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Raiders week 4 Ballers & Busters vs Broncos

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Headline triple alliteration not intentional.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

So much for the real Raiders standing up this week. They brought their woes with them from Washington all the way to the Wockies. Sowwy. I mean sorry. Anyway, it was another ugly night for this once elite team.

The funny thing is, even with all the troubles they had, they were still in the game on the final drive with a chance to pull out the win. That was thanks to the play of the defense which sacked Trevor Siemian 4 times and allowed just 31 yards through the air in the second half.

The run game was another story, with the Broncos putting up 71 yards in the first half and 72 in the second half which helped them to drive for a touchdown and a field goal in the first half and go on three drives into scoring range in the second half, adding two more field goals.

Derek Carr was knocked out in the third quarter and EJ Manuel came in, but the Raiders were only able to score a field goal to pull it to a one score game and their hopes fell short with an interception in the final seconds to lose 16-10.


Khalil Mack

Something about playing n Denver gets this already elite pass rusher on even another level. He made the stop on the first third down of the game. Then the first play of the second drive, he made a tackle for loss on a run. A few plays later, he made another run stop and on third down he got pressure to hit Trevor Siemian just as he threw. Unfortunately it was still completed for 18 yards and the Broncos finished off the drive for their only TD of the game.

Those first two series sent the message he was not going to be stopped so they better send help to keep him out of the backfield.

Mack ended another series in the second quarter with pressure to force a throw short of the first down marker. The Raiders would get the ball back and go on a 99-yard touchdown drive. To ensure the Broncos couldn’t add to their 3-point lead, Mack put another hit on Siemian on first down. They would lose 9 yards on the last three plays on a false start, incompletion and a sack by Bruce Irvin.

The Broncos’ first drive of the third quarter had them in scoring position off a 40-yard run. The next play, Mack would bull rush right through former Raider Menelik Watson for the sack. Two plays later, Mack would end the drive with tackle on Siemian on a scramble short of the line to gain. They would add a field goal.

The next series, Watson left the game with an injury and was replaced by Donald Stephenson. So Mack drove around him to sack Siemian.

The final three series for the Broncos, they didn’t score. Mack laid a hit on Siemian on third 14, had a run stuff, and was held on third and 8. He finished with crazy numbers — 2.0 sacks, 7 pressures, 4 QB hits, 3 run stops, 3 tackles for loss, and was second on the team with 7 combined tackles (all solo). Wowza.

Cory James

Leading the team in tackles was James with 10 (also all solo). He made the first tackle of the game on a run stuff for no gain. His one big mistake came on the second series, when he gave up a 29-yard catch to tight end AJ Derby. But he made up for that with the rest of his day.

He defended a pass on third and 5 to begin the second quarter. He also ended the Broncos’ first half with pressure to keep Trevor Siemian from scrambling so Bruce Irvin could make the sack. Made three run stops, including a tackle for loss, and twice late in the game made the tackle on third down catches short of the sticks, the last one on the Broncos’ final series to give the Raiders the ball back with 4:16 left and a chance to win it. That means he had the Raiders first and last tackles of the game.

Mario Edwards Jr

We continue with the front seven which was doing their best to prop up the Raiders. Edwards upended the Broncos’ first possession when blew through his blocker to sack Siemian for a 10-yard loss.

A big pass interference penalty on Reggie Nelson was worth 30 yards, putting the Broncos in first and goal at the 9-yard-line. Edwards stuffed a run for three yards and two plays later got pressure to force Siemian to throw the ball away and settle for a field goal. Late in the first half, he got another pressure to force an incompletion and help keep the Broncos from scoring again in the first half.

Then with the Broncos getting the ball back late in the fourth quarter, Edwards stuffed a run to set up third and 8. They would force a three-and-out and get the ball back with time to make a comeback.

TJ Carrie, Dexter McDonald

Carrie gave up just one catch in the game for 10 yards while playing every single snap. And McDonald replaced David Amerson in the game and gave up one catch for one yard. None of the Broncos TD drive went through either of them. On that drive Carrie helped out with a tackle for loss and had tight coverage to force an incompletion on a deep ball for DeMaryius Thomas up the right sideline.

It was at the end of that drive that Amerson left with a concussion. The next Broncos possession, McDonald made the tackle on a 1-yard catch at the 5-yard line to help hold them to a field goal. They would test McDonald again late in the first half and he kept tight coverage to force an incompletion.

Carrie’s catch for ten yards came on third and 11. He made the tackle, which means his catch surrendered was actually was a stop to kill a drive. They tried him one more time on their final series and he knocked it down to begin the final three-and-out.

Johnny Holton

This is one of those rare occasions where a player is a Baller based on one play. Down 10-0 late in the first half, Holton weaved through defenders and the track star got behind the Broncos’ defense. Derek Carr saw that he was going to be blowing past the secondary and launched it for him. He caught it in stride and went 64 yard for his first career touchdown.

Ken Norton Jr, John Pagano

I normally only include the head coach and coordinators in Ballers & Busters, but the Raiders’ adding Pagano with an invented title made me change things up. This duo seems to be working out pretty well. The team is looking much more disciplined and Pagano’s influence on the secondary is undeniable. The 31-yard second half is evidence of that. And the way the team is tackling and getting after the passer is impressive.

Honorable Mention

EJ Manuel — Came in and showed a lot of poise, driving the Raiders for a field goal that should have been a touchdown had Jared Cook not had a pass go right through his hands. Had he caught that, the final drive would have set up a potential a game-winning field goal.

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