at the Chargers with a concussion, did just enough even though he threw an interception for a fourth straight game, the longest such streak of his career. The Raiders have also committed a turnover in 12 straight games, the longest active streak in the league. Garoppolo passed for 208 yards while completing 22 of 31 attempts with a touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers and one interception for an 86.5 quarterback rating in his return. — Paul Gutierrez
Next game: vs. Patriots (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)
Green Bay Packers
Matt LaFleur and his offensive coaching staff will be busy during the bye this week. And they might need every last day of it in order to find something different for Love and the struggling offense.
General manager Brian Gutekunst might need to get in the act, too, lest he thinks he’s supplied that side of the ball with adequate weaponry.
Sure, the Packers were once again without running back Aaron Jones because of his lingering hamstring injury, but other than him and left tackle David Bakhtiari (who isn’t coming back from his knee injury), they had the rest of their skill-position players Monday night against a Raiders team that scared no one over the first month of the season.
It’s perfectly reasonable to expect there to be growing pains in Love’s first year as the starter, but to manage only 13 points against a Raiders defense is unacceptable. Love tried to get the ball to Watson, targeting the speedy receiver nine times. But two of them were intercepted, including one in the end zone in the final minute. Watson caught three passes for 91 yards, but most of that came on a 77-yard catch and run.
Biggest hole in the game plan: It was only one play, but the Raiders exposed it. With Adams lined up in the slot left on second-and-10 from the Packers’ 37-yard line late in the third quarter, the call from defensive coordinator Joe Barry apparently had outside linebacker Preston Smith trying to cover the All-Pro receiver without any nearby defensive back help. Of course, Adams beat Smith on a slant for a 17-yard gain that led to the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Troubling trend: The Packers have been outscored a combined 54-6 in the first half of their last three games. It’s the first time since December 1990 that they scored three or fewer points in the first half of three straight games in a season, according to ELIAS. They changed their approach, but the results did not change. Love came in averaging a league-high 9.7 air yards per pass attempt but in the first half averaged only 3.7 air yards per attempt, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Love did not complete a pass in the first half that traveled more than five yards in the air. The Packers were fortunate to only be down 10-3 after trailing the Lions 27-3 at the half last week.
Promising trend: For the second straight game, safety Rudy Ford set up the offense deep in the opponents’ territory with an interception. After picking off Jared Goff in the first quarter last Thursday, Ford got Garoppolo on the opening drive of the third quarter. Ford’s takeaway set up the Dillon touchdown that tied the game at 10-10 with 8:27 left in the third quarter.
QB breakdown: It would’ve been unreasonable to expect Love to put up the kind of ridiculously good touchdown-to-interception ratio that Aaron Rodgers did but after starting off with six touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first two games, Love has now thrown an interception in three straight games, the longest streak by a Packers quarterback since Rodgers in 2017. With his second interception, on a tipped pass that he tried to force to a tightly covered Watson, Love did something Rodgers never did in his career: Throw at least two interceptions in consecutive games. Brett Hundley was the last Packers starter to do that, in 2017. Before that, it was Brett Favre. — Rob Demovsky
Next game: at Broncos (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 22)
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