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Raiders week 7 Report Card vs Chiefs

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Handing out grades for the Raiders 31-30 win over the Chiefs Thursday night.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a devastating last second loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Oakland Raiders came into week 7 in desperation mode. Their season quickly slipping away on a stale and predictable offense. The 2-4 Raiders were losing ground in the AFC West and watching their season circle the drain, could they pull it off?

In an exciting and emphatic way, yes. In what can only be described as the most entertaining game of the entire NFL season the Raiders pulled off a 31-30 upset of the 5-1 Chiefs considered to be the top team in the NFL. Derek Carr channeled the Glove of Destiny and brought home the W.

Let’s take a look at how each unit graded out.

Passing Offense

Derek Carr was at his best on a night when he needed every ounce of brilliance he could muster. His final line of the night 29 of 52 for 417 yards and 3 TD’s and a QB rating of 101.2. We finally got to see the QB and passing offense we have been waiting for since week 3.

The Raiders needed a win in the biggest way and Carr and the passing offense put the team on their back and delivered. Amari Cooper and Jared Cook couldn’t be covered or contained. Cooper finally exploded for 11 catches 210 yards and 2 TD’s, while Cook posted 6 catches for 107 yards.

The Raiders again had an issue with drops with both Seth Roberts and Amari Cooper dropping a couple big gains. This time however the Raiders passing offense was able to overcome those mistakes and delivered a much needed win against the division leading Chiefs. This was a must win game and the passing offense delivered time and again, as Carr and Company played out of their minds.

Grade: A-

This would be an easy A or even A+, but those pesky drops just keep biting the Raiders. Roberts just didn’t seem to be able to hang on to the ball and it almost cost them, on 2nd and 21 he dropped what would be an 18 yard gain. Can’t do that in the NFL and expect to win consistently, he has to make those plays.

Amari Cooper also had a couple drops but his overall night was absolutely spectacular and Crabtree was his usual game closing self. Seriously is it time to start calling Michael Crabtree “The Closer”? The guy is just absolutely clutch at the end of games and generally anytime Carr needs a big 1st down.

Run Offense

So I will just start this one off by saying Marshawn Lynch was ejected early in a game where he could have made a real difference. This left Oakland with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington both mostly the entirety of the game. The rush numbers didn’t suffer greatly but the impact of losing Lynch was felt in the ground game.

Totaling 88 yards on 21 carries for an average of 4.2 yards per game that was just good enough to pick up the win. The run game kept the defense honest and it opened up the passing game. Yards were tough to come by in this game on the ground as the Chiefs were dead set on not being embarrassed like they were against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 6.

While the Raiders run game did not put the team on their back they did contribute. The most impressive of which was a TD by Washington who seemed to will himself in to the end zone. He should have been tackled multiple times but he just flat out wanted it more than the 21 other players on the field and he would not be denied.

Grade: C+

The Raiders only gained 88 yards and 15 of those yards were from a Derek Carr scramble. That means the Raiders running backs only contributed 73 yards to the win on 20 carries, a 3.65 per carry average. That’s not ideal but in this game with the passing offense so efficient it was enough for a win.

Plain and simple Marshawn Lynch can’t get ejected the way he did. This was a huge game with the season in the balance and he lost his cool. The Raiders have to hope he isn’t going to be suspended for pushing an official but the likelihood of him not being suspended is abysmal.

Pass Defense

This was a rough game for the pass defense as Alex Smith has been on fire this season and this game was no different. To make matters worse already having Gareon Conley out with injury David Amerson hurt his foot in the 1st half and didn’t come back into the game. The results were Smith going 25 of 36 for 342 yards and 3 TD’s with a 127.3 rating.

That being said the pass defense came up huge when it had to on the last 2 Kansas City drives. The Raiders needed a stop and the defense delivered to give the ball back to the offense to allow it to win the game. You can’t draw it up any better than that and the hope is that they can build off this win.

The Raiders had trouble stopping Tyreek Hill as he totaled 6 catches for 125 yards and a TD. Hill’s lone touchdown was on a 64 yard bomb in which he burned cornerback David Amerson and Safety Reggie Nelson. Nelson had deep responsibilities and as usual couldn’t handle them and was burned deep.

Grade: D+

The only reason this grade is even a passing grade is because the passing defense came up huge at the end with back to back stops. Other than that they were picked apart all game by Smith as he found 9 different receivers and threw for 3 TD’s. The Raiders desperately need Obi Melifonwu and Conley back to strengthen the back end.

Enough is enough of watching Reggie Nelson not be able to handle deep responsibilities and come over just late or get burned completely. At what point do they finally start giving Shalom Luani some snaps? Instead they roll out Keith McGill who managed to tip a sure interception to the receiver for a 63 yard TD.

The Raiders again managed only 1 sack but had pressure throughout the game. The lone sack was credited to underrated Denico Autry and game wrecker Khalil Mack. Both applied pressure often throughout the game, Autry had a drive saving roughing call but it was an iffy call.

#FreeLuani

Run Defense

The run defense was very good giving up 94 yards on 23 carries for a 4.1 yards per carry average. However 34 of those yards came on 1 run from Hunt, the rest were hard earned as that changes the stat line to 60 yards on 22 carries for a 2.72 yards per carry average. Their ability to shut down the run made the Chiefs 1 dimensional and at the end of the game it paid off with back to back stops.

Justin Ellis doesn’t get enough credit but he will here, the man flat out does the dirty work in the middle. In this game and most this season he has been spectacular, Ellis has really become a force in the middle. In this game alone he had 3 run stops and held the middle and gave up nothing.

Ellis and the rest of the defensive line with the help of newcomer Navarro Bowman shut down the run game. Bowman’s impact was impressive considering he was just signed on Monday and didn’t even know the whole playbook. He appears to be a fantastic fit for the defense and should really help the defense shut down the run while developing the guys like Nicholas Morrow iii, Marquel Lee and Cory James.

Grade: A+

The Raiders run defense got a huge shot in the arm in the form of one Navarro Bowman. The guy flat out played great ball and showed he was another great mid-season signing for GM Reggie McKenzie. The Raiders held Kareem Hunt to 87 yards, only the 2nd time all season he has been held to less than 100 yards on the ground.

Coming into the game stopping Hunt was key to winning this game and the Raiders did that for the most part. Most of his 87 yards came on 2 carries, 1 for 9 yards and 1 for 34. If you take away those the Raiders held him to just 54 yards on 16 carries, that’s getting it done.

Special Teams

Marquette King came out and let it be known on the national stage he is the top punter in the league once again. King was an absolute weapon with both his punting and on 1 play his tackling. I know what you are thinking “man he tackled someone must have been a huge return,” nope.

Hill was returning the punt weaving in and out of the Raiders special teams when after only 13 yards King flew in and destroyed him. He may or may not have been wearing a cape but he made an amazing play. It was a huge play at a time when it looked like Hill might break a big return and change momentum.

Giorgio Tavecchio on the other hand had a rough go of it as he went only 1 of 3 on his field goal attempts. He had 1 blocked and just missed another, he looked to be shaken but was able to get it together enough for the game winning extra point. Tavecchio is an easy guy to like but he will need to get his confidence back over the break, the Raiders will need him the rest of the way.

Grade: B-

The grade suffered in large part due to Tavecchio’s rough day kicking as the rest of the unit was solid. Coverage units for the most part were solid, return units didn’t do much and that also helped contribute to a lower grade. Including a decision by Cordarelle Patterson to bring a kick out of the end zone only to be tackled at the 19.

Jalen Richard had a shot at a big return but for some reason after making 3 guys missed nobody else decided to block. It was one of those plays where you wonder if anyone was tasked with blocking. The Raiders have to clean up the blocking schemes on returns to allow their stars to shine.

Coaching

After having their lunch money taken for 4 straight weeks the coaching staff finally seems to have gotten it together. Jack Del Rio had his units ready for this game despite playing most of the game without 2 of their top 3 corners, starting RT and both starting ILB’s. Beating the top team in the league with those deficiencies is impressive no matter how you look at it.

Ken Norton Jr. continues to baffle with his personnel decisions, he seems to refuse to acknowledge that Nelson’s lost a step. He has an absolute stud in Shalom Luani but refuses to let the kid play and it makes zero sense. Nelson get’s torched every game but Norton can’t seem to figure out that he should stop leaving him as the single high safety.

Todd Downing did a much better job but there were still some issues as WR’s were often seen occupying the same space. On one play Patterson and Cooper ran the exact same route, on the same side just at different depths, the play went as you would expect. Still he had the passing offense pushing the ball downfield and we finally got to see Carr light it up again.

Grade: B-

KNJ mostly brought this grade down as he just doesn’t seem to be an NFL level coordinator. He seems to refuse to move on from guys that are clearly done (Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson) while young talented players can’t get on the field. The Raiders still have yet to record an Interception and yet KNJ has yet to make any real changes not forced by injury.

Downing called a solid game and showed he can be a good coordinator but needs some help. He is young and doesn’t have experience, the Raiders should have provided him with some help this off-season and didn’t. He didn’t use Patterson at all this game as a RB which was curious as he’s been fantastic throughout this season but that’s nitpicking.