CHICAGO (AP) — Davante Adams wanted the ball, and he got it — for a while at least.
By the time he was targeted again, the game was basically over.
It was one strange day for Adams and the Las Vegas Raiders.
With Adams and Josh Jacobs held in check, Las Vegas was shut down by the Chicago Bears in an ugly 30-12 loss on Sunday. The Raiders finished with 20 first downs and 235 yards.
“We just got to mix it up a little better,” said Adams, who had seven receptions for 57 yards. “I just think it’s about just keeping the defense honest and making it a little easier on the quarterback.
“We got to do it as wideouts. We got to get the run game going, and there are all these things we’ve been struggling with all year (that) is making it tougher on the quarterback.”
Las Vegas played without Jimmy Garoppolo because of a back injury. Brian Hoyer started in Garoppolo’s place and threw two interceptions, including one that was intended for Adams, but instead was returned by Jaylon Johnson for a 39-yard touchdown with 5:36 left.
It was a blown opportunity for the Raiders (3-4), who had won two in a row. Tyson Bagent, an undrafted rookie free agent from Division II Shepherd University, made his first NFL start for the Bears in the team’s first home win in almost 13 months.
“I don’t think it was that we weren’t ready to play,” Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels said. “I think our guys had energy and juice. We were excited for this opportunity. Like I said, we lost control of the line of scrimmage and then we kind of were playing the game backward. That’s not really a formula that has suited us.”
The 30-year-old Adams was acquired in a March 2022 trade with Green Bay for first- and second-round draft picks. The All-Pro receiver caught 100 passes for 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first season with Las Vegas.
But he was targeted a total of nine times in Las Vegas’ previous two games, home wins over Green Bay and New England, and he made it clear this week that he felt that wasn’t enough. He said the quarterbacks need to find ways to get him the ball even when he’s double-teamed.
Early on, it sure seemed as if Adams’ message had landed. He had three receptions for 29 yards on his team’s first drive, which ended with a missed 41-yard field goal for Daniel Carlson. He was targeted seven times in the first quarter, when he had five catches for 48 yards.
But Adams didn’t have another pass thrown in his direction until he caught a 5-yard ball with about three minutes left in the third. At that point, Las Vegas was facing a 21-3 deficit.
“We have a few plays scripted to get him the ball, and it was working,” Hoyer said. “And then you just adjust as the game goes on and try to get him the ball different ways. Like I said, it’s not really anything other than coming down to lack of execution on certain plays that can keep you out there longer and then you have more opportunities.”
Adams said he basically faced the same coverages all game. He almost had a short touchdown reception in the fourth, but Hoyer’s throw was a little off target and Adams was unable to haul it in.
“I should have made that play,” said Adams, who has a team-high 46 receptions for 528 yards on the season. “I killed whoever that was out there and then just didn’t make it.”
Adams’ simmering frustration is only one of the offensive issues for Las Vegas. Jacobs, who led the NFL with a career-high 1,653 yards rushing last season, had 35 yards on 11 carries against Chicago (2-5). He has just 347 yards rushing this season, averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
With Adams and Jacobs struggling to get going, Las Vegas is averaging just 16 points per game.
“I have to figure out something,” McDaniels said. “We have to figure out something as a staff, as a team, to try to be able to be more productive, more disruptive, more productive on offense, score more points obviously. Right now it isn’t good enough. It needs to get better.”