Lost in the shuffle of a game the Raiders salted away in the second half Thursday was the play of young receiver Andre Holmes. To say he had the game of his career is quite an understatement. He had a game that eclipsed his entire career before this.
This is Holmes' third season in the NFL but he has only actually been active for a handful of them and prior to Thursday's game, he had just five career catches. Those catches totaled 76 yards. Thursday he caught seven passes for 136 yards.
Two weeks ago in a win over the Texans, Holmes had his first catch as a Raider. It went for 33 yards. Coming into the game he had just 5 career catches. His first career catches came as a Dallas Cowboy in 2012 and went for a total of 11 yards.
The Cowboys didn't see any use for the former undrafted receiver out of Hillsdale College - fellow teammate Jared Veldheer's alma mater - and cut hime late in the 2012 season. He was later signed by the Patriots during the off-season but waived in May. Once he was waived, Reggie McKenzie was quick to claim the 6-5 receiver off the waiver wire.
When the Raiders picked him up initially, the signing went almost without notice. He was lumped in with the team's priority free agent signings following April's draft.
He was looking very good in training camp and with the lack of top flight receivers on the roster, he was making a strong case for himself. After spending the first four games of the season suspended for violating the league's PED policy, he was activated to the regular season roster to replace Matt Flynn who was cut following an ugly performance against the Redskins (not unlike his performance against the Lions Thursday as the Packers starter).
With the injury to Denarius Moore, suddenly Holmes was thrust into the starting lineup two weeks ago across from Rod Streater. On Thursday, Holmes became Matt McGloin's favorite target and Holmes responded with the game of his life. Along with his 136 yard day, he very nearly had a long touchdown as well. He was ruled down at the one-yard line and the Raiders scored on the next play.
"I think he took advantage of the opportunities that he had afforded to him," said Dennis Allen. "When the ball went to him, he made the plays down the field. I just think when the ball went to him, he went up and made the plays. He was able to do that in some other games too. He had a couple of big plays in the Houston game, one that was a big play and one that should have been a big play. So, Andre is a guy, obviously, that we feel very comfortable with. He is a big target, and he can really stretch the field vertically."
Moore is expected to return from his shoulder injury as early as next week. But Holmes has earned the trust of his coaches as his quarterback so I would expect to see plenty more of him the rest of the season.