Stud – Raiders DC Patrick Graham and the defense
We can't even imagine how frustrating the loss to the Vikings must have been for Patrick Graham and the defense. 99.9% of the time if you hold a team to three points then you would expect to win the game but the Raiders made unfortunate history in week 14 by losing in that unlikely scenario.
The Raider defense took out all of that pent-up frustration against the Chargers in that historic beatdown where the defense contributed 14 of the franchise record 63 points. They also indirectly contributed considerably more points than that because of all the turnovers they forced deep in enemy territory.
The Raiders defense forced five turnovers including four fumbles and one of the best pick sixes you will ever see by Jack jones.
Two of those turnovers led to defensive scores and the Jones interception in particular will be played on highlight reels for a very long time. Before the game got completely out of hand, the Chargers defense could get absolutely nothing going through the air or on the ground and all 21 of their points came when the Raiders had clearly taken their foot off the gas pedal.
One of the dilemmas that has been discussed as part of the Raiders coaching search is if hiring a new head coach would mean losing Patrick Graham who has put together the best Raiders defense of the 21st century. The Raiders defense under Graham has been so good this year that Antonio Pierce could use that as one of his selling points if he and Graham are a package deal.
Obviously beating up on Easton Stick is a different proposition than playing Patrick Mahomes or some of the elite quarterbacks in the league but for a long time the Raiders had a habit of making even the worst quarterbacks look good. This year, they have made great quarterbacks work hard for their success and bad quarterbacks look downright awful.
If that trend continues with dates against Mahomes, Gardner Minshew, and Russell Wilson, then we hope Graham will stick around no matter who the coach is next year.