After defeating the New Orleans Saints week one, the Oakland Raiders lost their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons 35-28. Here's is the report card for the offense.
Derek Carr looked great throwing for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns with zero turnovers. That last stat is key as he is giving the Silver and Black an opportunity to score points every drive. Carr has taken another step forward in his third year in the NFL and has given fans every reason to believe he truly is the Raiders quarterback of the future. When the Raiders needed their quarterback to make a play, he continually came through including a clutch touchdown near the end of the game on a 4th and 2 situation.
As for the receivers, they also had a nice showing with Amari Cooper leading the way with 5 receptions for 71 yards (although he had a 40-yard touchdown called back). As a unit, the group was effective and also made plays when the team needed them most. Michael Crabtree has come up big now two games in a row converting both a two-point conversion and a touchdown in clutch situations. Clive Walford had a bad drop at the end of the first half but made up for it with a great 31-yard touchdown.
The Raiders offensive line protected Carr the entire day giving up only one sack. Granted, the Falcons pass rush is nonexistent but it was still a quality performance by the big boys. The only downside of the group were penalties as they consistently proved to be drive killers.
The Raiders rushing attack has improved leaps and bounds from a season ago when they were one of the worst in the league. It has been fun watching the group as Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington, and Jalen Richard each saw equal touches. After a great performance week one, Richard struggled in this game but Washington and Murray both ran hard and averaged 7.1 and 7.7 yards per carry. Overall, the unit rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown.
A huge reason for the success on the ground came because of the offensive line. Kelechi Osemele is a monster and it seems he pancakes a defender every play. Gabe Jackson is also one mean man and the two make for an awesome team. Kudos to the offensive line, they are proving to be one of the best in the league.
When your team scores 28 points, it should win every week. While he was not perfect, Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave designed some great plays that got the ball to open Raiders receivers. He also balanced the passing attack nicely with the run game as the Falcons struggled to stop the Raiders offense all game. Then Head Coach Jack Del Rio gambled early in the 4th quarter on a 4th and goal at the 2 and it paid off with a huge touchdown to tie the game at 21-21. That gamble backfired on the Raiders next possession when they failed to convert on fourth and two at midfield to give the Falcons the ball with a short field. The decision to go for it at midfield with over seven minutes was very questionable and it resulted in the Falcons taking a two score lead.