Thearon W. Henderson
The Raiders went down in flames again this week. This time to the visiting Saints. And while that was to be expected, the Raiders were supposed to be able to show some fight which they failed to show. The result was a 38-17 plastering for their third loss in a row. Here are those making the plays to try and keep them afloat and those sinking them.
For the third straight week, Marcel Reece is the Raiders' top Baller. This week he topped them all by nearly hitting 100 yards in both rushing and receiving. He had 103 yards on the ground and caught four passes for 90 yards. He picked up 25 yards on the first two plays from scrimmage before a penalty helped stall the Raiders first drive. Late in the first quarter, the Raiders went on their longest drive in which he had a 14 yard run and a 20 yard catch. The drive spanned 74 yards and Reece alone had 45 yards. And interception in the end zone killed the Raiders' chance of scoring. The next drive didn't end in disappointment, however. The big play on that drive was a Reece catch and run of 56 yards. They finished it off with a touchdown this time.
If Reece had had ten more yards receiving, he would have been the first Raider to go over 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same since Marcus Allen did it in 1986. As it stands, Reece's 193 yards from scrimmage was the most since Michael Bush had 242 yards from scrimmage back in 2010.
The third year tight end caught the first touchdown of his career two weeks ago. He had two in that game. And in this game, he added another to make it three touchdown catches in three games. He might have had more but he let one bounce off his hands in the end zone for an interception. But even with that blunder, he still had an overall good game. His has six catches, which led the team, for 55 yards and the one touchdown. His longest catch of the day came on the Raiders' final drive in which he broke a tackle and ran for 27 yards. It set up the Raiders final touchdown of the day.
In the first start at strong safety of his career, he gave the coaches something to think about. He led the team with ten tackles and as well as solo tackles (6). He had one big mistake in this game. After the Saints began the third quarter with a 75 yard kick return, Mitchell took a bad angle and Mark Ingram ran for a 25-yard touchdown. It was a mistake he doesn't take lightly. The Raiders would drive for a field goal and on the ensuing kickoff, Mitchell was right there to stop the return man in his tracks at the 15 yard line. Then on the possession, with the Saints in third and one, he stuffed the runner for no gain to force a punt. He then had two tackles on each of the next two drives and the drive after that, he stuffed a run on second and one and the series ended on the next play.
I don't see Mitchell as unseating Tyvon Branch anytime soon. But this kind of performance could have the coaches looking for ways to get him on the field more often. And the passion Mitchell shows in the locker room is such that every player should have. He was literally tearing up when talking about how badly he wants to win and how much devotion he has for the Raiders for their faith in him.
This whole "Honorable Mention" thing is getting to be old hat for DHB. He has landed here a few times this season. And of course, that was the theme of Cris Carter's infamous rant about him when he was drafted at number seven overall (DHB was Honorable Mention All ACC in college). In this game, he finished with four catches on five targets for 69 yards. Forty of those yards came on the Raiders final drive in garbage time to help them score a final touchdown.