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Raiders week 16 Ballers & Busters vs Colts

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Though most of this week’s Ballers & Busters, there is going to be an elephant in the room. Mainly because there’s never been an instance of covering this team that winning a game felt so terrible. That is, of course, because in so doing, the team lost their MVP, Derek Carr to a broken leg.

Even in such a tragic instance, we must plow through. The show must go on and that includes offering my analysis of the game and the individual performances therein which led to the result.

This game was shaping up to be one of the few dominating performances by the Raiders across the board. They never trailed. After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders opened the second quarter with a touchdown. The Colts would answer to tie it at 7-7, but an interception in the end zone by Reggie Nelson and consecutive touchdown drives made it a comfortable 19-7 Raiders lead at the half.

That lead would get more comfortable too with two more touchdowns with another turnover on a forced fumble inbetween. It made for 5 straight touchdown drives by the Raiders to go up 33-7 midway through the third.

Still up 33-14 in the fourth quarter, disaster struck. Trent Cole got around the left edge, along with pressure up the middle, forcing Carr to scramble to elude pressure, but Cole would get ahold of him and twist him down, causing Carr’s ankle to get caught under him. His fibula was broken and he immediately called for trainers.

With Carr out, it seemed to take the wind out of the Raiders’ sails. The Colts would score three times to close out the game, coming within one score of catching up, but the Raiders were able to finish it off and take the underwhelming win.

Ballers

Derek Carr

As if in some ceremonious way, Derek Carr earns Top Baller while he sits at home recovering from his surgery. Carr didn’t cruise through this game entirely. He started the game off-target on several passes, going 1-7 on the first two series with his only completion an 11-yard dump to Latavius Murray.

Come the end of the first quarter, he had turned it around, going 19 of 23 for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns. On their first scoring drive, he converted two third downs passing and a fade to Andre Holmes for the touchdown.

The next drive, he converted a third and 8 by dropping in a perfect dime to Michael Crabtree for 35 yards and finished it off with a touchdown pass to Clive Walford. Carr also called the same run play at the line two times in a row resulting in runs of 12 yards and 15 yards. The next drive he went to the other side for a perfect pass to Amari Cooper between defenders for 34 yards, and again finished off the drive with a short touchdown pass.

Another third down conversion on the following drive along with a 22-yard pass over the middle to Andre Holmes would set up the team’s fourth touchdown of the game on consecutive drives.

He was injured with 11:04 remaining and a 33-14 lead. Some think he shouldn’t have been in the game at all with a lead like that. I disagree. But it stings even more when you consider that may have been his last pass play regardless of the injury. Just one more play.

Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington

Tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, it was Jalen Richard’s turn to carry the rock. His first three carries went for 12, 15, and 9 yards to set up a touchdown. He continued his fine running with a 19-yard cutback run to begin the next drive and a 4-yard touchdown catch to end it and send the Raiders to the locker room up 19-7 at the half. Richard also had 64 yards on 5 carries (12.8 yards per carry) at that point. He added a 3 catches for 13 yards to finish with 79 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

After two runs for 3 yards from Latavius Murray to begin the third quarter, it was then DeAndre Washington’s turn. The result was similar. His first three carries went for 9, 10, and 22 (13.7 yards per carry) with the last one for a touchdown. His next carry was another 22-yard touchdown run, bringing his average on four carries to 15.75 with two touchdown. He added an 18-yard catch to finish with 99 yards rushing and 117 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.

Kelechi Osemele

On several occasions in this game, Osemele looked like he was just on another level than his defender. The first two positive runs of the game for the Raiders were behind Osemele blocks. The second one started off their first scoring drive.

The first touchdown of the second half was the 22-yard run by Washington and Osemele laid the key block to get him into the secondary. He would open another hole for Washington on a third down conversion late in the third quarter. His near flawless blocking in this game was a major reason the Raiders running backs had 205 yards rushing on 33 carries (6.2 yards per carry) with two touchdowns on the ground.

Michael Crabtree

Once he got his obligatory easy drop out of the way, he had a great game. That drop came on the first third down of the game for the Raiders to kill their opening drive. The next chance Crabtree had on third down, he held on for a 15-yard reception to the 2-yard-line. Carr went back to him two plays later on third and goal and Vontae Davis interfered with him to give the Raiders a first and goal at the one. They scored two plays later.

Next drive, next third down and Carr was looking for Crabtree again. This time Crabtree just got his defender turned around and Carr dropped it right into Crabtree’s hands who caught it without breaking stride for a 35-yard gain. From there, the Raiders went with the ground attack and drove for another touchdown.

The second quarter it was more of the same. First third down went to Crabtree for and 11-yard first down catch and again they finished it off on the ground for a touchdown. Crabtree would make one more third down conversion before the day was done, finishing with a team leading 90 yards receiving on 7 catches.

Andre Holmes

He’s kind of become a swiss army knife player for the Raiders. He excels on in coverage on special teams and as a blocker, while making some plays as a receiver now and then as well. His first play of the game was a block on a short pass to Jalen Richard that went for 8 yards. That was early in the Raiders first scoring drive. We can call it a scoring drive because Andre Holmes’ impressive catch on a fade with a defender draped all over him.

The first drive of the third quarter, Holmes’ blocking was on display, helping to spring DeAndre Washington for his first two runs of 9 and 10 yards. Almost as a reward for his dirty work, Carr found Holmes open in a soft spot in the zone for a 22-yard catch. They scored on the next play.

On the very next possession, Holmes’ had perhaps his best block of the game, coming in from the right side to lay a seal block that sprung Washington for his second 22-yard touchdown run of the game to give the Raiders a commanding 33-7 lead midway through the third quarter.

Holmes’ final contribution was a 10-yard catch along the right sideline in third and six with the Raiders needing to keep drives going to run clock. It was his 3rd catch of the day for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Reggie Nelson

Late in the first half, with the Raiders up 13-7, the Colts were in scoring position at the Oakland 29-yard-line and looking for more. Luck went for the end zone on second down and Nelson was there to leap in the air and pick it off for a touchback.

Not only did it keep the Colts from scoring, but it gave the Raiders the ball with 1:13 left in the half. Plenty of time for them to drive for a touchdown of their own. That interception was at least a 9-point swing, and potentially a 13-point swing. It also gave Nelson his 5th interception of the season, kicking in a $250K incentive bonus in his contract.

Nelson didn’t give up a catch in the game, while finishing with 3 tackles, 1 interception, and one pass defended.

Bruce Irvin

That interception by Nelson was thanks in part to a hit Irvin laid on Andrew Luck. Irvin was on a mission to get closer to his goal of 10.0 sacks on the season. While he wasn’t able to get a sack in the game, he laid three hits on Luck, narrowly missing the sack each time due to Luck’s quick release.

Honorable Mention

Amari Cooper – Had two big catches in this game. Both were tough catches in double coverage. The first went for 34 yards on the Raiders final drive of the first half. The second was the final first down needed to seal the win.

Matt McGloin – He was given two drives late in the game. On both drives, he converted a third down through the air to keep the clock running. The last one he saw the defender had his back turned and McGloin placed the pass up high where Cooper went up to get it and end the game with a first down at the 2:00 mark with the Colts out of timeouts.

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