The Raiders pass rush had by far its best day of the season, registering four sacks on Tyrod Taylor, who is the NFL’s best rushing QB. This brought the team to 21 total sacks on the season, meaning that Oakland just recorded 20% of its total sacks in this game.
It starts and ends with Khalil Mack, who with each passing week, strengthens his case for Defensive Player of the Year. He has now picked up a sack in seven consecutive games, has 7 sacks in his last 9 games, and has forced a fumble in four of his last five games.
Bruce Irvin has also picked up the pace as of late, and he now has a sack in three consecutive games.
And then Denico Autry and James Cowser both decided to get it on the fun. Cowser recorded the first sack of his NFL career, so congratulation to him on that milestone. Jihad Ward had a hit on the quarterback.
As for why the Raiders were so successful with the pass rush, there are a number of reasons. But we have to give credit where credit is due — Ken Norton Jr. made several adjustments in the second half.
Most notably, there were several times where he stacked Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack on the same side. So it is going to be exciting when Aldon Smith and Mario Edwards Jr. both eventually return to this lineup.
After two dormant weeks, the run game came back to life. As a team, the Raiders racked up 139 yards on 32 carries (4.3 YPC) and 2 touchdowns. Which is 59 yards more than they had in their previous two games combined.
The offensive line helped pave the way, creating plenty of running room for Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard. Not to take away any credit for either back, though, as both Murray and Richard ran extremely hard, making would-be tacklers miss on a consistent basis.
This was the type of performance the Raiders have become accustomed to, as they have been the NFL’s 5th ranked rushing offense for much of the season.
With Kansas City up next, Oakland will once again have to rely on its run game to help get the offense rolling.
Down, But Not Out
What more can be said about this team’s resiliency?
Time and time again — six times, to be exact — the Raiders have earned a come-from-behind 4th quarter victory. Derek Carr gets the lion’s share of the credit for his performance this season, but when it’s crunch time, the whole team looks like they just flip a switch and turn into some sort of unstoppable football force.
Take the 29 unanswered points against Buffalo as an example. This might have been the most dominant stretch of football by any team this season.
The Raiders defense came up with four consecutive — and quick — defensive stops, which included an interception thanks to a Khalil Mack tipped pass. And on the other side of the ball, Carr led his offense to four touchdowns in five drives.
And just like that, a 24-9 deficit turned into a 38-24 lead.
It’s hard to quantify why this is the case, and as a writer, it’s just in my nature to always try to explain things, or to find a reason for why things are happening. But with this team, it’s hard to do that.
It’s almost like the Raiders are just naive to all of this. Like they don’t know any better. When they are trailing, there is absolutely no worry on the sideline — they just take it one possession at a time, and before you know it, four possessions have gone by and the Raiders just scored 29 points in a row.