Updated September 24, 2022 - 2:50 pm
The only similarity between the Raiders’ first two games is that they lost both of them.
After falling behind against the Chargers, they rallied to have a chance at the end of the game. Then they dominated for three quarters against the Cardinals before collapsing down the stretch and losing in overtime.
The Raiders don’t care how the game plays out when they travel to Nissan Stadium to meet the Titans on Sunday. They just want to win.
“We’ve got to figure it out, and the urgency is definitely there right now,” star receiver Davante Adams said. “There’s a lot that went into why we didn’t win that football game this past week, but at the end of the day, a loss is a loss.”
But a singular victory was never the goal for this season. Everything coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler have done since taking over the football operations in the offseason has been about developing a team that peaks later in the season and makes a push for the playoffs.
That’s still the target, and there is an awareness that there is no way to fast forward to that point.
No matter how well the Raiders play Sunday or how much they potentially win by, it would still count as one victory.
It’s why tight end Darren Waller is hesitant to use the word desperation when it comes to the team’s mindset.
“I don’t buy into that because it’s September,” he said. “Right now, it’s just about how do we put together 60 minutes of football, because you can’t be 3-2 after one game. It’s such a process thing. It’s crazy being in the results business where it’s like, ‘What is your record today?’ We just have to be able to trust the process and know that what we’ve been building will overcome any kind of adversity we’re facing right now.”
The Titans, the AFC’s No. 1 seed last season, are in the same situation as the Raiders. They also are 0-2 and coming off a 41-7 beatdown by the Bills on “Monday Night Football.”
“(Tennessee coach) Mike Vrabel can get up there and talk to those boys and tell them it’s a must-win situation or say exactly what we’re saying, but it’s on the players to get out there and play,” Adams said.
McDaniels wants his team to thirst after a win, but only because that’s how he wants them to play every week. He sees victories as a precious commodity that should be pursued every time his team takes the field.
“I don’t read too much into feelings and those kinds of things,” McDaniels said. “We should all be desperate to win each week … so we have the same urgency this week as we have every week.”
McDaniels also wants his team to figure out how to conquer adversity. It’s an important lesson, because even the best teams in NFL history have faced challenges that they’ve had to overcome.
For the Raiders, that has come after two games. McDaniels will see how his team responds beginning Sunday.
“You’re going to have to handle it all year long if you’re going to survive and be there at the end and give yourself a chance to play your best,” he said. “Sometimes lessons are harder learned when you lose, and they’re harder to swallow, but they’re still great lessons to learn.”
Raiders’ keys to victory
1. Be ready
The Titans have started each of their first two games by scoring a touchdown on their first drive before their opponents have settled into the game. On their other 20 possessions, the Titans have scored 13 points.
2. Play 6o minutes
The Raiders were solid in the second half against the Chargers and played three quarters of good football against the Cardinals. They must find a way to maintain that standard for four quarters.
3. Make yourself at home
Derek Carr has led the Raiders into Nissan Stadium three times. He is 3-0, beating the Titans in 2015, 2016 and 2017. He has thrown for six touchdowns and one interception and averaged 280 yards passing.