What a game. The Silver and Black dominated the first half only to see Derek Carr's pinky dislocate on the first play of the second half. After that play, the Raiders deflated like a balloon, until Carr returned to lead them to 11 points and a comeback victory over the Panthers. How did the team as a whole grade in the victory?
Derek Carr is becoming the stuff of legend. #4 has become a legit candidate for the MVP and somehow returned with a dislocated pinky to lead a team that had lost momentum to a narrow 35-32 victory over the Panthers. Under the circumstances, that was an incredible performance and it showed just how important Carr is to this team.
Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts each had a bad drop, but they made up for it with plenty of excellent catches. Both Roberts and Walford had highlight-reel touchdown receptions, and Michael Crabtree bailed Carr out on a deep pass that was under-thrown on their game winning drive. The receivers as a whole also did a great job in space making the Panthers miss left and right.
For the most part, the offensive line played great, especially in the second half when protecting an injured Derek Carr was vital to a comeback. The Cowboys offensive line may have an edge in the run game, but I have no doubt this Raiders offensive line is the best pass blocking unit in the NFL.
Bill Musgrave emphasized establishing the run game against the Panthers as his team carried the ball 30 times. But aside from a Latavius Murray rushing touchdown, this group was incredibly unsuccessful totaling a meager 55 yards on just 1.8 yards per carry. How the Raiders were able to score 35 points despite having a run game amazes me.
The majority of the blame goes to the offensive line for this performance. There were just no holes for the running backs as the Panthers defensive line was playing in the Raiders backfield.
Credit Bill Musgrave for drawing up some great schemes to give the Raiders wide-open receivers. He also called two great screen passes that both led to big gains as well. But the best move of the game came after Carr dislocated his pinky. Musgrave decided Carr would take snaps from the shotgun the rest of the game to prevent another possible jam and it worked as Carr didn't reinjure his finger and led the Raiders to 11 points and a comeback victory.