Oakland Raiders: Monday Morning Reaction (Week 3)

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Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Andre Holmes (18) celebrates with receiver Michael Crabtree (15) and receiver Amari Cooper (89) after scoring on a 3-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns in a NFL game at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders offense has proven themselves as the real deal

First, we learned that the Oakland Raiders offense is for real. Let me say that again, the Oakland Raiders offense if FOR REAL. Derek Carr and the rest of the offense has proved over the last few games that they can hang with some very respectable defenses in the Ravens and the Browns.

Derek Carr posted his second straight game with a QB rating of over 100 with a 115.88 overall QB rating today, putting together two straight weeks of 300+ passing yards and multiple TD’s. Carr has shown poise and confidence well beyond his years, and while there were a few throws I’m sure he’d like back, his performance was near perfect.

Remember that 5 yards per attempt stat Carr was stained with throughout the offseason that all the people in the national media couldn’t let go of? How does 9.8 yards per attempt sound? Now, will all the Carr naysayers please just shut up and accept that the boy can play. He’s got weapons around him now. He’s got top tier receivers, he’s got a running game that needs to be respected, and he’s got a coaching staff putting him in positions to be successful. Watch out NFL, Derek Carr is legit.

Carr’s receivers also showed up big today. While there were a few more drops from the receiving corp that I’d like to see, overall they played a lights out game. Amari Cooper is credited with a fumble that could have been a potential tide turner in the game, but it’s not like he had the ball stripped from him, he got nailed by a Browns defender.

That was a “welcome to the NFL” type of hit that could have jarred the ball loose on any receiver in the NFL. Cooper may have fumbled, but it wasn’t a rookie losing the ball kind of fumble, it was a fumble caused by a quality play by a defensive player.

Fumble aside, Cooper showed today the biggest reason I was excited about him and that’s his ability to make defenders miss after the catch. Multiple times Sunday Cooper caught a pass for short yardage and turned it into a solid gain, either reaching the first down marker or setting up a 3rd down and short. The continued growth of Cooper is very exciting, and at this rate he looks like a favorite for Rookie of the Year honors.

The rest of the receiving group was also solid. Michael Crabtree didn’t show up as much on the stat sheet as he did last week, but he has proven to be one of Carr’s more trusted targets. Crabtree seems to be the receiver Derek will throw to most often when the play is going to result in the 50/50 ball, so Crab has a bit lower reception percentage making four grabs on 11 attempts.

It takes veteran savvy to be able to not only got up for those catches, but realize that preventing an interception is also a part of the job. Carr did just flat out miss Crab on a target on a slant route that could have potentially been a TD, but the two showed great confidence in one another and as the season continues their chemistry will grow and those mistakes will happen less and less.

Let’s not forget about the hero of last week’s game, Seth Roberts, who also showed up today making a game-sealing TD in tight coverage. I want everyone to think about this: Seth Roberts has four receptions in the last two games. He has two touchdowns and around 50 yards receiving. He had a few wide open drops, but he’s been able to come through for offense and I expect his number to get called more and more as the season progresses.

Overall, three players for the Raiders had 30+ yard receptions. Marcel Reece who has been FINALLY involved as a consistent part of the Raiders offense had a 55-yard reception, Cooper had a grab for 40, and Roberts pulled one in for 36 yards.

Latavius Murray and the run game got off to a bit of a slow start, but after wearing down the defense a bit the run game took off and never looked back. Murray showed his elite level explosiveness on a beautiful 54 yard to end up with 139 rushing yards and 5.3 yards per carry average. Murray is proving to be a game changing type of threat in the run game, with potential to break off a huge run at any given moment.

Next: Monday Morning Reaction: Pass Rush Finally Shows Up