The Oakland Raiders may have upset the best team in football had they not turned the ball over five times. That says a lot about how their season has gone through 16 weeks.
Instead, the Philadelphia Eagles walked away with a 19-10 victory on Christmas night. It was a defensive matchup filled with mistakes by both offenses. The Raiders made the backbreaking ones, however, giving the game away in the final minute. In any case, there were still a number of solid performances for the Silver and Black.
5. Amari Cooper, WR
Cooper played the game with a bum ankle but was able to provide the only fireworks in the passing game for the Raiders, easily scoring on a 63-yard touchdown catch. He had just 2 other grabs for 3 yards, but he did catch every pass thrown his way. Cooper also had a leaping 45-yard reception wiped out by a holding penalty. Credit to him for playing through the pain (the kidney stone ailed Rodney Hudson deserves recognition too).
4. Marshawn Lynch, RB
Yes, Lynch had a fumble (his first of 2017, incidentally). It came right after the Raiders made Jay Ajayi cough up the ball and led to a tying field goal in the third.
Still, without him, the Raiders offense wouldn’t have had any life at all. He carried the ball 25 times for 95 yards, the second highest he’s had on the season. He turned a lot of dead plays into positive yardage with his unmatched power. If Lynch had been running like this when the season still had hope, the Raiders might be better off.
3. NaVorro Bowman, MLB
Bowman led the way stopping the run, with a team-high of 7 total tackles, 5 of them coming against the Eagles rushing attack. While he let up a number of completions in the passing game, they were all underneath and didn’t go longer than 10 yards. He’s been the only consistent linebacker for the Raiders since he arrived back in October.
Nelson Agholor was the only Eagles receiver to catch more than one pass on Monday night, a testament to the great play of the Smith-Carrie-McDonald trio. Torrey Smith was the only other receiver to catch a pass, and Alshon Jeffery was blanked entirely. After a season full of poor play from the secondary, these three have shown a lot of improvement under interim defensive coordinator John Pagano.
1. Reggie Nelson, S
Where did this come from? Nelson has largely played below average football this year, but he blew up in a big way against the Eagles. He caused two turnovers, one on a forced fumble and the other on a nice interception. He dropped another potential INT that might’ve turned into a pick-six. In addition, he had 6 tackles, all of them solo, along with 2 pass breakups.