After a great first half, the defense surrendered 28 points in the second half and almost lost the game for the Silver and Black. But a final defensive stand in the closing minute saved a victory for the Raiders. How did this unit grade out during the game?
It's Khalil Mack's world, we're all just living in it. Mack continued his reign of terror with an interception returned for a touchdown, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a sack that sealed a victory. Bruce Irvin also had another solid game with a sack while providing constant pressure from the edge. The pass rush wasn't the problem, it was the secondary.
Despite playing without David Amerson, this secondary the first half played as good of football as they have all season. But the second half was a different story as Ted Ginn roasted T.J. Carrie for an 88-yard touchdown. D.J. Hayden after a rough day went down with a hamstring injury which only made the Raiders problems worse. And had it not been for a Greg Olsen drop on third down during the Panthers final drive, the Raiders may not have won this game.
On paper, the Raiders gave up 129 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. But the reality is their performance was much better than those numbers would suggest. 47 of the Panthers rushing yards came on one carry, and all three rushing touchdowns were goal line carries. The Raiders did a great job containing Cam Newton as he managed just six rushing yards on the Silver and Black. It should be stated that Khalil Mack was also an absolute beast in the run game, but what's new?
Ken Norton did an excellent job the first half limiting the Panthers to just seven points. Throughout the game, he also was successfully able to contain Cam Newton to just six rushing yards which is next to impossible. That being said, Norton put the Raiders secondary in a position to fail as too often the cornerbacks would be playing man coverage without safety help, such as when Ted Ginn burned T.J. Carrie for an 88-yard touchdown.
But where Norton saves his grade is on the Panthers final drive of the game. Just as he did when the Raiders held the Ravens earlier in the season, Norton brought pressure and it worked as Cam Newton was flustered and ultimately sacked on fourth down to preserve a victory.
Overall Defensive Grade: B
Sebastian Janikowski was perfect on the day converting both field goal attempts including the game winner. Seabass also hit all three extra points. Marquette "the magician" King had a great day aside from one botched punt that still landed at the 20-yard line with a helpful bounce.