Usually the second preseason has the first team play a bit more than the first preseason game. Something like a quarter or a few drives. But not this year. This year the Raiders were facing the same team they will face in the season opener, so neither team brought out the good china for the occasion.
Even for the first preseason game we saw the first team offense and defense for a series. This game was a mass sit out with 28 players not dressing. The plus side is we got a longer look at some of the players fighting for a roster spot and for playing time.
The result was some ugly, ugly football. The Raiders were scoreless at the half with just one first down with two turnovers. They managed to make a game of it late, but would end up losing 19-15.
Despite to overall struggles to get out of their own way, there were actually quite a few solid performances. As usual, we start with those.
Chris Warren III
Two preseason games, two Top Baller spots. Warren was the workhorse back in this game, seeing 85% of the snaps and every carry. He was in the game from the first play to the last with only Jalen Richard seeing some time as a target out of the backfield. I guess they wanted to see if he could have a repeat performance of his preseason opener. He did that and kicked it up a notch.
Most of Warren’s solid work came in the second half. Which makes sense because 13 of his 18 carries in the game happened in the second half. One drive in particular, the offense, after failing to get much of anything through the air all day, leaned on Warren to move down the field. He delivered with six runs for 41 yards and the touchdown to finish it off – his first as a pro.
The following drive, he had a 13-yard run, 23 yards off a pitch play, and a 5-yard run to set the Raiders up for a 31-yard field goal. That’s another 41 yards and another score. The last 5-yard run put him over 100 yards on the day (104). He finished with 110 yards on 18 carries (6.1 ypc) and a touchdown. His only flaw was a couple times not picking up the blitz correctly.
Butler quietly led the team in receiving with three catches for 35 yards. That tied with Jalen Richard who picked up most of those yards on a 29-yard catch in which Butler laid the key block. Most of Butler’s yards came on one play as well. It was a catch that went for 24 yards to help set up the Raiders’ first touchdown of the game. He added a block on a 5-yard run and got downfield on the final punt of the game, yielding a block in the back penalty that had the Rams starting their final possession backed up against their own goal line.
The second-year linebacker is stacking up solid performances. In just 22 snaps, he put up 5 tackles (4 solo) which led the team at the half. He filled his gap on a run stuff and teamed up for another on the next play to send the Rams on a three-and-out on their second series.
Lee added two more run stuff on the Rams fourth series, one for a loss. He also did his part on another run to fill his gap and force the runner to find another opening. His tackle for loss was on third and goal at the one-yard-line all the way out left. That was his last series of the game.
While Chris Warren III gets all the headlines for his long runs, it was blocking by guys like Aboushi opening up some sizable holes for him all day. Aboushi was a lead blocker on Warren runs of 5, 9, 8, 9, and his 3-yard touchdown run. For those unfamiliar, Aboushi is a 6-5, 315-pound journeyman who started 8 games last season in Seattle for Tom Cable. He was signed on the second day of Raiders training camp.
Two of the first three plays for the Raiders defense were made by Melvin. He had tight coverage to force an incompletion on the first play, then on third and ten, made the tackle on a five-yard catch to force a three-and-out. He ended the next series as well with a pass defended on third and 7 for another three-and-out. He didn’t give up a catch on the long third drive and that was his day.
Tank Carradine, Treyvon Hester
Hard to say how much either provides form a pass rushing standpoint, but as a run stopper, they were superb. The second play of the second series saw Hester hold his spot to allow the linebacker to make the stop for a 2-yard gain.
On first and goal from the 5-yard-line on the Rams fourth drive, Hester and Carradine teamed up to make the stop for a two-yard gain. The next play, Hester made the stop for a 2-yard gain. Then on third and goal from the one, Carradine chased the QB down the line to cut of the edge so Lee could make the tackle for a loss of one.
Hester would add two more run stuffs in the game while Carradine would make a tackle on a QB scramble on third down short of the sticks.
The undrafted rookie had a rough first preseason game, but he rebounding in this one and finished leading the team with 6 tackles (3 solo). He made the tackle on three of the first six plays in the second quarter with a run stuff for two yards, a tackle in a short catch, and another tackle on a catch to stop it at four yards on third and seven. He had two more run stops in the third quarter, one on third down to force a punt. And in the fourth quarter he teamed up for a run stuff for no gain.
Calhoun was making his home in the Rams backfield. He would have been higher on this list if it weren’t for a couple costly stupid penalties. The first one was the first time we heard his name. It was on third and two and he hit the quarterback after the throw and was flagged for roughing the passer. That gave the Rams a fresh set of downs.
For Calhoun’s part, he atoned for his mistake in those fresh downs, rushing around the edge to force the QB to step into a sack by Maurice Hurst. Then on third and 18, he hit the QB as he dumped the ball off for a short gain. The next series he had a tackle for a loss of three to help hold the Rams at a field goal.
Calhoun would end his day as it began – with a big play and a costly penalty. With the Rams backed against their own goal line, he broke through the line to make a tackle for a loss of three. It was looking like they would have to punt it away out of their own end zone and give the Raiders one more shot at pulling out the win. That was snatched from them when Calhoun yanked on the running back’s facemask. The Rams were then able to kneel out the clock.
Just like Calhoun, Hamilton had a great day that was marred by a stupid penalty. His first potentially big play was on 4th and goal from the one-yard-line. He came up to put a helmet on the ball and knock it out of John Kelly’s arms for a fumble. Unfortunately, Kelly got a favorable bounce and recovered it in the end zone to score anyway. It could have gone the other way, though, and Hamilton did his part to make that happen.
The next time the Rams were down and goal to go, Hamilton was again a thorn in John Kelly’s side. Kelly got the ball and tried the left side only to have Hamilton string him out all the way down the line, not giving an inch all the way out of bounds.
Early in the third quarter came Hamilton’s stupid penalty. He made the stop on a short catch and then as the whistle blew to stop the play, he lifted up the receiver belly to back and slammed him to the turf. The penalty gave the Rams a first down well inside Oakland territory. Hamilton did his best to atone for it, having a pass defended followed by tight coverage for an incompletion on third and 13 that forced a field goal.
He had the one takeaway in the game for the Raiders. The Raiders had just pulled to withing seven points and on the first play of the next drive, Cowser dropped back, read the QB’s eyes, and had perfect position to pick off his pass. He returned it 15 yards and set the Raiders up at the LA 21-yard line. They scored a few plays later and opted to go for the lead, but the 2-point conversion failed and they remained down 16-15.
Hurst’s first play was a run stop on third and goal from the 11-yard-line that ended the Rams drive at the end of the first half and forced them to settle for a field goal. His day was done at that point after 19 snaps.
On the first drive of the third quarter, Hurst had his first sack as a Raider. Much like his draft classmate PJ Hall did last week, he got pressure up the middle and when pressure came from the outside, he was there to make the sack. That’s what the Raiders want from the two of them.
Gareon Conley – played nine snaps and didn’t give up a catch.
Nicholas Morrow – Was in on quite a few tackles, finishing 3rd on the team with 4 combined (2 solo).
Jylan Ware – Laid key blocks on Warren runs of 13, 23, and 5 yards on the Raiders’ first two scoring drives. Also didn’t give up any pressures.
Griff Whalen – Made the Raiders only touchdown reception, reaching back with one hand to make the catch at the goal line to put the Raiders within one in the fourth quarter.