Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Players of the Game
By Austin Gayle
Nov 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) scores on a thirty-eight yard touchdown pass against Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Though he didn’t have quite the game Brown had, Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree in now consecutive weeks proved that he can be a playmaker within this offense.
As predicted in a previous article on JustBlogBaby, Crabtree would benefit from having Pittsburgh’s best defensive back Cockrell lined up against Amari Cooper for a majority of the game, as Crabtree took advantage of the rest of the Steelers’ secondary with seven receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
While Crabtree was believed to be brought in to serve as a mentor for Oakland’s younger receivers, he has unquestionably exceeded expectations, as he has emerged as a true playmaker within Oakland’s offense. With an ability to both stretch the defense and make tough catches in tight coverage, Crabtree has quietly turned into a productive possession receiver that is only getting better as he gains chemistry with Carr.
At 6’1″, 215 pounds, Crabtree is a physical receiver that dominated in one-on-one situations, while he also is one of the only Raiders receivers that hasn’t struggled with drops over the course of the season. With concerns surrounding Seth Roberts and even Cooper’s hands at times, Crabtree has proven a reliable receiver on both critical downs and near the end zone.
With Crabtree on pace to become a free agent after this season, expect GM Reggie McKenzie to look to keep the veteran receiver on the roster, as he has proven that he can still play at a high level in this league when he doesn’t have Colin Kaepernick throwing him the football.
Next: Players of the Game: DeAngelo Williams