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Raiders Week 5 Report Card: Oakland defense dominates listless Broncos offense

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Is Charles Woodson the best player in the NFL, or the greatest player in the NFL? You make the call!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that game was certainly a breath of fresh air as far as the defense goes. The Raiders defense, which had been the worst unit in the NFL this season, held the Broncos to nine offensive points and zero offensive touchdowns. Peyton Manning teams hadn't been held without an offensive touchdown in something like thirteen years. It was quite a feat. The game didn't go Oakland's way, but that was not the defense's fault at all. Here's how the units grade out:

Defensive Line: B+

The Raiders sacked Manning twice, but probably should have had him a few more times. It's hard to do that when a guy has as quick a release as Manning does. They were in his face all game long and completely shut down the Denver running game which had fifteen total rush yards in the first half and ended with a paltry 43 rush yards. I feel bad for anyone who drafted C.J. Anderson in the first round of their fantasy draft, or who started him on FanDuel this week. Justin Tuck went out with an arm injury later in the game, but Mario Edwards Jr. filled in and looked pretty good. Dan Williams will eat your children.

Linebackers: A

Do the Broncos employ a tight end? Why yes, yes they do. His name is Owen Daniels and had had ZERO catches on FIVE targets. The Raider linebackers, most notably Neiron Ball, shut that aspect of the Broncos defense down hard. They were also good against the run and pressured Manning all day. Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith were beasting on every play, and the team really took to the new blitz-happy mentality. A very strong effort for the linebackers this week.

Secondary: A+

By "secondary" I mean "Charles Woodson". My God, man, can anyone play better than you right now? Woodson had never had a pick off Peyton Manning, the man he beat out for the 1997 Heisman Trophy, and he was itching for one. Well, he got that one at the end of the first half to turn away a promising Broncos drive, and then he got a second pick in the second half as well. Manning looked flummoxed all day and never did play well in the game. DJ Hayden wasn't great, but David Amerson and TJ Carrie were even though Carrie was clearly not 100% in this game. It's pretty obvious that Manning expected a very different Oakland secondary than the one he faced on Sunday.

Overall Defense: A

One of the Raiders' biggest weaknesses this season has been getting off the field on third downs. Even though Denver only punted once on Sunday, Oakland got off the field on a ton of key first downs, forcing field goals instead of touchdowns. They did not give up an offensive touchdown in the game. This is a performance they can hang their hats on, and build on for the future.

Special Teams: F

The Raiders missed two field goals and lost the game by six points. Does any more need to be said? Special teams cost them this game that they definitely should have won. As they say, if wishes and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas. Janikowski also had a dreadful onside kick at the end of the game. It's a shame that in a pretty good showing by the rest of the team, the kicking game lets them down considering how long Janikowski has been the lone bright spot for the Raiders. He's going to have his off days, but Sunday was a lousy time for it.

Check out the grades for the Offense here!