Reaction and analysis to Pro Football Focus grades of the Oakland Raiders in Week 15.
The Oakland Raiders (11-3) received high praise after clinching their first playoff berth since 2002 with their 19-16 win over the San Diego Chargers (5-9) at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.
With the help of ProFootballFocus.com, we take an in-depth look at who specifically deserves high praise on the Raiders’ roster after the team’s win in Week 15.
Raiders’ inside linebackers step up
Raiders inside linebackers Perry Riley Jr. and Malcolm Smith have struggled to maintain a strong, solid front at the center of Oakland’s defense against some of the better rushing attacks in the NFL, but the two came together and collectively formed a brick wall on Sunday.
Riley and Smith earned 83.4 and 84.0 single-game grades, respectively, against the Chargers, per PFF.com.
The two linebackers combined for 10 tackles and one tackle for loss, as they played a pivotal role in limiting the Chargers’ ground game. Chargers rookie running back Kenneth Farrow and veteran Ronnie Hillman combined for 22 carries and 73 yards on the ground. Farrow, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Houston, led the charge with 15 carries for 39 yards (2.6 yards per carry).
The Raiders’ defense ranks 26th against the run in terms of yards allowed per game (116.9) and 29th in yards allowed per carry (4.9). Riley and Smith’s performances played a key role in Oakland keeping San Diego from reaching those season averages.