It has gone like this for a while now. Raiders fans look forward to the return of football for eight long months only to be let down. In fact, it has happened 11 times over the past 12 years. That's a lot of letdowns.
Even with the Jets racking up penalties and turnovers, they were outplaying the Raiders by a considerable margin. Once they got the penalties down and stopped turning it over, they put the game away. It was that simple. They handled the Raiders on both sides of the ball and in every area.
Knowing this, let's get to the Ballers & Busters, shall we?
There wasn't much success happening in the passing game. But when it worked, most of the time it was Rod Streater on the receiving end of it. He had the first catch for positive yards in the game for the Raiders. With the Raiders in a short field at the 28-yard line after a Charles Woodson interception, Streater caught the first pass for 8 yards. A few plays later, he caught the last pass on the drive which He took behind the line of scrimmage, got a couple nice blocks and took the left edge to go 11 yards untouched into the endzone.
The very next play by the Raiders offense was a back shoulder catch for 17 yards by Streater. Later in the same drive, he laid a nice block to help Darren McFadden on a 7-yard first down run. He added another short catch on the next play for four yards, but the drive stalled after that. On the final drive, he had another block, this time on an 11-yard run by Maurice Jones-Drew on third and one. With the drive still alive, the Raiders scored a late touchdown to finish it off. Streater was targeted six times and had five catches for 46 yards and touchdown.
His interception on the Jets second possession was a thing of beauty. Geno Smith saw his man and threw it to him, thinking no one was close enough to make a play. It certainly looked that way until Woodson did another of his Superman impressions and dove through the air to pick off the pass and keep it in his grasp. It gave the Raiders the ball in scoring position at the 28-yard line and they drove for a touchdown.
Woodson wasn't done after that, either. He made the first stop on the next Jets possession too with a tackle for no gain on a run play. To start the fourth quarter, with the Raiders still within a touchdown of the lead, he had another run stuff on third down to end a series with a three and out. He finished third on the team with 9 combined tackles (5 solo) and even got to lay a pretty good lick on Geno Smith on a scramble.
Many of you probably think Moore deserves to be Top Baller. I can see the argument but along with his great plays in this one, he made his fair share of mistakes and mishaps. But he is a Baller simply because the quality of the plays he made outweighed the quantity of the ones he didn't. He started getting things going when he was in on a tackle at the goal line resulting in a fumble by Geno Smith. Moore was there to hit Smith allowing T.J. Carrie to come in and knock the ball loose. The Raiders would take over at the 3-yard line, still able to cling to a 7-3 lead.
The following Jets drive, Moore was brutal. He missed two tackles, including a would-be sack, gave up a catch, and was blocked for the drive ending touchdown. He ended the Jets next drive when he tackled the receiver for a 5-yard gain on third and 17. He would then end the next drive as well with a strip sack (Jets recovered) and a loss of 12 yards. They would settle for a field goal. He had another tackle on a short catch on the following series to help force a three-and-out. Again on the very next series, he ended the drive with pressure on Geno Smith to force him backwards where Tyvon Branch sacked him for a 19-yard loss. This time, they were knocked out of field goal range, keeping the Raiders to within a touchdown of the lead. Sio finished with three pressures, one sack, six stops, and led the team with 13 combined tackles (11 solo).
He laid the key block on the Raiders first touchdown to Rod Streater, and he made a fantastic leaping grab, getting both feet just inbounds, for the late touchdown. He also had a short first down catch on third and two to keep the first scoring drive alive. Those are all big plays and key moments for the Raiders in this one. Jones finished with three catches on three targets for 34 yards and a touchdown.
I'm as surprised as you are that there's a defensive lineman on this list. But here we are. While Smith was only credited with one tackle for loss in this game, he was a part of three. The first was all him and it came on a screen pass on the Jets first drive that put them in third and 21 (the other ten yards was from a holding penalty). The next one came early in the third quarter and he shared it with Pat Sims. On the following possession he had a run stuff for no gain. The final tackle for loss came on the Jets' last offensive play of the game. He got in the backfield to disrupt the run play and Miles Burrs got the tackle for loss. He also had a play in which he bull rushed the offensive lineman right into Geno Smith's face, causing him to throw off his back foot and incomplete to a wide open receiver.
Right out the gates, Carrie started his up and down day. He missed a tackle on the opening kickoff that was ran out to the 40-yard line. The Jets started with great field position and were able to put up a field goal to start the game. He more than made up for that when he took a score off the board on the next Jets drive. Geno Smith tried running it in from the three-yard line but was stopped by Sio Moore, while at the same time Carrie came in and knocked the ball out, then fell on it to give the Raiders the ball. It took at least three points off the board and may have saved a touchdown.
On a drive in the second quarter, Geno got the better of him, when on third and eight, Carrie was blocked to allow a scramble for the first down. Two plays later, he missed a tackle on an 11-yard run. That drive resulted in the Jets first touchdown of the day. After a couple nice defensive plays - a tackle for loss and an assisted tackle on a short catch - he made a poor decision on special teams. He was backed up on a punt and called for the fair catch at the Raiders' six-yard line. That's a no-no. He needs to be aware of where he's at on the field and let that one go in the hopes it bounds into the endzone. The Raiders were unable to get out of the shadow of their own endzone and it was another three-and-out and they were losing the field position battle (along with most every other battle).