The Oakland Raiders are tied for first place in the AFC West. That seemed like a pipe dream after the embarrassment in Mexico City, but here we are. This Sunday’s showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs will be huge.
The 24-17 win over the New York Giants was about as shaky as victories come, but the Raiders were able to pull it off, thanks to some clutch performances by the following players.
In the absence of an injured Amari Cooper and a suspended Michael Crabtree, the rest of the Raiders receiving targets needed to step up to help Derek Carr out. Roberts and Walford both did on Sunday. The former caught 5 of his 6 targets for 46 yards, 4 of them resulting in first downs. The latter got extra reps for the first time this year after Jared Cook left the game with an injury and looked solid in the process, finishing with 57 yards on 4 receptions.
4. Khalil Mack, DE/OLB
With 4 total tackles, Mack’s numbers weren’t overly impressive, but when he was on, he left an impact. He changed the momentum of the game in a big way by stealing the ball away from Geno Smith late in the first half, after a turnover on downs set the Giants up inside the Raiders 10-yard line. He also set the edge well in the ground game, which allowed other defenders to stop the run much more easily.
3. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
How long do I have to keep yelling about Patterson being underutilized? Maybe that’ll change after this week. He had 4 catches for 97 yards, with 59 coming on a screen pass on the first play after a Giants score narrowed the score to 17-14 in the final period; it set up a touchdown to Johnny Holton a few plays later. Patterson also left his mark on special teams, albeit in different ways; the Giants continually went away from him on kickoffs, which gave the Raiders solid field position to begin many of their drives. He also had a nice tackle on punt coverage.
2. Bruce Irvin, OLB
Irvin was everywhere early on, and while he quieted down a bit after halftime, he was still the Raiders best all-around defender on Sunday. He finished with 8 total tackles, with the biggest coming via strip sack midway through the second quarter. Irvin’s looked great in the last few games.
1. Marshawn Lynch, RB
Lynch set the tone for the Raiders initial possession by scampering 51 yards for the first score of the game. The Giants talented defensive line was much better afterward, but Beast Mode was able to reach the century mark on the ground for the first time in 2017, carving out 101 yards. He also had a huge third-down conversion on a dump pass in the fourth quarter that helped extend the Raiders lead.