Oakland Raiders defensive end Lamarry Houston tracks down Keiland Williams #34 of the Detroit Lions.
The Raiders came into this week's preseason matchup with the Lions winless in 2012. They had lost their first two games to the Cowboys and Cardinals and looked to face their toughest test in the Lions. In the end, they showed fight they hadn't shown in the first two games and came out with the win 31-20.
The Starters scored a touchdown which was something they hadn't done in the previous two games. They also played quite well on defense against the high-powered Lions attack. They held the Lions to just 7 yards rushing in the first half which is pretty impressive.
Now for those who gave us all faith in their season prospects and those who acted like false prophets.
This is the third straight week Houston has been a baller. The first two weeks he was recognized as part of an overall strong defensive line. This week he earned singular mention. He has been on a holy terror the entire preseason and this game just continued his dominance. On the Lions' first drive he had two run stuffing tackles, though one was negated by a penalty. The second was a tackle for loss and the drive ended two plays later. He came back with another tackle for loss on the next drive. He saved his best for last though because on the first team defense's final drive, he had three tackles on runs that totaled 4 yards.
The Raiders are going to start printing out money that reads "In Rod We Trust" and handing it out to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. They love their rookie possession receiver. He was the reliable chain mover in this game just as he had been the first two games. On the first drive of the day he had two catches in a row for a total of 30 yards to help put them in scoring position early. On the next drive he caught a ball for 12 yards. The following drive, the Raiders scored their first touchdown. They did a lot of running the ball and Streater laid a solid block to spring Taiwan Jones for a 12 yard run. He had two more catches before the half was up to lead the team with 5 catches for 56 yards.
The two of them held Calvin "Megatron" Johnson to just one catch for seven yards. Johnson was targeted 5 times. Two of those targets Spencer defended it. One of them was in the endzone to stop a touchdown. It is not often Calvin Johnson is denied a touchdown. That was his best chance to get one and it didn't happen.
On the Raiders first drive of the day he had a 5-yard end around and a 14-yard catch to help get them in scoring position. A possessions later, he had the big catch on the drive which ended in a touchdown. The catch was probably the best I have ever seen him make. The ball was underthrown and when he went up for it, the corner's head was right in his chest causing him to have to leap in the air, reaching around the defender to pull the ball in virtually one-handed for a 41-yard gain. He also laid a nice block on a ten yard run by Taiwan Jones on that drive.
He did some good things in this game. He seemed to have control over the offense but again, he made one of those stupid passes he tends to make. Midway through the second quarter, with the Raiders at their own 16 yard line, Palmer drops back and attempts to throw an inside screen. He was still moving backward and threw it off his back foot. The ball didn't even make it past the line of scrimmage. It was right directly to a Lions linebacker whose only real chance of dropping it would be out of pure shock it was thrown right to him. He pulled it down to give the Lions the ball at the Raiders' 7 yard line. He had two interceptions in the game although the other was not really his fault as it was bobbled by Eddie McGee and picked off.
Speak of the devil. That bobbled drop that resulted in an interception may have been Buster worthy all by itself. But that was just the final mistake. Dennis Allen was giving him some work with Carson Palmer and the first team to see what he could do with it. He didn't do much. He had two targets before the bobbled interception and he slipped and fell down on both of them. I have been of the mind for a while that he makes this team but he has done nothing in games to justify that belief. He has done very little overall actually considering he was injured for much of the offseason training.
If there was going to be false starts on this team, he is the last guy you would suspect. The Raiders set a new NFL record for penalties last season and he is the only offensive lineman who wasn't part of this team last season. But he still had two false starts early in this game on each of the first two drives. He may have been jumpy early due to the fact that he gave up a sack on Carson Palmer on the very first play of the game.
The Lions defensive tackles were routinely eating him up in this game. No sooner did he snap the ball but he was pushed into the backfield or shoved aside. Early in the second quarter, when the Raiders were set up in first and goal at the one yard line, he was abused and allowed two run stuffs-one for a loss and the other to get that one yard back. The Raiders finally had to go for it on fourth down and McFadden barely stretched the ball over the goal line. We saw something similar last week when the Raiders were in first and goal at the one yard line. That time they didn't get in.
Ballers & Busters: Second, third teamers coming soon.