After the performance the Raiders defense put up in the first two weeks, a lot of people were pressing the panic button. It was for that reason that their week three defensive performance was such a shocker.
Pro Football Focus took notice, mostly for the Raiders starting cornerbacks who had a tremendous game.
In particular David Amerson who was lights out; earning PFF’s top grade among NFL players this week. It’s recognition he deserves but isn’t getting elsewhere in the national media merely because he didn’t have an interception.
You won’t find a better cornerback performance that didn’t involve an interception than the show put on by David Amerson this week against Tennessee. Thrown at 11 times, Amerson allowed just four catches for 38 yards, and broke up five of the incompletions. In total, a third of Titans QB Marcus Mariota’s pass attempts were sent Amerson’s way, but Amerson yielded only 17.8 percent of the yardage while breaking up those passes. It’s hard to think it isn’t that long ago that he was run out of Washington due to his poor play there.
This isn’t out of nowhere for Amerson, who was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders’ porous D over the first two weeks. That included breaking up three passes against the Falcons in week two.
On the other end of that is Sean Smith who was torched in the first two weeks by Drew Brees and several Saints receivers and then by Julio Jones of the Falcons. Smith finally played up to what was expected when the team made him a top free agent pickup this offseason.
Smith landed as the fifth highest graded player from PFF this week.
Only a poor run grade keeps him away from the very top grades, as he was trucked a couple of times by blockers when trying to support against the run. In coverage, however, he caught as many passes (one) as he allowed Titans receivers to catch on seven targets, surrendering just 19 yards.
These are welcome props for Raiders defenders. On the other hand, Titans players DeMarco Murray and Taylor Lewan also received high grades. Murray I understand because he rushed for 114 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. As for Lewan, it shouldn’t matter what he did throughout the game; his bonehead penalty for torpedoing a group of tacklers after play was over should have him disqualified. The penalty cost the Titans a chance at tying the game.
See the entire PFF top ten here