1. Michael Crabtree
What a revelation Crabtree has been since joining the team in 2015. Half the fan base (at least) was upset with the signing, largely because Crab laughed when the Raiders picked DHB over him. But seriously, who didn’t laugh at the Raiders for that pick?
Now all these years later, Crabtree is paying dividends in Silver & Black. He’s been a fail-safe for Derek Carr, becoming his top target and a trusted go-to target when a first down is needed.
King Crab hauled in 7 catches for 88 yards — a nice day — but what really made Sunday special was his 3 touchdown grabs.
Most importantly was TD that proved to be the game-winner.
2. The Rookies
Particularly, Cory James and Karl Joseph. For the second week in a row, the two rookie starters get a nod in this spot.
What a difference these two have made on defense.
James was flying around all game long, leading the team in tackles by a long shot, with 15 on the day. The player in second? Karl Joseph, with 8.
This is the second consecutive game that James and Joseph have started, and it’s also the second consecutive week the two have finished first and second in tackles.
Both players have offered much needed relief to the defense, and have been a major improvements in all facets. Both have showed off their versatility, being used in blitzes and holding their own in coverage.
It’s hard to quantify the true impact of a pair of players, in terms of points allowed. But it’s hard not to wonder if Oakland would have beat Atlanta had James and Joseph started.
Nothing was more important than the resilience this young football team showed.
On the road, in a eastern time zone, against an undefeated team that boasted the league’s #2 defense, trailing late in the game, and the Raiders found a way to win.
That’s what good football teams do. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of tough breaks, regardless of bad calls — good football teams find a way to win. And that’s Oakland did on Sunday.
After a hot start to the game and also leading for much of it, the defense looked gassed. The Ravens climbed their way back into the game, and took the lead with a little more than three minutes left in the game.
And like Derek Carr has already done several times in his young career, he marched his team down the field and delivered a perfect strike to Crabtree, which proved to be the game winner.
Just win, baby.