Oakland Raiders Film Room: OAK at CLE

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Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson (24) celebrates with teammates Seth Roberts (10), David Amerson (29) and Neiron Ball (58) after intercepting a pass in the final minute against the Cleveland Browns in a NFL game at FirstEnergy Stadium.The Raiders defeated the Browns 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders are above .500 for the first time in years. Take a moment to celebrate that. Not only was the victory against Cleveland impressive due to the solid play of quarterback Derek Carr, but several other areas of the team showed improvement. Despite the Browns not being a particularly great team, this growing chemistry and improvement is something to get excited about for a roster on the upward trend.

Oakland’s offense started out on fire again with a strong early showing of the AC/DC connection. Amari Cooper had another big game despite a late fumble which resulted in touchdown for the Browns. Cooper finished with 8 receptions for 134 yards, including an awesome 40 yard long play, with a patented Cooper after-the-catch exciting run.

Derek Carr had another very impressive performance of his own. It’s not all pretty though. He’s still dealing with accuracy issues that leave points and yards on the field. Examples include a fairly standard rolling TD pass which went right over an open Crabtree’s head, and a deep pass to the right to Crabtree which was under-thrown, allowing the defender to catch up and defend the pass.

However, similar to last week, when Carr does connect he’s getting more out of his throws. Against Cleveland, Carr threw for a very impressive 9.8 yards per attempt. Chalk it up to Derek Carr’s growth, better receiver talent, or both – either way it’s clear that the offense benefits from operating in a larger vertical space on the field. Stretching the vertical field also opens up the run game, giving Latavius Murray and Marcel Reece more room between first and second level defenders.

Even with all this going well for the Raiders, we haven’t even gotten to the true MVPs of the game. The biggest impact on the game was from the improved linebacker play of Lofton and Smith, the excellent performance of Austin Howard at right tackle, and the dominant pass rush led by our young super beast, Khalil Mack.

This is what we’ll focus on in the next few pages during the film breakdown before we get the the game clinching interception by The Godfather of Silver and Black, Charles Woodson.

Next: Austin Howard: Blocking Machine?