Whew! The Oakland Raiders escaped with the victory yesterday, and it was a big one. There are not many games against sub par teams left, in fact just San Diego for the remaining games has a losing record. That means this game was a must win just to stay relevant, let alone for the playoff race.
This game wasn't pretty by any means, and a phantom holding call saved it for them. We can keep it real here, that holding call was about as ridiculous as they come it's just that we don't care because it helped us win. There was bad calls throughout the game in the Titans favor anyway but it still must be noted that a bad call saved this game for the Raiders.
You know what I say to that? Just Win Baby! A win is a win, whether helped by egregious referring or not. The Raiders have lost far more games from shady calls than they have won anyway. Sorry Titans fans, I understand why you would be mad; it's just that I am too happy about winning to care enough to be upset about it for you.
The game ball went to Seth Roberts after the game and who can blame Jack Del Rio for that decision? The guy has struggled mightily throughout the year but many of those struggles came from making good plays to get into position to help and then screwing them up. Not yesterday, against the Titans on Sunday Seth Roberts was the proverbial hero.
To me, the best player in yesterday's game was not Seth Roberts though. It was David Amerson. The Raiders still only won this game by 3 points, and that was largely because of play after play being made by Amerson. As good as Seth Roberts' two touchdowns were, they wouldn't have been enough if not for the defense consistently getting off the field. Amerson was the MVP of this game, even though Roberts' game was great too.
It was really exciting to see a third receiver emerge though. Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper have been great all year, so great that extra attention must be used to contain them. With that much attention already being used there should be an opening for somebody else to take advantage. Roberts has consistently been in those places but has been inconsistent in making the plays, that all changed on Sunday when he put together a great game.
Another outstanding performance was that of Khalil Mack. He has been outstanding since the needed strategy changes by Ken Norton Jr. when Aldon Smith was suspended for the year. This game he got two sacks but he was also in the face of rookie Marcus Mariota all game long. When you are playing a young QB you must pressure them, Khalil Mack did that yesterday as a one man wrecking crew.
This game was an important win for the ballclub, but it certainly was not a convincing win. They will need to play much better moving forward into the gauntlet of playoff quality teams that will be forthcoming the rest of the season. Next they have possibly the biggest game of the past decade with Kansas City coming to town on a hot streak and with one of the wildcard spots in their possession.
This game is a chance for the Raiders to get back to 6-6 by beating a very good team and divisional rival. This would be an absolutely huge victory for them and would give them the confidence they need to actually make a run for the wildcard. I still don't believe they will, sorry, but it is great to be able to talk about it this late in the year either way.
Derek Carr played very well on Sunday, but we will need to see an even better version against an extremely tough Kansas City Chiefs defense. He will need to play mistake free football again but against an even better quality defense. The Titans defense isn't bad, but the Chiefs defense is on another level entirely. Just Win Baby!