Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
The expectation of this team coming home against a reeling Jaguars team was high. They had just come off a game in Atlanta where they took the game to the final seconds. If they could hang with a great team like the Falcons, they should make short work of the lowly Jaguars, right? Not so fast.
The first half was a display that was destined to have a few busters from it. But the second half was what Ballers are made from. It was the Ballers who came out of that locker room bent on making up for the lost ground created by the Busters. And that is where our lists were born.
The final key play of this game was made by Houston when he forced a fumble on the third play of overtime to give the Raiders the ball in field goal range and allow Sebastian Janikowski to end it. But the game-deciding play was only the final moment of an overall coming out party for Lamarr Houston in this game. He was in the Jaguars backfield so often and so fast, they were practically handing the ball off to him. He led the Raiders with 8 tackles (5 solo) and most of them were at, near, or behind the line of scrimmage.
He came shooting into the backfield on the Jaguars' second series to stuff the run for no gain. The series ended on the next play with a three and out. In the second quarter he had two QB pressures resulting in incompletions.
In the third quarter, after the Raiders had scored their first touchdown of the day, the Jaguars were lined up at their own 7 yard line and he tracked the tight end to tackle him as soon as he got the ball for a four yard loss. All the Jags could do after that was to avoid a possible safety and try to get some breathing room for a punt.
A few minutes later, the Jaguars would get the ball at the Raiders' 24 yard line after a strip sack on Carson Palmer. The defense needed to come through yet again and Houston put a stamp on it by sacking Chad Henne on third down to hold them to a field goal. He would later get in the backfield again for another run stuff and then finish off the day with the forced fumble.
If it weren't for the big play by Houston to the end game, Burris would have been the top Baller for sure. He has played astonishingly well of late and the sky appears to be the limit for this young linebacker.
He ended the Jaguars second possession with a third down tackle short of the first down. Next possession he had a run stuff then another on the following possession. The series after that, he had run stuff on two consecutive plays including on third and one in which he teamed up with Rolando McClain to tackle the runner for a loss. The next possession, the Jaguars went for it on fourth and one. They tried the pass but Burris came flying in to pressure a bad throw and a turnover on downs.
In the third quarter, Burris would get his first sack of the season. With the Jaguars set up at their own 17 yard line, he sacked Henne for a ten yard loss. Houston would have a tackle for loss on the next play and the Jaguars were left with a third and 24 from their own 3 yard line. He finished the game second on the team with 7 tackles (4 solo) and a sack.
This coaching staff has put their faith in Burris and he has validated that faith.
The first half of this game was a disaster. Much of that was the cause of some pretty poor playcalling and a porous offensive line. Palmer was under pressure constantly and he wasn't getting any help from the running game either. But something happened at halftime. Palmer gives credit to Greg Knapp for getting angry and ripping into the offense. I don't think that was it. Sure, Knapp changed the gameplan for the second half but that change was to put most of the control of the offense in the hands of Palmer and allow him to run the no-huddle offense. The result was a revelation.
The offense was suddenly moving with Palmer reading the defenses and making the call. After the Jaguars defense had the Raiders' number in the first half, they were lost and on their heels in the second half. Palmer gets the credit for that. His first half numbers were brutal. 9 of 17, 106 yards (59 yards of that on one play) and an interception for a 47.7 QB rating. In the second half, he was 17 of 29 for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns (1 rushing) and raised his overall QB rating to 74.4.
The Raiders have a lot of faith in their big legged kicker. After he had kicked three field goals in the game, they moved into range for a 64-yard attempt at the end of the game. Everyone watching thought if there were any kicker in the NFL who could make that one, it was Seabass. He kicked it short and the Raiders and Jaguars would head to overtime. Just three plays into the overtime period, Lamarr Houston forced a fumble, Joselo Hanson recovered in range of a 40-yard field goal. The Raiders didn't hesitate. Carson Palmer took one snap to move the ball to the middle of the field and Janikowski trotted out to split the uprights and send the Raiders home with the win.
Just to prove his performance against the Falcons last week wasn't a fluke, he was back at it against the Jaguars. Sure, it's the Jaguars and they're in shambles, but they are still an NFL team with NFL quarterbacks and Huff didn't give up a catch on the day. He also had two passes defended and two run stuffing tackles-one for a loss. In the fourth quarter, he had his receiver blanketed and that receiver pushed off and was called for offensive pass interference. His final pass defended was on the second to last defensive play of regulation resulting in another three and out and a punt.
Joselio Hanson - He had a few nice plays including a tipped pass on a blitz. But he gets kudos here for recovering the fumble Lamarr Houston forced in overtime to seal the win.
Darrius Heyward-Bey - Led the Raiders in receiving yards (85 yards) and late in the fourth quarter, on fourth down, with the game on the line, Aaron Ross was called for pass interference on DHB in the endzone which led to a touchdown to tie the game and take it to overtime. He would get more credit but he had a couple of bad drops and another bobbled catch that harkened to the old DHB.