It was quite easy to lose sight of any positive performances in this game, but they were there. A few of them, in fact.
As is often the case, the team is led by Mr Mack. He had the Raiders’ only sack in the game while also being a run stopping force. The first tackle of the day for the Raiders was a run stuff by Mack for two yards. Early in the second quarter is when he had his sack. It came on third and 3 to force a punt, ensuring it was still a one-score game.
Mack would have two more run stops on the next series, though it wouldn’t be enough to keep them from scoring their second touchdown.
To begin the third, Mack got pressure on Cousins again, this time hitting him as he threw and the pass was defended. Two plays later, he was held and still made the run stuff. The Raiders opted for the penalty yards instead of the stuff. He made the stuff again on the next play, though. But again, his efforts weren’t enough to keep Washington from scoring.
He would have two more run stuffs for little or no gain and finish tied for second on the team with 9 tackles (5 solo). As usual, he held up his end. But this time he didn’t get any help from the offense or the secondary.
The more we see from him, the worse off the Raiders tend to be. But at least when they do see him, he is doing his part to tip the field. King’s first three punts went for 56, 54, and 60 yards. None were returned. His fourth punt went 52 yards to the 10 and was returned just five yards. Even with the Raiders unable to move the ball, Washington’s average starting field position in the first half was the 19-yard line.
King’s biggest play came in the third quarter. He launched a high punt that was to be fielded at the 9-yard line, but return man Jamison Crowder muffed it and the Raiders got the ball back on the 18-yard line. That would lead to their only touchdown of the day.
One more punt that traveled 61 yards with a holding tacked on had Washington starting at their own 9-yard line. Two plays in, a forced fumble gave the Raiders the ball back at the 12, leading to their other score. So, basically King deserves some credit for both of the Raiders’ scores in the game. He would average 52.7 yards on seven punts with a 49.4 net average, 4 punts stopped inside the 20 and no touchbacks.
Both of the Raiders turnovers were recovered by Cowser. He was the man who got downfield to recover the muffed punt and he recovered for forced fumble as well. Talk about some heads up play from this second year former undrafted free agent.
While he was helping the Raiders to put points on the board, he made a couple plays to limit the points surrendered. On both of Washington’s field goals, it was Cowser who made the stop. The first was a tackle for loss on a shovel pass and the second was making the tackle on a scramble on third and 4 to stop it at two yards.
He made his share of mistakes, but they were dwarfed by the plays he made. First off, he by far led the team with 12 tackles (6 solo). His first tackle was a run stuff for no gain. His next was a tackle for loss on Washington’s second series to help lead to a three-and-out. The next series, he assisted on another tackle for loss and ended the series with tight coverage on Chris Thompson for an incompletion. I guess James had special powers to see Thompson. No one else seemed to.
He assisted with another tackle for loss in the second quarter along with a couple more tackles on short runs.
James’s biggest play was when he stuck his helmet on the ball carried by Samaje Perine, dislodging it. Cowser recovered it and the Raiders were able to get their second score out of it. His six run stops in the game led all linebacker in week three according to Pro Football Focus.
Speaking of leading in run stops, Irvin led all edge rushers in week three with 5 run stops. He wasn’t getting much in the way of pressure on the quarterback, but I would be remised to discount his work against the run because of it. One of those run stuffs was for a loss and he finished with a total of 6 tackles (3 solo)