I present the final Ballers & Busters for the Raiders 2015 season. One in which the Raiders began 0-4 before firing their head coach, got to 0-10 before getting their first win, getting three-straight wins at home over the Chiefs, 49ers, and Bills to finish the season, but went winless away from Oakland (0-9). That's how the Raiders arrived at 3-13.
Easily the best defender on the Raiders, he proved to be one of the best defenders in the NFL. It didn't take long for this to become apparent as in just week two, he was already named Top Baller. Overall he was a Baller a team leading nine times, five of those times he was Top Baller.
By midseason, he had yet to record his first sack. But that didn't reflect his impact on the game as a pass rusher and run stopper. Early in the season the Raiders defense didn't have a lot of triumphs and they had zero wins. The closest they came was a nail biter in Foxboro, and Mack led the charge.
That game saw him named Top Baller for the second time in four weeks with 7 tackles (3 solo), most of which were run stuffs. He also forced Tom Brady into an incomplete pass with the Patriots in third and goal at the two-yard-line. Later he laid another hard hit on Brady to force another incompletion. He also had a run stuff on third down in the first half, and a tackle for a 3-yard loss to begin the second half.
He was back in the Top Baller spot in week 7 against the Cardinals. He had a run stuff on each of the Cardinals first three drives, beginning with a tackle for a five-yard loss. On one drive in particular Mack had four run stuffs; one for a loss and one for no gain. He, of course, led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo).
Believe it or not, his best game of the early season was still yet to come. That would happen the very next week in Cleveland. He was the drive killer on several occasions against the Browns who were powerless to stop him. On the Browns very first drive, he made the play on three of four plays -- a tackle for a loss, a tackle for no gain, and a pressure for an incompletion. The Browns knew immediately Mack was not to be trifled with.
A couple drives later, the Browns had driven to the nine-yard-line. Mack ended it with had a tackle for loss and a pressure to force an incompletion. He ended two more drives in the game with a run stuff on third down and laying a hit on Brian Hoyer as he threw for the incompletion. After the game Hoyer said Mack earned the respect of himself as well as the rest of the Browns team. He may have added the rest of the NFL.
Even with his dominant performances early on, Mack wouldn't record his first NFL sack until week 11. He sacked Philip Rivers in a defensive game which the Raiders fell short 13-6. As you might expect, Mack was a big part of that effort. On one particular drive he had a run stuff for no gain, a run stuff for a loss, and then ended it with a run stuff for one yard on third and five. His biggest play won't even show up in the stats. His blocker was called for holding on a 26-yard catch that would have put the Chargers in first and goal. Despite being held, he still drove in on Philip Rivers and pushed his blocker onto Rivers' knee which had him hobbling around for a while.
After it took Mack ten games to get his first sack, he would tack on two more in a week 14 win over the 49ers. He also pressured Colin Kaepernick into throwing an interception on the first play of the game.
Mack returned to Top Baller status in week 16 against the Bills, his last healthy game, to send us out with a reminder of his dominance this season. Mack was in the Bills' backfield from the first play of the game to make a run stuff. On the second drive, Mack pressured Orton, causing him to rush his throw and Charles Woodson intercepted it. He helped give the Bills five-straight three and outs after that with a tackle for loss on the next series, and pressured Kyle Orton on three of the next four third downs. And it was only half time.
Mack picked it up in the second half when on consecutive plays he sealed the outside edge despite a double team resulting in a tackle for loss, and then ended it with a sack on Orton for a 10-yard loss. He was injured in the season finale so contributing to the Raiders final win of the season as he did was a good way to go out.
He finished second in the NFL in QB hits and hurries among 4-3 outside linebackers and was by far the best run stopping linebacker in the NFL.
After getting six carries over the first nine games of the season, it was finally Latavius Murray's turn in week 10 in San Diego. On his first carry he went for 14 yards. Then on the next play and he took it for 23 yards. Those two runs alone were ten yards more than the rest of the Raiders running backs had combined that day.
He kept it going the following week and then some against the Chiefs and was named Top Baller for his efforts. His second carry of the game he went 11-yard around the left edge for a touchdown. It was the first rushing touchdown the Chiefs had given up all season. Their second rushing touchdown given up came in more epic fashion.
On the Raiders next possession, Murray took the hand-off and went up the middle through his initial gap, made a move that froze the middle linebacker, and flew 90 yards for the touchdown with the closest Chief a good five yards in tow. It was the fourth longest run from scrimmage in Raiders history. It also gave the Raiders the punch they needed to win their first game of the season, breaking a 16-game losing streak stretching back to the previous season.
When the Raiders played the Chiefs again, Murray was a Baller again. He 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. With him in the backfield, the coaches once again had some faith in the ability to pick up third and short on the ground. He also saved a turnover by punching the ball out of a defender's hands who had intercepted it. Had the interception held, the Chiefs would have had the ball inside the Oakland 20-yard line.
The following week the Raiders got their third win of the season against the Bills. The Raiders rode Murray as their workhorse back, something they hadn't had all season before his emergence. Among his big runs was a 15-yarder to set up a go-ahead field goal at 10-7, a 19-yard catch to set up another field goal and a 13-7 lead, and a drive that featured a 25-yard run and a 17-yard run to set up another field goal. Murray finished the day with 86 yards on 23 carries and the threat he posed opened things up in the offense.
There wasn't much to write home about in the finale in Denver, but the one offensive score was set up by a 46-yard catch and run by Murray. In total, Murray had 97 yards from scrimmage which was nearly half the Raiders net yards in the game (199).
It was a resurgent season for the 38-year old future Hall of Famer. One of a couple resurgent seasons he has had in his long and storied career. He began the season at free safety, but was soon switched to strong safety with the injury to Tyvon Branch. While most players would struggle which a midseason position change, Woodson thrived.
Woodson was the best defensive back on this team all season. And for the second-straight season, he started every game. He led the team with 4 interceptions and his first one came on the second possession of the season opener. He dove in front of a Geno Smith pass with rare athleticism and reaction time, not to mention hands. He also had 9 tackles (5 solo) in the game.
He was a Betweener in week four when he had a pass defended in the endzone and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchback. Then he was back in the Baller category in week 7 against the Cardinals where he has his second interception. He also added four run stuffs, and held his gap to allow another.
Week 11 Woodson was among the leaders on a fantastic defensive effort in San Diego. Following the game, Woodson said he "failed the team" because he dropped what would have been a game-winning pick six that resulted in Antonio Gates managing to catch the ball and the Chargers went on to win.
Woodson beating himself up notwithstanding, he led the team with an eye popping 14 tackles (11 solo). Most of those tackles were not made downfield after a long catch, either. The Chargers only had one catch that day go for more than 20 yards.
In week 12 Woodson made several huge plays to help the Raiders take down the Chiefs. He made a great play on the first third down of the game to stop Jamaal Charles for a nine-yard loss on a lateral. He had another tackle for loss on the first drive of the second quarter. On the Chiefs' final drive of the first half, Woodson and Asante teamed up for a run stuff for two yards on 3rd and 5. Then he ended the first series of the third quarter with a sack on 3rd down. That play made him the first player in NFL history to record at least 50 interceptions and 20 sacks in his career.
He would seal the victory for the Raiders against the 49ers two weeks later. Kaepernick was looking for Vernon Davis over the middle, hoping to simply put the ball where only Davis could get it. Unfortunately, he didn't see Woodson at all, who laid out to pick off the ball to end it. He also led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo).
In the team's third and final win of the season CWood made the first big play of the game for the Raiders and the last. After the Bills had an opening drive touchdown, Woodson picked off Kyle Orton on the following drive. It would allow the Raiders to grind out a win, but late in the game, the Bills would need to recover and onsides kick to have a chance. Woodson came out with the hands team and he plucked the ball out of the air to seal the win.
His 114 combined tackles (85 solo) was tied for the most in the NFL among safeties.
Penn didn't get on track right away this season. He was a Baller twice but also a Buster twice. That was mainly due to his run blocking, His pass blocking has been solid much of the season. As the season went on his run blocking caught up with his pass blocking, making him a Baller four of the final eight games.
Among Penn's pass blocking accomplishments this season were giving up just one hurry facing J.J. Watt, Allowing no hurries or sacks against the Chiefs elite pass rush, catching a touchdown against the 49ers while not giving up a single sack or hurry against Aldon Smith, allowing just one pressure facing All Pro Mario Williams, and then giving up just one hurry facing Von Miller.
And when he wasn't a pillar on the left side, the Raiders would send him downfield as a blocker on screens. Even the occasional bubble screen which required he show some athleticism to get to the outside and downfield.
It was a very slow start for Tuck. Early in the season he looked like a bad signing. He was not getting it done as a starter, so the Raiders put in C.J. Wilson as the starter and made Tuck a situational pass rusher. With his duties and workload decreased, he began to make plays.
He began to really step up in week 10 against the Broncos. He tipped an attempted screen pass from Peyton Manning and then pulled it in for an interception. He was a disruptor much of the game, making run stuffs and even had a tackle for loss on a catch in the flat.
Tuck finished strong, being named a Baller in the final two games. Whenever the Bills put a double team on Khalil Mack, Tuck would make them pay for it. The one series in the first half that wasn't stopped by Mack, was stopped by Tuck. He got in the backfield and hit Orton to force an incompletion. Tuck also had a sack in the game.
In the season finale, the Raiders had two touchdowns. Only one was on offense. The other was thanks to Tuck who sniffed out a lateral pass in the flat and tipped it and Keith McGill scooped it up and returned it 20 yards for the touchdown. He also sacked Peyton Manning on their first drive. Mack was hobbled by a hamstring in this game and Tuck picked up the slack, including several run stuffs as well. Tuck finished the season as the team leader in sacks (5.0) - three of those coming in his final four games.
There is no question of the talent Carrie possesses and he has great potential. The Raiders have big plans for him both at cornerback and in the return game. He was named a Baller twice this season. One of those was his very first start in week six against the Chargers where he gave up just one catch in the came along with two passes defended.
In week nine against the Seahawks, he had a superb game on defense. In the return game, he had a 42-yarder but also fumbled a return which put a damper on an otherwise great game.
While having some injury issues late in the season, Carrie managed to put together a good game along with the rest of the secondary against the 49ers in week 14. He had two tackles for loss in that one.
What teams call a ‘glue guy'. This team came together late in the season and Smith was a big part of that. The defense seemed to gel near midseason and the wins would eventually follow. Smith got his first sack in week 11 against Philip Rivers in one of the best defensive efforts by the Raiders all season long. He got pressure and hits on Rivers all game long. Three series in a row late in the game, he laid a hard hit on Rivers as he released the ball. The third time was the sack. He added two tackles for loss. The Raiders would get their first win the following week and no one was happier than Smith, who had lost 23-straight games coming into it.
With what Smith referred to as a "dark cloud" lifted from this team, the returned home demoralized from a 52-0 loss in St Louis angry. Smith got two sacks in that game to help the team get their second win of the season against the 49ers.
Never thought after last season I'd be writing this. But Ross deserves a lot of credit for his play this season. He was cut before the season by the Raiders, then cut again by the Dolphins, and re-signed by the Raiders off the scrap heap. And he stepped up to be a two-time Baller late in the season. He was a big part of the Raiders first two wins.
The first win, they had moved him as the slot corner and was solid in tackling and coverage most of the day, including stopping two-straight drives in the second quarter.
The second win, he intercepted Colin Kaepernick on the first play of the game. On the very next drive he made what may have been a TD saving tackle, to stop a catch and run at 18 yards. The drive ended three plays later. In the third quarter Ross stopped a catch on 3rd and goal at the 2-yard line to hold the 49ers to a field goal.
It was an on-again, off-again affair with the Raiders rookie QB and hopeful long term franchise quarterback. He was a Baller twice early in the season and twice late in the season. He was a Buster three times early in the season, and four times late in the season. If you do the math, he was a Buster three more times than he was a Baller. But since I wouldn't classify him as a season Buster and we can't really go without mentioning him at all, here he sits.
Let's detail his highs and lows, shall we? First, his Baller games
Week 3 against the Patriots was his first Baller nod. He showed great pocket presence in this game for the first time this season. In that game he went 21 for 34 (62%) for 174 yards. Though no touchdown were scored, he led the team on three scoring drives for field goals.
Carr had his best numbers of the season in week 6 with Tony Sparano's first game as head coach. Carr was named top Baller with a Raiders rookie record four touchdown passes. But the Raiders defense was unable to stop the Chargers, and with one last drive attempt, Carr was intercepted on what was a very questionable play call. He had career highs in every category including passing yards (282) and passer rating (107.7).
After that game, Carr had a long rough patch. He wouldn't be named a Baller again until week 12 - the team's first win of the season. The emergence of Latavius Murray and the Raiders running game is what won the game. The Raiders needed a late drive to win it and that's what they got. Carr would convert four third downs and one fourth down on the drive and cap it with a perfect pass to James Jones for the game-winning touchdown.
In the Raiders second win of the season in week 14, he stepped up for the first time put the team on his back. He led them on three touchdown drives, the third and final drive late in the fourth quarter to put the 49ers away. He had just six incompletions the entire day on 28 passes. He finals numbers were 254 passing yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions for an impressive 140.2 passer rating. It is this game that kept him from being a season Buster.
His Buster games came in Week 1, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, and 17.
Week one, after an opening drive touchdown, he went ice cold. He had three would-be interceptions dropped. He also was not recognizing blitzes and the Jets were feasting on him because of it. Carr added a late garbage time touchdown drive in this one to make it look more respectable than it was.
He managed to avoid the Buster list for six games after that. But when he came back, went on a three-game low point from week 8 to week 10. The defense looked good against the Browns but the offense blew it. The Browns rattled Carr and he looked lost most of the day. He had just one drive for a field goal in the first half, then fumbled twice in the second half, the second fumble resulted in the game-clinching score.
A week later against the Seahawks, he had arguably his worst game. His first mistake was he decided to test Richard Sherman. He ended up throwing two interceptions in the game. The first returned for a touchdown, the second one was read easily by Sherman to set up a field goal. And for the second-straight week, he had two fumbles. Carr had 2 TD passes in the game - the first was a screen pass off a big punt return, the other came too late to matter.
It was another two interception game the following week against the Broncos. The Raiders had seven drives in the first half and four of them were stopped due to passes too short to pick up the first down. The second half had 8 series for the Raiders. The first four of those ended with Derek Carr mistakes -- a shovel to an ineligible receiver (Khalif Barnes) who caught it and then fumbled it, a wide pass incomplete, an interception, and a low wobbler on the sideline.
After the team found a running game in week 12 and hence got a win out of it, Latavius Murray was out the following week with a concussion and entire offense was a hot mess in St Louis with Carr having his fourth game of the season with two interceptions. One led to a touchdown, the other led to a field goal and a 38-0 Rams lead by halftime. Carr was finished with a season low passer rating of 50.5.
Two weeks later, his return trip to Missouri meant more Misery for Carr. He had his second lowest completion percentage (48.21). On each of the first two drives, he was nearly intercepted. Later he had a held ball sack, a fumbled snap which the Chiefs recovered at the Oakland 21-yard line leading to a touchdown. Then he nearly threw a pick six. His one score came with the Raiders down 31-6 with :37 seconds the clock.
And finally, he was a Buster in the season finale in Denver which featured Carr's second lowest passer rating of the season (59.7). He held the ball too long for sacks on the first two drives. The third drive he fumbled the snap for a 21-yard loss. The Raiders offense got its first and only touchdown in the third quarter set up by a short pass Latavius Murray took for 46 yards. The following drive Carr squandered a golden opportunity by overthrowing a wide open Andre Holmes on a long post pattern. He finished going 18 for 36 (50%) for 158 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
He stepped up this season and was the Raiders second leading receiver, finishing with 58 catches on 99 targets for 534 yards. He was a Baller four times this season and a Buster three times.
Against the Browns in week 8 he led the team in catches (7) and yards (83). Among his catches were a fantastic one-handed grab in traffic for 22 yards that put the team in scoring position and another 22-yard catch on the final drive, this time on 4th and 11 to set the team up in first and goal at the 10-yard line. His targets went up the following week (11), and he had a season high 8 catches. And though he had just 38 yards receiving, two of his catches were for touchdowns from one yard out.
The next week against the Broncos was the inverse of that - great stats, but they don't tell the story. He had 6 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, but 3 of his catches for 50 yards and a touchdown came on the team's final drive with the game already lost. Prior to that Rivera had three catches for 14 yards. But it wasn't Rivera's lack of production that lands him as a Buster. He gave up three run stuffs, one on third down, and a tackle for loss on a bubble screen. His blocking issues were a common theme.
He was a Baller two weeks in a row on week 14 and 15. This first one was his first career 100-yard game (109) to help the Raiders beat the 49ers. He caught every pass thrown his way and the final catch was the final touchdown of the day. He caught another seven passes the next week as well and had some nice blocks too, including a seal block on a 25-yard run.
He finished the season as a Buster when he caught just two passes on eight targets with two on-target drops.
This may surprise some people because Sio Moore is one of the bright spots on this otherwise talent deficient Raiders team. What we have is a good Sio and a bad Sio. Good Sio flies around the field and makes plays. Bad Sio makes silly mistakes and shows a lack of maturity.
Good Sio: Week one he stopped Geno Smith at the goal line that resulted in a forced fumble by TJ Carrie. He ended four other drives with a tackle short of the first down, a strip sack resulting in a 12-yard loss, a pressure to force an incompletion, and a pressure resulting in a sack. Sio finished the game with three pressures, one sack, six stops, and led the team with 13 combined tackles (11 solo).
Bad Sio: In week two, the Texans put J.J. Watt in as a tight end, which they like to do. And Sio didn't bother to cover him to give up a wide open touchdown. Also in the game he gave up a 26-yard catch, was blocked on the 5-yard touchdown run, blocked on a 16-yard run and was called for taunting with the Raiders down 17-0.
Good Sio: After missing a couple games with an ankle injury, Sio burst back onto the scene as a Baller in week six against the Chargers. He made five stops in the game, three of which came at or within two yards of the line of scrimmage and led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo).
Good Sio: He led the team in tackles in week 8 against the Browns. Early on, he had two tackles for loss. He began the third quarter with a run stuff and did the same to begin the fourth quarter and got a hand on a pass on the next play. He had one more run stop on the next possession to finish with 9 tackles (8 solo) and two tackles for loss.
Good Sio: He was a Top Baller in week nine against the Seahawks. Sio was all over Russell Wilson. He sacked Wilson on second down and then pressured him into an incompletion on 3rd and 13. He ended another drive later in the game with a pressure on Wilson for an incompletion on third down. He also added a couple more run stuffs and again led the team with double digit tackles (11).
Bad Sio: While initially being named a Baller for week 10, further review showed he was dogging it on the 51-yard touchdown run by CJ Anderson which was the back breaking play of the game. The Broncos rattled off 5-straight touchdown drives starting with that run. And Sio could have stopped it had he not started jogging.
Good Sio: He had run stuffs on the Chargers first two possessions. He did the same thing to start the second half, but on three-straight possessions. The third one came on third down to force a punt. He had tight coverage on a screen pass in the fourth quarter to allow Khalil Mack to get his first sack of the season. Sio finished second on the team with 9 tackles (6 solo) and only gave up one catch for 12 yards in coverage.
Good Sio: In the week 12 win he led the team with 12 tackles (7 solo) with a tackle for loss, and a sack on the final Chiefs drive.
Bad Sio: Same game he gave up runs of five, five, and six yards. He also gave up an 8-yard catch, a wide open 19-yard touchdown catch, a missed tackle on a screen for a 30-yard touchdown, and a missed tackle on a 23-yard catch. He made a great read on a Jamaal Charles catch for a 12-yard loss that nearly didn't happen. When he made the hit, he was already thinking celebration and tried to throw Charles, who was then able to regain his feet and begin to run again. Luckily Miles Burris had arrived to make the tackle. Following his big sack on the final drive, Sio went into the longest sack dance on record. He ran some 20 yards down field and while he was dancing and handslapping, the Chiefs were back at the line ready to run another play. The Raiders had to take a timeout to avoid a crucial penalty.
Bad Sio: Week 13 he and the rest of the linebackers were invisible as the Rams had their way with the Raiders defense. He didn't have a single hurry in this game and finished with just ONE tackle. Rams running back Tre Mason had a 35-yard screen for the Rams first touchdown, Sio was in the area but for some reason slowed up when he got near Mason who ran right by him up the right sideline.
Bad Sio: He was a non-factor with his performance on the field against the 49ers. He may have gotten in the head of Colin Kaepernick, but Kap had his way with Sio all day on the field. He was victimized for nearly half of Kaepernick's passing yards (174) and his only touchdown. Then Sio took it off the field, calling Kap a "freakin chump" on Instagram and for some inane reason toyed with the media in his post game interview repeating the same line of nonsense "Have a good night, drive safely, pay your tolls."
He was put in a tough situation trying to rally this team into a winner. While he had them playing their first inspired football in quite some time, he didn't get a win in his first six weeks on the job. A big reason for that was the run game. And Sparano has no one to blame but himself for that.
As you might suspect, the main issues with the run game were the guys carrying the ball and the offensive line. He is the offensive line coach so that falls on him too. And as far as the guy carrying the rock, he just kept handing it to Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew for his first six weeks despite the same lack of results. He finally gave Latavius Murray a shot in week 11 and Murray promptly had two big runs. The next week, Murray had 112 yards on 4 carries to help the Raiders get their first win of the season.
Sparano admitted in his press conference following the season that he regrets not realizing the talents Murray had earlier. Before that he was saying Murray hadn't progressed enough to earn carries. I guess we'll never know which it was. But the Raiders went 0-10 before he figured it out.
The week after that first big win, of which Sparano earned a Baller status, he fell hard along with his coordinators and were Top Busters as a result. The Raiders were so high on their first win, it was like they didn't even bother to prepare for the Rams and ended up run out of the building in a 52-0 destruction. That falls on Sparano. There's no way around it.
That Jeckyl and Hyde mentality continued through the remainder of the season. It was wins at home, and blowout losses on the road. For whatever reason, Sparano was inspiring this team to get up at home while they would have a huge letdown on the road. Credit to Sparano for telling Greg Olson to "stay the course" with the run game against Buffalo in week 16, or they may have lost that one too.
And then there was the matter of punting on fourth and five at the Broncos' 40-yard line in the season finale. That is a 58-yard field goal in Denver where Sebastian Janikowski once tied the NFL record for the longest field goal. That punt was inexcusable, and I don't see how that's the memory he would want to leave with a team trying to decide whether to keep him around as head coach. You go for the touchdown or the field goal. You don't punt.
Hayden returned for his first full game of the season in week nine. And it was so close to being a great comeback game. But he couldn't put it together. He was called for pass interference on the Seahawks' first drive which led to a touchdown.
He had a hard hit on a receiver for a short gain but afterward he stood over the receiver and was flagged for taunting to turned what would have been a 3rd and 16 into a 1st and 10. The Seahawks then drove for a touchdown. He began the third quarter by jumping a route and dropped what should have been a pick six. He dropped another sure gift interception later in the game.
He joined 12 other Raiders players as a Baller in week 12 with some great coverage as well as some physicality we hadn't seen much of from him.
He joined another large number of Raiders as a Buster in week 13 against the Rams in which Shaun Hill was picking him apart. The Rams second drive went for a touchdown with Hayden giving up three-straight catches for 47 yards. He was also blocked to allow the Rams first touchdown on a 35-yard screen play. Later he was called for holding in the endzone on 3rd and 6 and led to another touchdown and a 35-0 Rams lead.
In a win in week 14, Hayden was a Baller again along with the entire Raiders secondary. Hayden gave up just two catches in the game and one of those was stopped short of the sticks on third down.That was the high for Hayden. Two weeks later was the low.
The Raiders beat the Bills, but when they wanted offense, they found it by going after Hayden. They got their first touchdown when Sammy Watkins just ran right by Hayden and caught a 42-yard touchdown uncontested. On the second play of the Bills final drive, Hayden missed a tackle on a 34-yard catch and then gave up the 30-yard touchdown catch to Robert Woods to finish it off. In total, Hayden gave up 8 catches on 9 targets for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
It didn't get better for Hayden in week 17 facing Peyton Manning in Denver. Manning roasted Hayden who gave up catches on each of the Broncos first four scoring drives and was called for a 36-yard pass interference penalty on the fifth. Then gave up another catch on the following scoring drive and was blocked on a 22-yard run on the next one. In total he gave up six catches for 79 yards. Add the pass interference and the run and that's 137 yards of offense through Hayden. He also had a ball bounce off his back which, had he actually turned around, would have been an interception.
He catches a lot of grief for the few times this season he and Derek Carr were not on the same page at the snap. The first time was the worst of all. It was a low snap in week four against the Dolphins that was picked up and returned for a touchdown.
In week 10 against the Broncos, Wisniewski seemed to forget how to block as well. Early on he gave up a pressure on Carr whose arm was hit as he threw and it was intercepted. The Broncos would take over and score a touchdown. He would give up two more hits on Carr in the game as well as a run stuff.
The next week against the Chargers, his snapping issues cropped up again. On the first play of the game, Derek Carr tried to change the play at the line and Wisniewski snapped the ball too soon. The fumbled snap was recovered by the Chargers at the 22-yard line and two plays later, they scored a touchdown. For those counting at home, that's 3 touchdowns as a result of Wisniewski. Also in this game he missed his block on a screen to give up a tackle for loss and was called for holding.
In week 12, the emergence of Murray came with some good blocking by Wisniewski. In the second quarter, when Murray was hit in the head and fumbled, it was Wisniewski who recovered the ball. Wiz also laid some key blocks on several more run plays in the game including the first two Marcel Reece runs on the long final drive.
He was a Baller again in week 16 with the Raiders final win of the season. Wiz was a road grader for Murray in this game. He was a key blocker on Murray's first big run that went 15 yards and led to the Riders first lead of the game. He was downfield blocking for Murray to go 19 yards on a catch to set up a field goal. Wiz was also a key block on Murray's biggest run of the day for 25 yards. Two plays later, Wiz laid a big block for Murray to go for 17 yards and set up the Raiders' third field goal of the day.