The defensive line had another stellar performance. The run defense has greatly improved in recent weeks; this week they gave up 73 yards on 22 carries, which was good for 3.3 yards per carry.
Denico Autry was able to provide pressure up the middle, which greatly helped the Raiders edge rushers, and Autry was able to accumulate a sack because of the edge rush making Phillip Rivers step up in the pocket. Team effort.
Khalil Mack was a man amongst boys against San Diego. Although Mack was not able to join the party with a sack, effectively ending his 8-game sack streak, he had a complete game with a league high 9 pressures as well as 3 quarterback hits, and was nearly unstoppable against the run.
The defensive line is finally starting to come together after giving up a season low 263 yards, and with the eventual addition of Mario Edwards Jr., the sky is the limit for this defensive unit.
The linebackers had their best performance of the season in my book. Perry Riley Jr. was able to force a much needed fumble early in the 4th quarter, which helped the Raiders tie the score and gave the defense confidence for the remainder of the game. Malcolm Smith added 5 tackles as well as the alert play of recovering the forced fumble.
Bruce Irvin had his best game as a Raider by putting up 2 huge sacks as well as providing pressure on the final Chargers offensive drive. While breathing down Phillip Rivers’ neck the entire game, Irvin was also a co-leader in tackles with 6, and forced a fumble in the 1st half which forced a San Diego punt. Irvin is now tied with Mack for a league leading 5 forced fumbles this season.
The secondary had another up and down game, which has been a reoccurring theme the entire season. Although they (Sean Smith) did give up a 47-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game, they were able to settle down and only give up 159 yards for the remainder of the game.
Sean Smith had a rough day by giving up 2 touchdowns as well as being beat by Tyrell Williams on a couple of occasions. Reggie Nelson at times has looked very slow, and it looks like the Raiders might need to explore other options at free agency this coming offseason, but Nelson did come up with the game clinching interception and his team-leading 4th interception of the year.
David Amerson was the co-leader in tackles with 6, and came up huge on a 3rd and short in which he was able to tackle the Chargers receiver well short of the first down. Amerson also pitched in with a single pass defensed.
The special teams units have been solid all season, and yet again put together another quality performance. The kick coverage had a big impact on field position by only giving up 14 yards per return, as well as a single punt return for 3 yards. There was no Marquette King dance moves in this one, but it was still a good enough performance to get the win.
Sebastian Janikowski has been the subject of criticism all season. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate our field goal kicker? Seabass was 4-4 on field goals and made his only extra point, and has now made 13 straight field goals.
On the season he is 29-35 which is good for nearly 83 percent and has not missed an extra point all season. In a league where field goal kicking has become a near abomination, the Raiders are lucky to have a kicker, while not perfect, that is as reliable as Seabass on their roster.
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