Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders, Week 11: 3 studs and 3 duds
What a revelation rookie fourth round pick Maxx Crosby has been for the Silver and Black. Since trading away franchise pass rusher Khalil Mack, the Raiders had no bite up front and could not get to opposing quarterbacks. Last season the team ranked last in the NFL with only 13 sacks.
Obviously, the team set out to solve that issue and one of the solutions has been the Eastern Michigan product Crosby.
Against the Bengals Crosby got home on four sacks, only the fourth rookie in NFL history to hit that mark. In addition, his 6.5 sacks through his first 10 games is the top mark in franchise history. Crosby is getting better and better each week and is showing why general Manager Mike Mayock had the utmost faith in him.
Oh and by the way, Crosby has 6.5 sacks and Mack has 5.5, just saying. Crosby had an unreal performance against the Bengals and will be a key player to keep an eye on as the Raiders charge towards the playoffs.
Coming in to Sunday’s contest Derek Carr led the league in completion percentage at 70.8% (minimum 5 starts). In recent weeks Carr’s play has been stellar, leading the team to several big wins. The same was true on Sunday as the Raiders were led by their quarterback.
Against the Bengals Carr was 25/29 (86.2%) for 292 yards and a touchdown and threw in a rushing touchdown on an impressive improvised scramble play.
The biggest difference in the contest was the play of the two quarterbacks. Carr was superb, making big throws and putting his play makers in positions to make things happen. He had one interception, but it did not do much to distract from his otherwise great performance.
If he continues to play like this, the Raiders are a legitimate playoff contender.
By now it is obvious that the Raiders are highly reliant upon their rookie players on both sides of the ball. Particularly, though, their defensive rookies are of huge importance to the team’s success. Second round pick Trayvon Mullen was thrust into a starting role after Gareon Conley was traded and he has played very well since.
Mullen shut down the Bengal’s wide receivers, especially their star Tyler Boyd. He could have had multiple interceptions on Sunday, as he was jumping routes and reading Ryan Finley well, but when it mattered the most he held on for the game-sealing pick late in the fourth quarter.
Mullen has been quite impressive and continues to improve, his stock is moving up and up.