1. Amari Cooper
The first positive to highlight is Amari Cooper, who was awarded JBB’s very prestigious “game ball” in Week 5.
Amari recorded 6 catches for 138 yards, and also caught his first touchdown of the season on this 64-yard beauty:
Cooper had a big day, and he was very close to having an even bigger day. He had one would-be touchdown that was ruled incomplete after deliberation of referees and a challenge by Jack Del Rio. And he had two other players, one of them would have been a touchdown, that he just missed by a toe-drag.
Those are things that Amari needs to work on, and with an expert in this area as his teammate (Crabtree), I’m confident he’ll improve.
But back to Week 5. Yes, he had a few plays that he should have done more with, but he was also instrumental in helping deliver the win.
It was a season-high for Cooper, topping his Week 1 mark by a single yard, and it was the seventh 100-yard game of his young career.
In terms of takeaways, this was Oakland’s most impressive defensive performance of the season. Three times, the Raiders forced just one turnover — New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore — and they forced three turnovers against Tennessee.
In Week 5, Oakland had four takeaways — two interceptions, and two fumbles. And they had one sack-fumble (Stacy McGee) that was recovered by San Diego.
Karl Joseph recorded his first interception.
Sean Smith logged his second interception of the season.
Newcomer Perry Riley Jr. forced a fumble on Antonio Gates.
And McGee punched out a Melvin Gordon carry.
Without those four extra possessions, even though they didn’t all lead to points, there is no chance the Raiders win this game.
3. Sebastian Janikowski
While the turnovers were crucial and the Raiders wouldn’t have won without them, they also wouldn’t have won this game without their 17-year veteran kicker, Sebastian Janikowski.
Seabass was 4/5 on the day, connecting from attempts from 48, 56, 26 and 20 yards. He was also 2/2 on PAT’s, which are no longer a gimme.
Consider the Raiders offense was stalling for much of the first half, and for the first part of the second half, Janikowski bailed the team out with each field goal.
After a turnover and the Raiders barely being able to get past midfield, Jano connected from 56. After the offense stalled in the red zone or near the red zone twice, Jano bailed the team out with field goals from 26 and 20.
Seabass accounted for 12 points on Sunday, and the Raiders won by 3. I’m not math wizard, but that seems notable.