With a final score of 45-20 over the New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders definitely had a number of noteworthy players who turned in stellar games. Here are five of those performances. We’re also going to adjust the format of this series of articles from now on by listing them from 5 to 1. Let’s get to it.
5. Gareon Conley, CB
Talk about making a good first impression. Conley had missed all of the preseason and the first regular season game of the year against the Tennessee Titans with a shin injury, so this was his NFL debut. Judging from his performance versus the Jets, his career may have gotten off to a solid start.
Conley split time with T.J. Carrie in the starting cornerback role, taking the place of an injured Sean Smith. While Carrie turned in a decent outing, Conley consistently shut down his assignment, only allowing two catches. He also flashed in run support. The Raiders have had issues with their pass coverage in the past. Hopefully, the rookie from Ohio State can help fix that.
4. Jalen Richard, RB
Richard’s statline is a bit misleading. Yes, he did have 58 yards and a touchdown on just 6 rushes. However, 52 of those came on the touchdown, with the other 5 carries going for only 6 yards.
Still, when he got the rock, Richard made it count. The TD was a dagger that broke that game wide open. He also had 2 catches for 51 yards, the first on a 39-yard screen pass, and the second on a third down conversion late in the game. That’s 99 total yards on 8 touches, an average of just over 12 yards. Richard has speed to burn, a useful change of pace for the Raiders.
3. Karl Joseph, S
The next three entries all made the list last week as well, but that doesn’t take away from their performances on Sunday. Joseph has arguably been the most consistent player on defense for the Raiders thus far, a sign that 2017 may be his coming out party.
While he had just 5 total tackles, one of them was the final nail in the coffin, a strip sack that gave the Raiders easy field position for their final TD. Joseph also did very well covering the Jets tight ends, something the Raiders have always had problems with. He got dinged up late blitzing Josh McCown, however, though he walked off the field on his own. Here’s hoping he’ll be able to play next week.
2. Derek Carr, QB
Carr wasn’t overly flashy against the Jets. He completed 23 out of 28 passes for 230 yards and 3 TDs. The biggest takeaway from Carr’s two games this season has been how efficient he’s been.
Of his five incompletions, four were not his fault. Two were drops, another was a throwaway due to pressure and the final one was caught out of bounds by Amari Cooper as a result of a pass interference. He’s 45 for 60 and 492 yards through two weeks. That’s a 75% completion percentage, on pace to break Sam Bradford‘s NFL record of 71.6% from last season. He hasn’t turned the ball over either. Sure, there are 14 games left to be played, but if Carr keeps this up, we may have to throw his name into the MVP race.
1. Michael Crabtree, WR
Cooper was the wideout that many thought would terrorize cornerbacks in 2017. Meanwhile, Crabtree came into this season being viewed as the reliable #2 target. Those roles have switched after just two games.
Crabtree finished with 6 catches for 80 yards and all three of Carr’s TD passes. The first and third were from short range, and the second was a rainbow throw that Crabtree caught with ease. He also had a 26-yard catch off of a flea flicker. This output has shot him up to the league leader in TD catches all of a sudden. Crabtree looks unstoppable through two games, something the Raiders have to love.