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Raiders week 3 Ballers & Busters

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I'm a day late on this week's Ballers & Busters, what with the long trip to London and the schedule since arriving, but hopefully you all haven't completely put last Sunday's game in New England behind you.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this season the Raiders actually looked competitive. They took the Patriots down to the wire in Foxboro which is typically no easy task. Granted the Patriots have not looked great this season but they were still 14.5 point favorites due in large part to how bad the Raiders played in the first two games of the season.

The defense played pretty well in this one and the offense showed some signs of life as well. It's an encouraging sign for this team in search of encouragement.


Khalil Mack

The rookie just continues to impress. As one might expect, he seems to be showing improvement each game. His pass rush abilities showed up in this game. But his first play was a run stuff on second and 26 - a play he could easily have assumed would be a pass but wasn't fooled. The play set up a third and 24 and ended with an incompletion. At the end of the first half, the Patriots were at the goal line, looking to add a second touchdown. They were in third and goal at the two and the snap to Tom Brady was low. Brady attempted to pick up the ball but had Mack bearing down on him, forcing him to throw it away to avoid getting sacked. They settled for a short field goal to head into halftime up 10-3.

Mack came back out and began the second half as he ended the first half. On the second play of the third quarter, he tackled the running back for a three-yard loss. It set up third and long and the series ended with a three and out. He ended the following drive by racing around the left tackle on third down and nailing Tom Brady in the back as he threw. It was very nearly a sack and quarterbacks don't usually care for taking hits like that. He finished the game for third on the team with 7 tackles (3 solo).

Derek Carr

The one area of Carr's game that had yet to show up this season consistently was an ability to feel pressure and step up in the pocket. It showed up in this game and you could see it in the results. He went 21 for 34 (62%) for 174 yards. The Raiders offense played well early on, which is something they hadn't done in the first two games. He converted a third down on the first series of the day with an 8-yard pass to Mychal Rivera. Though he was unable to convert any more on that drive, he came back out on the second possession and led the Raiders on a long sustained drive. He went 4 for 5 on that drive with the incompletion coming on a tip at the line. That tip was on third down and Janikowski came on to add a 49-yard field goal to get the Raiders on the scoreboard first.

He again drove the Raiders on a scoring drive to start the third quarter. The Raiders got the ball in great field position at the New England 48-yard line. Then Carr went 2 for 3  with a pass interference call against the Pats which put the ball at the 10-yard line. Again, they couldn't convert and added another field goal to pull it to 10-6.

Another series, meant another long drive by Carr and the Raiders. He had three good completions on the drive of 12, 13, and 29. Unfortunately the 13-yard completion was in third and 15 and the Raiders again settled for a field goal. This time they pulled to within a point at 10-9.

In the fourth quarter the Patriots pushed back and equaled the Raiders last two drives with field goals of their own. Now down 16-9, Carr came out with one last shot to tie the game. He nearly did it too. James Jones was unable to pull in a tough long pass from Carr that was a pretty good throw. A few plays later, he did complete one to Jones for 18 yards. From the 33-yard line, he went for it all again, this time for Andre Holmes and the Pats were called for pass interference. To set the Raiders up at the 6-yard line. They looked to have tied the score up with a McFadden run up the middle but Gabe Jackson was called for holding and the ball was backed up to the 12-yard line. The game ended on an interception but it was not Carr's fault. He put the ball on Denarius Moore's hands and it bounced off of him. Carr completed was five of six on passes to Darrelle Revis' receiver. Five completions is the second most against Revis in the past six years. Carr nearly did what only two quarterbacks had done in five years - lead the visiting team to a win in Foxboro. Good day at work.

Justin Tuck

He had four tackles in this game and three of them were run stuffs. To start off the third quarter, he had a sac on Brady to end their series with a three and out. He also led the team with three quarterback hurries. He always did like sacking Tom Brady. Helped his team win a couple Super Bowls over the Patriots.

Sebastian Janikowski

He scored every point for the Raiders, hitting field goals from 37, 47, and 49. He also had touchbacks on all but one of his kickoffs. The one that wasn't a touchback was a weird pooch kick that was not his call. The Raiders overthought that one a bit, hoping they could catch the Pats off guard. It didn't work.

Stefen Wisniewski

Was flawless in run blocking and he and Derek Carr seemed to be on the same page all day. That's what a team needs from their center. Not much more needs said about that.

Honorable Mention

James Jones - Led the team in receiving with three catches for 43 yards - all against Darrelle Revis. Nicely done.

C.J. Wilson - He had two tackles in the game and both were for a loss. One was a sack on Tom Brady. He also didn't give up a run in 21 snaps.


Miles Burris

Burris had some solid tackles in this one. He also had some solid misses as well. On the first play of the Pats' second drive, he was late and gave up a 7-yard run. On the next Patriots drive, he gave up a 9-yard catch on third and eight to keep the drive alive. A drive that ended in the Patriots' one touchdown. After that third down he gave up, he had three tackles on that same drive, including one for a loss. But it wasn't enough. On the following drive, he had a missed tackle to give up a 9-yard run. That drive ended with a field goal just before halftime. On a drive in the third quarter he was blocked on a 6-yard run and then had a run stuff on the next play. The Pats would add another field goal on that drive. Then on the Patriots' final scoring drive he gave up a 22-yard catch as well as a 12-yard catch and then helped hold the Patriots' to a field goal with a run stuff and a pass defended. Very much an up and down day.

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