Stud - Raiders DC Patrick Graham and the defensive line
Ever since Patrick Graham moved from the sidelines to the box, the Raiders defense has been on fire. They have been one of the best units in the NFL since Antonio Pierce took over and just wrapped up two dominant performances in a row against division rivals.
Some of the criticism that was levied at the Raiders defense was that they were only performing well against bad quarterbacks as they dominated Tommy Devito, Zach Wilson and Easton Stick, but struggled against Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes when the Chiefs came to Las Vegas.
Well, now the Raiders defense and Patrick Graham have a signature performance with the domination of the Chiefs at Arrowhead, and to be fair, that criticism was silly as we have seen the likes of Stick and other backups play well against other teams. Even the worst quarterbacks in this league can put up a fight and dominating them is still a solid achievement.
We would be remiss to not give a special credit to the rest of the defensive line that has been behind the defense’s resurgence. Graham has consistently put the defensive line in a position to succeed, and they have responded with some dominant performances in this stretch.
Patrick Mahomes was constantly on the run, and if the Raiders were playing a mere mortal at quarterback they might have had double digit sacks on the day. They also came up with one of the biggest plays of the game with the fumble return for a touchdown that gave the Raiders a lead they would not relinquish. The best defenses in the NFL always have deep and physical defensive lines and the Raiders are in the process of building that now.