A 3-6 record heading into the bye would’ve destroyed the Oakland Raiders playoff chances this season. Instead, they were able to eek out a 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football to keep their hopes alive (at least for another week).
There were plenty of miscues (the two teams combined for 21 penalties), but the Raiders had a few players worth discussing before the Mexico City special against the nefarious New England Patriots. Here are the Raiders Standout Performances, Week 9 Edition.
5. Khalil Mack, DE/OLB
Mack’s numbers weren’t overly impressive, but he made his presence felt throughout the game, especially late when the Dolphins had to turn to a backup right tackle. He had 4 total tackles to go along with 5 pressures in pass-rush, one of which led to the team’s lone sack of the night. Even in a quiet outing, Mack left an impact.
4. Bruce Irvin, OLB
Irvin had a bad unnecessary roughness penalty that helped the Dolphins on their final touchdown drive. Otherwise, he played extremely well. He also had 4 total tackles (along with 2 that were wiped out due to Miami penalties), but he made the most noise with two huge plays.
First, he forced a fumble midway through the second quarter that led to a Raiders TD. Later, he and Mario Edwards Jr. teamed up for a sack on Jay Cutler that helped shut down a fourth-quarter Dolphins drive. The Raiders defense would be a lot more effective if Irvin could consistently play like this.
3. Marshawn Lynch, RB
For the first time all season, Lynch showed flashes of what he was in his prime. His first-half performance (7 carries for 8 yards) looked downright horrible. However, he turned it on in the second half, rushing 7 more times for 49 yards and 2 TDs. Hopefully, Lynch can keep this kind of production up after the bye.
2. Derek Carr, QB
Carr had a few questionable throws, especially on his last pass, which was picked off in double coverage by Reshad Jones. The strip sack didn’t look good either, though it wouldn’t have been a turnover had Marshall Newhouse not fumbled after recovering the ball.
Still, Carr was mostly back to his old self after a terrible performance last week. He went 21 for 30 and 300 yards, getting his lone TD throw on a 44-yard longshot to Johnny Holton. Most importantly, Carr was throwing down the field more often, something that’s been lacking in all of the Raiders losses this season.
1. Jared Cook, TE
This was by far Cook’s best performance in his career. He had 6 receptions for 113 yards in the first half alone, snagging 2 more in the second to finish with 8 catches for 126 yards. Four of those came on third down conversions. An outing like this could open things up for both Cook and the wide receivers in future games.