There’s a country song that says “I’m much too young to feel this damn old”. That’s kinda how I feel about this season. I’m much too tired for it to only be at the season’s halfway point. I have a feeling I’m not alone in that. The difference is that I have to look at a game like this and try to make sense of it. It’s exhausting, to be perfectly honest.
Just a week ago, we saw the offensive line have their best game and Derek Carr play probably his best game of the season as well. But as usual, the defense gave it away.
This game saw the offense take a nosedive, in part because the offensive line was in shambles. Kolton Miller got hurt on the first drive and everything went to shit. And the defense did what it has all season – give up everything.
Plain and simple, they just have very little talent on the defense. They allowed undrafted Nick Mullens making his first NFL appearance throw for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns and the running backs go for 143 yards and one touchdown on the ground. This one was over midway through the third quarter. That has been the story in three of the Raiders last four games.
He seemed to be the only player on the Raiders who was outplaying the man across from him consistently. Last week he was second on the team with 9 combined tackles. That’s impressive for any position, but outstanding for a nose tackle. This game he was tied for second with 4 combined tackles and two tackles for loss.
Stops were hard to come by in this game. Late in the first quarter, Frostee Rucker got a stop on a 1-yard run because Hankins got in the backfield to disrupt it. The 49ers would still get to the goal line. Kyle Wilber missed a tackle that would have stopped them on third and one, but on first and goal, Hankins got in the backfield again and didn’t miss his tackle for a 2-yard loss.
In the second quarter, Tahir Whitehead made a run stop in part because Hankins was in his gap. The Raiders actually stopped that drive for a punt. The only punt of the first half. Hankins might seem like an unlikely Top Baller, but he deserves it. If only for his performance over the past two weeks while the rest of the defense has been a travesty.
Rodney Hudson – Steady presence on the offensive line. Literally the only one this week.
Jalen Richard – Led the team in receiving with 4 catches on 4 targets for 45 yards. He had 8 catches on 8 targets for 50 yards last week. Raiders need a reliable outlet out of the backfield and he’s it.