Oakland Raiders Week 9 Stats and Awards

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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

Week 9 Awards

And now the part you’ve all been waiting for, and I thank you for being so patient this week; waiting an extra day.

Player of the Game: Derek Carr

Surprise Surprise!!! Derek put together another outstanding game. I’ve seen some people giving him a hard time for the late game interception, but I’d much rather he be aggressive and take that shot on 3rd and long with the team needing a score than dumping it off 2 yards and hoping the receiver does all the work.

Given the situation, it was a smart, calculated shot.  It didn’t work, but he didn’t let it bother him. He got another chance a few plays later and capitalized with a TD to Crabtree to tie it up. Carr is now pushing his way into MVP talks. Just let that soak in a little bit Raider Nation. The Raiders second year QB is making a case for the league MVP.

Offensive Player of the Game: Derek Carr/Michael Crabtree

I’m seeing a theme here. Michael Crabtree has more than earned a nice big extension at the end of this season, and I hope Reggie Mackenzie opens up the check book to give it to him. His natural chemistry with Carr has been obvious since day one. I’d just like to say, his first TD reception of the game shows a player with heart, commitment and a big pair of….hands to go up and hang onto the catch knowing he’s going to get drilled once he does.

Derek’s performance just needs a little bit more frosting on top of it. He now has 3 straight games with 3 or more TDs, 300+ yards passing, and his lowest QB rating in that time was 97.4 because of the single interception he’s thrown in that time.

Defensive Player of the Game: Mario Edwards Jr.

Khalil can’t win every week, I’ve got to spread the love around a bit.  Edwards Jr. has some big shoes to fill, some giant shoes if you will, in the absence of Justin Tuck. Tuck may have been on the “decline” some have said as he was getting older, but he showed up and performed every day, lining up at any spot on the line and excelling.

Edwards has jumped right into those giant shoes, and has turned them into giant Raider shoes. A run defense grade of +4.2 is the type of production you see out of pro bowl players, not rookies who were considered lazy going into the draft. I hope his performance of late can finally put those assumptions to rest. Edwards is developing into an integral part of this defense, and he’s making everyone notice.

Play of the Game: Crab’s Second TD

When the game is on the line, Derek Carr has options. Some, like Amari Cooper, are obvious. Some, like Seth Roberts, are not so obvious. But one man is so obvious he gets over looked time and time again, and he is making them pay. Michael Crabtree is always open, and until defenses start shifting their number one corner form Cooper to Crab he will remain forever open. But then Cooper will always be open.  So it’s a bit of a catch 22 for defenses.

With just over a minute left in the game, down by 7 Derek Carr took the snap, dropped back and instantly knew where he was going. He saw that Crabtree was being guarded by a linebacker. Crab eased his way past the slower defender as Carr dropped the ball right into his hands in stride. Everything about the play was great. Derek saw the pass rush coming, stood strong in the pocket until the last second to delver the strike, and casually hopped out of the way of the oncoming pass rush.

Turning Point: End of 1st half play calling

Like I talked about earlier, with the exception of the first game against the Bengals, the Raiders have lost three games by a combined total of 11 points. The fact the Raiders battled back from a onetime 14 point deficit to tie it up on the play I just talked about speaks to the team’s overall resolve. But they never should have been in that situation.

With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Raiders are trailing by 4 points and begin a drive. A run play that goes nowhere, followed by a dump off pass sets up 3rd and 8. A score before halftime gives them the lead, and the ball back after the break.  So, obviously you should… call a run play?!?!?!

You can bet your bottom dollar if the Patriots are in that situation, Tom Brady is throwing the ball. No question about it. You put the ball in your captain’s hands and let him march down the field. Instead, a punt, followed by a Steelers field goal to put the Raiders down 7 with under a minute to go.

After the kickoff, the Raiders have 30 seconds and they….take a knee. Take a knee? Really? I could see doing that if they were backed up against the end zone, but they were one quick pass, or successful run play from being in Janikowski’s range for a field goal. Why not try at least?

These two possessions pretty much sealed the game. Playing a team with an offense like the Steelers, you can’t leave points on the field. The play calling needs to match the intensity they want the players to have the entire game. It’s easy enough for a player to give up, the play calling shouldn’t support the notion.


Overall the game was pretty much what I thought it would be. A showdown between two great offenses.  It was fun to watch, but the outcome just wasn’t on our side on this one. The Raiders are still in the Wild Card hunt, and a bounce back win against the Vikings next week would really help the cause.