Well, Raider Nation, our lads have now notched eight wins on the year in only ten games, exceeding their win total from last season in an epic 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans in Mexico City. This game was frustrating and scintillating, aggravating and exhilarating. I hope you all survived.
1) Derek Carr
How often am I going to put this guy at the top of the Winners list? It seems like he's here every game. I will just come out and say it now. Derek Carr is your 2016 NFL MVP. Bet the farm on that.
Now, Carr wasn't perfect. He continued the Texans' streak of not allowing a 300-yard passer by only going for a pedestrian 295. He threw to nobody in particular on two separate third and goal plays. He arm-punted Oakland's initial second half possession.
But when the Raiders were down and it came down to Carr's arm, he am become Death, destroyer of worlds. Carr shredded a very good Texans secondary, even without a running game to balance it. He did this while his receivers were dropping every pass he threw their way. He made good use of his running backs, two of whom caught touchdown passes and a third had a massive reception to set up the go-ahead touchdown pass from Carr to Amari Cooper.
2) Jadeveon Clowney
Farbeit for me to ignore the Texans, who are not as crappy as we all imagined. Clowney looked like an absolute monster in the first half until he gassed in the second. When he was on, he was as good as I've seen from a defensive end this season. His physical skills are second to none and he will continue to develop into the player the Texans saw on film when they drafted him first overall in 2014.
3) Jack Del Rio
Blackjack has solidified himself in the discussion for Coach of the Year with this victory. His ability to keep the tram focused and hungry even with increased success and expectations is just what Raider fans want to see. His decision to go for it on fourth down with a minute left in the game is the stuff legends are made of. Jack is approaching Jon Gruden levels of greatness as a Raider coach, and may be the best we've had since Tom Flores.
4) Bill Musgrave
The former Oregon Ducks quarterback has been the target of ire from much of the Nation this year, but let's look at the last two weeks. Against the Broncos, the running game was working. Musgrave ran the same play like a hundred times in a row. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Huge win. Tonight, the running game was just not there. Houston's defensive line was playing out of their minds and getting penetration on runs. So, Musgrave more or less stopped calling running plays and put the ball in Carr's hands. It worked. This is not a man who is stubborn, not a man too proud to make adjustments. Surely the Raiders wanted to come out tonight and run over the Texans. It wasn't going to happen. So, as if he were attacking the Maginot Line, he simply went over them.
1) Bill O'Brien
Bill, you are a gutless fuck. You sit there at your postgame press conference and whine about the refs. Boo hoo. We are Raider fans. You merely adopted the hatred for refs. We were born in it, molded by it. We did not see a penalty against our opponents until we were already men. Keep your whining to yourself and call a better game. Even after the Hopkins catch, it was first down near the red zone. You and your overpaid hack of a quarterback only got three points out of it. That wasn't the refs' fault, and neither was your crappy decision to not kick a field goal on fourth down in the final quarter, even though you would have lost by four instead of seven. Go cry into your cerveza.
2) Raiders running game
Well, this just wasn't going to work. The Raiders rushed for about 20 yards tonight. The backs more than made up for that in the passing game, but you'd like to think Oakland can run for a yard when they need it. They couldn't tonight until the very end of the game when Houston clearly had nothing left in the tank and resorted to Siragusa-like belly flops.
3) Whomever the hell was trying to cover the tight end
Okay, I know CJ Fedoratipper is a pretty solid player, but this is absurd. He caught six passes for 82 yards. I really, really hope that Brock Lobster targeted him so often because he didn't see anything open deep, but it's probably because CJ was so open on literally every play. To give credit, Brock made some good passes his way but if we ever play New England, Gronk is gonna go for over 400 yards, maybe in the first quarter alone.
4) The Chiefs
Imagine being a Chiefs fan or player. You suffer a demoralizing loss at home to a team Oakland beat on the road. You think to yourself, hey! Maybe the Texans can win and we'll stay in first place. Well...
FIRST PLACE BABAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY