It wasn’t pretty but nonetheless it’s still a win in the books for the Raiders. Rookie, Marcell Ateman playing in his first career game was the hero on the day making two catches in the game winning drive including a big 32 yard gain that moved the Raiders into field goal position.
It really is remarkable the Raiders were able to pull out a win despite all of the adversity they faced during the week with only one practice and the injuries to Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant.
Let’s take a look at the Raiders week 11 report card.
Aerial Attack: B
Had Derek Carr not led the offense down the field for a game winning field goal this grade would have been very different.
However, with a motley crue of receivers to work with Carr got the job done. His numbers won’t jump off the chart at you but he battled and never wavered in the games tensest moments.
Marcell Ateman and Saeed Blacknell both rookies made their NFL debuts, to go along with Seth Roberts and Brandon LaFell as the group of receivers. LaFell suffered what Jon Gruden described as a “bad” injury to his achilles.
Ateman and Carr connected on a crucial 32 yard gain on the games final drive. The gained moved the Raiders into Cardinals territory. Three plays later on 3rd and 10, Carr found Seth Roberts for a 20 yard gain setting up Daniel Carlson’s 35 yard field goal.
Ground Game: B+
The three headed attack of Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington were very effective gaining 152 yards on 33 attempts. The trio averaged 4.6 yards per attempt, although they did not find the end zone they provide the offense with some stability.
Richard led the way with 61 yards, followed by Martin 52, and Washington 39.
Offensive Line: B
Tough to grade the offensive line in this one because the run game was effective, but Carr was under some pressure throughout the game and sacked four times.
When you take a closer look at the sacks you will notice they aren’t all on the line. Derek Carr was guilty of holding the ball too long on at least two of the sacks.
Therefore, against a good pass rush, with a banged up line, line coach Tom Cable is happy with a B grade.
Defensive Line: C
It was just a so so game from the defensive line, after showing some signs of life last week versus the Chargers.
Mo Hurst collected his fourth sack of the season, but fellow rookie Arden Key missed a big tackle that allowed Christian Kirk to get loose for a 59 yard touchdown.
The defensive line held David Johnson in check for the most part, with the exception of a 53 yard run midway through the fourth quarter that put Johnson over 100 yards on the day.
It was nothing to write home about, keep in mind the defense wasn’t exactly facing an elite offense. If it were not for some poor clock management by the Cardinals and some late game heroics from Derek Carr it would have been another very bad loss for the defense.
It’s nice to see the young guys Morrow, Cabinda, and Lee getting work but this is a position that needs to be upgraded in the off season.
The interceptions by Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph help boost the grade, but they did still allow Josh Rosen to throw three touchdowns.
Marcus Gilchrist also get’s some flack for his lack of effort on Christian Kirk’s 59 yard touchdown. If you didn’t see it live do yourself a favor and go back and take a look, it embarrassing effort.
Rashaan Melvin was victim of a Larry Fitzgerlad touchdown to give the Cardinals a 21-20 lead. The play was less about Melvin’s coverage and more about Rosen placing a perfect ball to Fitzgerald.
Special Teams: A-
It’s all about Daniel Carlson. Carlson made all three of his field goal attempts including the game winner from 35 yards. Carlson made two other kicks from 49 and 21 yards.
Carlson has been a reliable kicker since joining the Raiders, if he continues to play well he could himself a long term roster spot.