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Raiders week 15 Ballers & Busters

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Here we are again. A week after a big win and the Raiders fall flat on their face. They beat the Chiefs a month ago only to get stomped 52-0 in St Louis. Then to head back home for another big win over the 49ers only to head back to the state of Missouri to get whooped in Kansas City 31-13. And it wasn't even that close.

It WAS close for the first 40 minutes. But in less than a quarter's time, it went from anybody's game to a lopsided Chiefs victory, with three-straight scores. It went from a 10-6 game to a 31-6 game just like that. It was over before the fourth quarter even began.

The Raiders would add one of their patented garbage time touchdowns to make it look a bit less like a rout, but there is no polishing this turd.

That being sad, here are a few players who performed well despite the chaos around them.

Ballers

Latavius Murray

He was the Top Baller the last time these two teams played. He wasn't the game changer in this one that he was in the last one, but he was still the best thing the offense had going. He just wasn't given a lot of chances to go.

Murray had five carries in the first quarter for 40 yards. Among them he had a 3-yard run on third and one and a 25-yard run. On the final drive of the first half, he picked up another 3rd and one to keep the drive alive and allow the Raiders to move into field goal range and get on the board heading into halftime down 10-3.

Picking up those 3rd and one plays may not seem like much to those who haven't been watching the Raiders this season, but it's a big deal. Before he burst onto the scene three weeks ago, the Raiders had completely given up on running the ball on 3rd and one because they could never pick it up. Latavius picks up those 3rd and short plays because he finds the crease, bursts through it, and is not brought down easily.

Something else he did in that first quarter was save a turnover. Derek Carr was under pressure forcing him to throw the screen pass to Murray before he had turned to look for the ball. It bounced off his shoulder pad and was intercepted by the Chiefs. But Murray alertly punched the ball out of the defender's arms and it was ruled incomplete. Had the interception held, the Chiefs would have had the ball inside the Oakland 20-yard line.

Murray got just 12 carries on the day but finished with a respectable 59 yards rushing (4.9 ypc) and 2 catches for 17 yards - both on shovel passes to give Carr an outlet while he was under pressure.

Gabe Jackson

It seemed every time a run was going anywhere in this game, it was behind Jackson. He was a human snow plow Sunday, not just opening holes, but driving his defender several yards down the field. Murray's first three runs were all behind Jackson for 13 yards and a third down conversion.

Murray's fifth run was the big one. Jackson pulled from left to right and knocked the blocker out of the hole to spring Latavius for his 25-yard scamper. Two plays later, Darren McFadden got into that act running behind Jackson for 8 yards.

The big rookie road grader had several other key blocks on a day that had only 16 designed runs. He also did well in pass protection.

Mychal Rivera

Rivera caught seven passes for the second-straight week. This time for just 39 yards, but that is not entirely in his control. His job is simply to catch the ball, regardless of how close to the line of scrimmage it may be. His job is also to block - an area he also did well. First drive he had a 4-yard catch, second drive a 7-yard catche, followed by a 5-yard catch on third and one, and a 9-yard catch.

With :11 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Rivera caught a 6-yard catch and got out of bounds to stop the clock. That set Sebastian Janikowski up for a 53-yard field goal which he made.

His other duty besides catching the ball is blocking. He had his moments in that arena as well. He helped open the hole on Murray's first run of the game. Then on the 25-yard run, it was his job to set the seal block. It was air tight allowing Murray to go behind it for the big gainer.

Honorable Mention

Khalil Mack - He had a decent day overall. He had a tackle for loss and was held on a play that knocked the Chiefs out of field goal range. But most of his stats came on the final Chiefs possession with Chase Daniel in for Alex Smith. On the three-and-out he had a two run stuffs and a pass defended. Three of his six tackles came on the last two Chiefs possessions as they were just running clock. Still I commend him for continuing to fight even with the game lost.

Sebastian Janikowski -- For most of this game, the only points scored were by Jano. He had a 53-yard field goal to end the first half that perfectly split the uprights just as we had grown accustomed to seeing from him. He added a 33-yarder in the third quarter.

Betweeners

Brandian Ross

On the Chiefs first drive to begin the second quarter, he gave up a 16-yard catch into Oakland territory. They luckily missed the field goal. They would get that field goal on their next possession, but the following series ended with Ross stopping a catch for one yard on 3rd and 3. Next series, he was out of position on a 37-yard catch. The drive luckily went no farther.

First series of the third quarter, he made up for his miscues by forcing a fumble on tight end Travis Kelce. The ball popped out of his arms and into the air where C.J. Wilson caught it and returned it to the 15-yard line. The Raiders would add a field goal to pull to with four points at 10-6.

He had a run stuff for two yards on the next drive, but with the Chiefs in first and goal at the 10-yard line, he was late to help in run support and gave up a 6-yard run. They would score on the next play. Following a Derek Carr fumble, Ross missed a tackle on a catch that went 20 yards for the touchdown.

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