The Las Vegas Raiders, it turns out, were their own worst enemies in New England on Sunday. Even if there was a blown fumble call that went against them (long live the Tuck Rule -- or not). Rather, the Raiders stumbled all over themselves in a 36-20 loss to the Patriots after absolutely dominating early. Self-inflicted wounds in the guise of penalties, turnovers by Derek Carr (twice) and Josh Jacobs, a missed field goal and the inability to take advantage of momentum early in each half spelled the Raiders' doom as they fell to 2-1.
Describe the game in two words: Blown opportunity. As noted above, the Raiders had every opportunity to go up by three scores with the Patriots on the ropes early, but a pre-snap penalty on rookie left guard John Simpson, a lost fumble inside the Patriots' 15-yard line by Jacobs and an illegal man downfield flag on right tackle Denzelle Good resulted in a 3-0 lead for the Raiders, despite dominating on the stat sheet.
Troubling trend: A week after catching 12 passes, on 16 targets, tight end Darren Waller was all but a forgotten man in the Raiders' offense in New England. In fact, he was not targeted until the third quarter and the first two times Carr threw the ball to him each nearly ended in an interception. Not only did the Patriots make a concerted effort to take Waller out of the game, but he was also dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Waller finished with two catches, on four targets for 9 yards. The second attempt to Waller came in the end zone with the Raiders within 23-10, at the New England 11-yard line and with less than 12 minutes to play. Jacobs, meanwhile, rushed for 71 yards on 16 carries but also was dealing with a hip injury and looked shaken up in the second half.
QB Breakdown: As efficient as Carr had been through two games, he was just as uneven in New England. And part of that might be because of injuries on the offensive line and at receiver, where speedster Henry Ruggs III was out with a hamstring injury suffered in practice on Thursday, and fellow rookie Bryan Edwards left in the third quarter with a right ankle injury after being tackled awkwardly on a 34-yard catch and run. Carr lost a pair of fumbles on strip sacks, including one for a touchdown with 5:10 to play. Carr, who threw a TD pass in the final two minutes of the first half for the third straight week, passed Daryle Lamonica for second place on the Raiders' all-time TD pass list with No. 149. Hall of Famer Ken Stabler leads with 150 TD passes. Carr finished 24 of 32 passing for 261 yards with two TDs but two lost fumbles.
Eye-popping NFL Next Gen Stat: The Raiders had a combined six penalties through their first two games. They had six penalties in New England.