Offense Can Thrive Without Leaning on Outside Receivers.
With Crabtree chainless and sophomore receiver Amari Cooper only thriving in bursts, Carr and company were forced to target other weapons within their offense to jumpstart their passing game, and fortunately for the Raiders’ offense, they answered the call.
Raiders second-year tight end Clive Walford, a third-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft out of the University of Miami, has failed to live up to high expectations in his second season, but he did flash his potential on Monday night.
Walford brought in two passes for 28 yards, including a key reception on 3rd down that he held onto through a devastating hit from Texans veteran cornerback Jonathan Joseph. An unnecessary roughness penalty added 15 yards to the end of the reception, and the vicious hit added a spark to an otherwise underwhelming season from Walford.
The Raiders backfield was also called upon to have an impact in the passing game, and they didn’t hesitate to impress.
Oakland’s top two backs, Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard, combined for eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. Murray had an explosive 39-yard reception that would set up Cooper’s 35-yard touchdown, and Richard added two highlight plays of his own.
The former undrafted free agent turned a short pass into a 17-yard touchdown late in the first quarter to put the Raiders up 7-3, and he put the game on ice with his 29-yard reception along the sideline late in the fourth quarter.