Kolton Miller, Kelechi Osemele
Top Ballers were the three offensive linemen from center right. The opposite end – both of the line and the spectrum – were these two. Miller at left tackle and Osemele at left guard.
The second drive for the Raiders ended with a three-and-out when the Cardinals ran a stunt on Miller and Osemele and both of them were beaten. Carr tried escaping left only to see Miller’s man bearing down on him, so he went right to step up into the pocket only to have Osemele’s man sack him for an 8-yard loss.
The next possession Miller gave up a run stuff and it ended with another three-and-out. The following possession, Miller gave up a sack leading to the third straight punt off a three-and-out for the Raiders. That was Miller’s 11th sack allowed this season.
A scoring drive would tie the game at 14-14, but the next series would again end in a three-and-out and again it was Miller who helped cause it by giving up a pressure that resulted in an off target incompletion on third down.
To begin the third quarter, the Raiders would go on two consecutive scoring drives. Both were for field goals, but the second one should have been a touchdown. They converted on third and one and Miller would have his ankle rolled up on and leave the game for one play. The next play they lined up in first and goal from the 2-yard-line only to have Osemele false start, backing them up to the 7-yard-line. Miller was back in the game two plays later, and on third and goal from the 2-yard-line, he was destroyed to give up a tackle for a loss of one and the promising drive would end in a chip shot field goal.
The next drive, it was Osemele who would give up the tackle for loss of two yards on first down and two plays later the drive was over.
The Cardinals came into this game having given up 18 sacks in the past four games. Just so you know, that’s a lot. Add that they were without left tackle DJ Humphries who was being replaced by a 7th round rookie making his first ever start and the Cardinals were ripe for the picking. The result was one sack and it didn’t come from the outside pass rushers.
Key played 48 snaps (89%) in the game to lead all Raiders defensive linemen. And he didn’t record a single statistic.
His best chance to make something happen came on third and five late in the first quarter. It was his play to make. He missed the tackle and it went for a 59-yard touchdown.
It nearly happened again on what could have been the game-ending play. On third and 23 Key would miss the tackle on David Johnson and he went 57 yards for the score. Key was bailed out, however, because the Cardinals were flagged for holding downfield and it came back.
Nick Nelson, Daryl Worley
The Raiders’ 7-0 lead didn’t last long. The Cardinals answered on their next possession. It was Nelson who thought he was getting help outside. He didn’t. Marcus Gilchrist was guarding deep middle so when Nelson took the post on Larry Fitzgerald, he lost track of him up the seam to give up the 18-yard touchdown.
That tie turned into a deficit on the Cardinals’ next possession. And of course, it was one of those explosive plays the Raiders defense is known to give up. Rosen saw an overloaded right side, so he threw into the left flat. Both Nelson and Worley were blocked as Christian Kirk scooted 59 yards for the touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, it happened again. It was a run this time, but the result was the same. Nelson and Worley were unable to make a play on it and it went for 53 yards to the Oakland 17-yard-line. Karl Joseph kept it from being a touchdown run and it looked like it might be a 4-point play, but on third and ten, Worley gave up a 12-yard catch to put them in first and goal from the five. Rosen threw a perfect pass to Fitzgerald with Rashaan Melvin in tight coverage for the score. That would give the Cardinals a 21-20 lead with five minutes remaining.