Graphic Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media


FSM Essential Recap: Raiders vs Saints – Week 8

Las Vegas Raiders (2-5) | New Orleans Saints (3-5)

Franchise Sports Media


The Silver & Black were shut out in New Orleans on Hallow’s Eve. Thanks largely to Alvin Kamara’s three touchdowns, the Saints’ offense shined under QB Andy Dalton.


Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

As those of you early risers know, a 10:00 AM PST kickoff is a luxury affording you the rest of your Sunday to either watch more football or do something else (like that’s even a question). Additionally, the morning almost got started with a Denver Broncos loss in London, England (6:30 AM PST kickoff), but the Jaguars were unable to hold their late lead: Oh well…

For the Silver & Black, Raider Nation has assimilated in “The Big Easy” for the weekend, taking in Southern hospitality from another animated NFL fan base–the “Who Dat Nation.” It’s safe to say that the hospitality ended as Vegas entered through the doors of Caesars Superdome in downtown New Orleans. Remember, in the land of Louisiana, football is right up there with God.

Heading into the Raiders‘ Week 8 clash with the Saints, I’m checking the injury report every fifteen minutes up until kickoff; With so many “Questionable” designations on the board, it’s difficult to get an exact scope of what this game will be. However, we already know star players like TE Darren Waller (hamstring), wide receivers Mike Thomas (foot) and Jarvis Landry (ankle), and CB Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) will all be out. Nonetheless, it should be fun, fast, and loud!

As always, look at the 53-man roster before checking out this week’s recap against the Saints. At this point in the season, every contest is pivotal.


Previous contests:


HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)
WK4: Raiders 32 – Broncos 23 (W)
WK5: Chiefs 30 – Raiders 29 (L)
WK7: Raiders 38 – Texans 20 (W)


1st Quarter


Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

On a Halloween weekend in the Crescent City, the Saints won the coin toss and spookily deferred their choice to the second half, giving Las Vegas the first possession of the game. After a touchback, the Raiders got started with two consecutive negative plays—a stretch handoff to RB Josh Jacobs and a blown-up check-down to TE Foster Moreau. On 3rd down, Carr had WR Mack Hollins uncovered up the left sideline but missed his target high. A quick three-and-out, and we’ll have our first look at the banged-up Saints’ O-unit.

With Andy Dalton under center for New Orleans (despite Jameis Winston being fully cleared to play), he picked up a lone 1st down on their opening drive after mixing in runs with completions to TE Juwan Johnson and RB Mark Ingram. Still, the drive fizzled out after a drop on a slant from rookie wideout Chris Olave. After a possession each, neither side’s offense impressed in front of the rowdy crowd.

Las Vegas went right back to the ground on their second offensive drive. A toss-right to Jacobs gained six before Carr went back to Hollins a couple of plays later for a 1st down from the slot. Next, Jacobs bruised through the gut for a powerful run between the tackles, moving the chains again. On the ensuing first down, Carr had a wide-open Keelan Cole running down the right sideline but narrowly missed him long. A Raiders penalty and a failed HB-screen pass abruptly stalled the drive, however, forcing punter A.J. Cole’s second appearance of the day. After two possessions from the Raiders, it’s still a scoreless affair.

On the Saints‘ next drive, it was initially the Raiders‘ defense that stole the momentum, with LB Denzel Perryman and DE Maxx Crosby making back-to-back impact plays (including Crosby’s league-leading 12th TFL). However, the Saints began to mix up their offensive scheme from there, bringing utilityman Taysom Hill to keep Vegas off-balanced. Hill contributed several positive runs before Dalton came back on the field to hit WR Rashid Shaheed for a 30-yard gain into Raiders territory. After more QB dives from Hill, the Saints eventually entrusted the rock to RB Alvin Kamara, who was able to punch the ball across the goal line for the game’s first touchdown (and surprisingly, Kamara’s first rushing TD in 2022). Near the end of 1Q, the Saints have gone up 7-0. How will the Raiders respond?

After another touchback, Carr went right to Louisiana kid (and LSU product) Foster Moreau for a 1st down on an out-route. Hollins and Jacobs added positive touches before the opening quarter’s clock expired. After one, the Saints are up 7-0 with many ghouls and goblins in the crowd.

2nd Quarter


Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Still, with the ball near midfield, the Raiders would start 2Q with a 3rd & 1. With that, the Raiders went jet-sweep to WR Davante Adams, who was met in the backfield by a screaming DE Marcus Davenport. Lining up the punt, Las Vegas then snapped the ball to the running back in an attempt to catch New Orleans off-guard. That was not the case, as the Raiders lost three yards and were simultaneously flagged for a chop block; If going for it, why not just leave the offense out there at that point? It was a poorly timed and executed fake punt, to put things kindly.

Now with an advantageous field position, the Saints were able to string together enough positive plays (without a 1st down) to push the football into K Will Lutz‘s field goal range. From 37 yards out, Lutz extended the Saints‘ lead to 10-0. Would this light Las Vegas‘ fire?

Starting at the 19-yard line, Carr came out under center to hand off to Jacobs on a short HB dive. Down two scores on the road, it might be time to open things up offensively. Next, Carr found a crossing Moreau to get the ball near the sticks. Unfortunately, the next play would be the Raiders’ final one of the drive. Carr tossed the ball over the middle to a triple-covered WR Hunter Renfrow, and somehow, it wound up in the hands of the “Honey BadgerTyrann Mathieu. After four-straight games without a turnover, Carr throws his fifth interception of the season.

Again with a short field, the Saints elected to keep things simple, mixing up Kamara and Hill rushes for chunk gains. After a brief hiccup (false start), the Saints came out in the gun from the edge of the Raiders’ red zone. With Dalton at quarterback, the “Red Rifle” fired a bullet over the middle to Kamara, who was on an angle route from the backfield. Running through contact (poor tackling from the Raiders/no one wrapping up), Kamara bounced over the goal line to give New Orleans a three-score lead (capitalizing on Las Vegas’ turnover), 17-0.

Staying under center, Carr’s next pass went to Jacobs in the flat for no-gain. Then, on his best ball to that point, Carr threw up a fade to Adams deep down the left sideline who went full ballet-mode to keep his feet in-bounds. However, after initially being ruled a catch, another official quickly signaled incomplete, and that’s how it stood. The following play resulted in Derek Carr being engulfed by New Orleans’ entire pass rush. Thankfully, a defensive holding penalty on the Saints salvaged the clunky drive for the Raiders.

With charitable new life, the Raiders’ offense went back to Jacobs for a positive run before finding a crossing Moreau (who is doing well shouldering Waller’s work) for a 1st down. Next, Jacobs did well to shift away from would-be tackles in the backfield, turning the play into a five-yard gain. When faced with a 3rd down near midfield, Carr tossed up another fade for Adams but was unsuccessful after rookie CB Alontae Taylor was sticky in coverage. Forced into another punt, Cole trotted out to do his work, booting it back to the Saints.

Now nearing the end of the first half, the Saints faced a 3rd down after a TFL from Tre’von Moehrig and a PDF from S Duron Harmon. However, Olave was able to pick up the sticks after beating CB Rock Ya-Sin on a fade-stop. That led to the two-minute warning.

At midfield, Dalton continued the drive by finding WR Marquez Callaway and Kamara on back-to-back 1st down receptions, which would be enough to give Lutz a shot at a 38-yard field goal, which he missed. The best moment of the second quarter for the Raiders. Heading into the locker rooms, it’s still 17-0 Raiders, as the Silver & Black face their most significant halftime deficit of the year.


3rd Quarter


Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Since the Saints deferred their possession to the second half, Lutz’s missed field goal to end 2Q was like playing with house money, especially up 17-0. New Orleans’ offense reclaimed the field and saw their first couple of rush attempts stuffed before Taysom Hill took a carry around the left edge for a 1st down. Then faced with a 3rd down, a questionable pass interference penalty on Ya-Sin extended the drive for NOLA.

From there, the Saints would go back to Kamara, who found his third touchdown of the day shortly after that, scoring around the right side from 36 yards out. On Hallow’s Eve, this is getting a little scary, with Saints now leading a 24-point skunk.

Faced with the steepest of uphill battles, Carr and the offense returned to action, with Renfrow securing his first catch of the game. Next, a run from Jacobs up the gut would move the chains, but Carr was then sacked on both of the next two plays. Left with a 3rd & 23, a check-down pass to Jacobs could not make up the deficit. Cole punted for the fourth time today.

The Saints offense came back out with Hill at quarterback, taking a shifty gun run for a 1st down himself. Playing tag-team, Dalton returned and completed a 1st down pass to Shaheed. However, the Raiders’ defense was finally able to force the drive into stalling near midfield, resulting in only the Saints’ second punt of the game.

Backed up in their own territory, the Raiders were flagged for a false start (LT Kolton Miller) on the first play of their drive. Thankfully, receptions from Jacobs and Moreau were able to pick up the extra ground from there, getting the offense out of the fire (Jacobs limped off the field after being tackled). That would conclude the third quarter’s action.


4th Quarter


Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Shortly after, Vegas would be faced with a 3rd & 13, where Carr found Hollins on a well-run fade-stop for a 1st down. Of course, just when it looked like things might be going better, Carr was slammed to the ground on the very next play for a loss of seven yards. Even worse, Jacobs still had not returned to play. Time for another punt from Cole, and this one was nearly blocked by New Orleans. The Raiders still have not run a single play on the Saints‘ side of the field.

The Saints‘ offense went right back to work, picking up numerous 1st downs through the air to Kamara and Olave, the latter showing the best progression of any rookie receiver this year. Ultimately, the Saints would take over nine minutes of the game clock on this drive, only to turn the ball over on downs inside Raiders territory. With a mere three minutes and change left in this contest, backup QB Jarrett Stidham took the field for Vegas (who tried valiantly for a garbage-time touchdown score but narrowly failed four yards short).

I’m not sure if, on Hallow’s Eve in the otherworldly city that is New Orleans, some other powers were at play. But after losing 24-0, the Raiders cannot get out of town fast enough.



Raiders vs Saints
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Raiders fell into the “trap” of being a West coast team playing at 10:00 am local time. Everything about the Silver & Black in the first half (and most of the day) looked flat and sluggish. Adams did not catch his first pass until basically the fourth quarter, and Carr was pressured consistently. On defense, tackling fundamentals were ugly, as the Saints had a field day in the YAC department. I imagine film study will be intense next week…


Las Vegas is 0-2 in hostile road environments. Yes, at this point in the season, every single game is important, but if holding on to hope for a Wild Card playoff spot, this team will need to show it can go into someone else’s building and leave with the jewels. Naturally, prepping for those postseason atmospheres is what the regular season is all about. But at 2-5, the playoffs will not be attainable forever.


Bluntly, the defense was terrible, and the offense was somehow even worse. Journeyman Andy Dalton carved up the Raiders for 229 yards and two touchdowns as Alvin Kamara was everywhere, scoring three times. The starting offense could barely muster 150 yards and didn’t move the football into the Saints’ territory once on Sunday. Even without Darren Waller, this offense is far too talented to be shut out–It’s that simple.


The Raiders will stay on the road and lodge/practice in Tampa Bay next week before heading to Jacksonville to battle the Jaguars in Week 9. The game is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6, with a 10:00 am kickoff, and can be seen locally on CBS 8 (radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).


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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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