Raiders lead league in rushing, sacks

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Not sure anyone saw this coming. After two weeks, the Raiders of all teams lead the league in rushing and sacks. Who'da thunk it?

It's just two weeks into the season but the Raiders have jumped ahead in two areas no one thought they would - rushing and pass rushing.

Last season the Raiders were among the worst in the NFL in both categories. Now, they are tops in the NFL after week 2.

In rushing, they were helped by the 112 yard rushing performance by Terrelle Pryor in week one. Darren McFadden added 48 yards on the ground for a pretty good day.

Against the Jaguars, the tables were turned between Pryor and McFadden with McFadden putting up 129 yards on the ground and Pryor adding 50. An even better overall performance.

Overall, they have 397 rushing yards which is 45 yards more than the next best team, the Philadelphia Eagles (352). Last season it took the Raiders until week seven to reach that many rushing yards.

Additionally, the Raiders lead the league in runs of 20+ yards. They have 8 such runs - 4 by McFadden (22, 26, 27, 30) which leads the entire NFL, 3 by Pryor (26, 27, 29) 2nd in the NFL, and 1 by Rashad Jennings (28). That total matches their 20+ run total for the entire 2012 season. And no other team this season has more than 3 runs over 20 yards.

All of the runs by McFadden and Jennings came against the Jaguars and all but one of Pryor's runs came in the season opener in Indianapolis.

The Raiders are tied for the league lead in sacks (9.0) with the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This gives them an average of 4.5 sacks per game which is three sacks per game more than they averaged all of last season (1.5). it also took until week eight last year before the Raiders were able to amass nine sacks as a team and they had just 2 sacks after the first two weeks of 2012.

Those sacks weren't all racked up against the lowly Jaguars either. They sacked Andrew Luck 4 times in the opener and then sacked Chad Henne 5 times this week.

Nine sacks looks especially good when you see that more than half the league (17 teams) don't even have half that many sacks (4 or less) and three teams have just one sack over the first two games - Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals.

With that kind of pass rush, it comes as less surprise then that the Raiders are fifth in the league in yards per game allowed (261).

It is still very early and the Raiders are about to face arguably the best team in the NFL in Denver next week. But this is a great start for these rebuilt upstart Raiders.

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