LAS VEGAS – The Packers fell to the Raiders, 17-13, on Monday Night Football at Allegiant Stadium. Here are five takeaways from the defeat.
1. Packers had their chances.
Needing a touchdown to take the lead, Green Bay had two drives in the fourth quarter reach Las Vegas territory, but both ended in interceptions.
Both were passes to Christian Watson, one on second-and-long against tight coverage with the ball getting deflected for a pick. The other came in the final minute, from the Las Vegas 35-yard line.
QB Jordan Love thought he saw Watson behind the defender, but underthrew the ball and it was intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Amik Robertson.
"He was trying to give him a chance at the end of the game there," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "The other one was a bang-bang play on the deep curl cut, the corner did a nice job squeezing the route, and the ball popped in the air. Sometimes that's the price of doing business."
Love admitted on the tight one he might've tried to force the throw a little bit, and off the deflection linebacker Robert Spillane got his second pick of the game.
On the clincher, it was third-and-10 with 51 seconds left and he appeared to have some space to run for the first down, but he thought he saw Watson flash so he took the shot.
"I thought we could make a play to go win it right there in the end zone," Love said. "I underthrew it. Didn't get it out there enough, and the DB made a good play."
The other big regret came in the third quarter, when a 77-yard catch-and-run by Watson (three catches, 91 yards) made it first-and-goal on the 3. Watson was dragged down by a horse-collar tackle that saved the TD, and the half-the-distance penalty was worth only three yards.
The Packers couldn't punch it in, settling for a field goal and a 13-10 lead.
2. Raiders turned around the turnover stat.
Las Vegas came into the game minus-9 in turnover margin, with just one takeaway through four games. But the Raiders intercepted Love three times, the first one by Spillane setting up a field goal in the first half and the latter two coming in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the Packers got one takeaway, an interception by safety Rudy Ford on the opening series of the second half, and turned it into the offense's lone touchdown.
But losing the turnover battle minus-2 to a team that was woeful in that category coming in was not going to cut it.
"When you have three turnovers, it's tough to overcome that," LaFleur said.
3. Defense had some lapses but overall did its part.
Green Bay's defense had two rough drives on which Las Vegas put together long, time-consuming marches for touchdowns. One was 14 plays covering 62 yards, taking 8:28 off the clock. The other was 10 plays for 75 yards in 5:20.
But other than that, the Raiders didn't do much. Love's first interception set up Las Vegas with first-and-goal, but the defense forced the field goal. The unit also lost two starters, linebacker Quay Walker (knee) and safety Darnell Savage (calf) to injury, but hung tough.
Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson also struggled on his distance kicks. He had a 53-yard field goal blocked by Yosh Nijman late in the first half and then clanked the right upright on a late 52-yarder, keeping the Raiders' lead at just four points.
"I thought our defense competed hard, did enough for us to win the game," LaFleur said. "Anytime you hold somebody to 17 points, that's enough to win football games in this league."
Check out photos from the Week 5 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.
4. First halves remain a problem for the offense, and missing Aaron Jones hasn't helped.
The Packers went into halftime with just three points on the scoreboard, giving them a total of just six points in the first halves of their last three games.
"Obviously we're searching for a little bit of answers right now," LaFleur said. "We've got to find something to get us going, to jump start us.
"It seemed like when we dialed up some passes, they had some timely calls defensively. They did a better job than we did."
Star running back Aaron Jones missed his third game in the last four weeks due to a hamstring injury after playing on a limited basis a week ago Thursday, and the offense continues to miss him.
LaFleur said something didn't feel right for Jones at Saturday's practice, and the decision was made collectively by him, General Manager Brian Gutekunst and the medical staff to hold Jones out until after the bye week.
"We definitely thought it was in his best interest not to risk it," LaFleur said. "He wanted to go.
"He wanted desperately to be out there today to help this team, but we've got a lot of football in front of us … 12 games in front of us, and we're going to need him for the duration of those."
Running back AJ Dillon had his best game of the season thus far (20 carries, 76 yards, TD), but it's clear the offense is struggling to get going early in games without Jones.
5. There's a long time to think about this losing streak now.
The Packers thought the mini-bye after the loss to the Lions would allow for some time to regroup and figure out the slow starts, but that didn't happen.
Now it's an entire week off, and a two-game losing skid that has dropped the Packers to 2-3.
"It's a good break. I think we'll just all come together and bounce back," Love said. "That's how it goes. It's week to week, and we've got to find a way to bounce back. We didn't this week, and now it's on to next week."