For the first time in a long time, I get to do a Winners-Losers article after a Raider win. What a game this was, with the Raiders clawing back from an eight-point deficit to force overtime and then win on a field goal. The Raiders did a lot right in this game, but some other things went awry.
The Browns played a tremendous game, and are legitimate as a contender in their division. Their fans will complain about the refs in this game, and I will roll my eyes as I watch a loop of the Tuck Rule, Immaculate Reception, and Maurice Hurst’s roughing the passer from last week.
1) Derek Carr
In the fourth quarter, I was all set to feature Carr as the top Loser. He was inefficient, erratic and detrimental to the team. But when the chips were down and the Raiders needed leadership, Carr provided it. Carr had one of his best days in a Raider uniform, going 45/58 for 437 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, only one of which was his fault.
The Raiders scored an astounding 31 points after halftime, and most of that was on the arm of Carr. The Raiders trailed at the half, but Carr led them back, including driving for a touchdown and two-point conversion with under two minutes in the game. For a guy who leads the NFL with seven interceptions, he sure knows how to redeem himself. Carr’s receivers also had big days, with both Amari Cooper and Jared Cook going over 100 yards. So much for one guy at a time having a big game. They are all winners today, and so are we, Raider Nation.
2) Nick Chubb
Three carries, 105 yards, two touchdowns. Those are Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl numbers. It’s true that the Raiders tackled poorly and were out of position on Chubb’s touchdown runs, but even so, Chubb showed elusiveness, strength and speed. He shared a backfield with Sony Michel at Georgia, but I always felt Chubb was the better runner. The Browns got a steal in the second round in Chubb.
3) Marshawn Lynch
Beast Mode was in full effect today, and rushed for 130 yards on 20 carries for a 6.5 YPC average. He didn’t score a touchdown, but he consistently got into the open field on cutbacks and rumbled for big gains. He was stuffed at the line plenty of times but the Raiders stuck with him, and he should have had way more yards than he did as the refs blew the whistle early on a potentially long run early in the game.
4) Baker Mayfield
Mayfield was strong in his first pro start against a clearly desperate team, and he showed off his elusiveness and big arm. He was sacked twice but wriggled out of several more with his balance and strength. He didn’t show off his legs much, rushing four times for 10 yards, but he passed for 295 yards and two scores with two picks. The first one was a pick-six to Gareon Conley as Antonio Callaway fell down on his route due to a slippery field, and the last was a prayer at the end of the game. He also fumbled a snap, but let’s be real here. Tyrod Taylor or any other Browns quarterback of the last two decades would have lost this game by 20 points. With Mayfield, the Browns were in it until the very end. He will win plenty of games this season and beyond.
1) Matt McCrane
Missing two field goals is not the way to make your first start for a new team. McCrane knuckled one off the dirt in the first half and missed one in overtime, but he did make the game-winner at the very end. Still, will the Raiders stick with someone who was 3/5 on field goals and couldn’t put a kickoff in the end zone consistently? He might have cost Oakland the game had it gone the other way.
2) Joe Schobert
If you just look at the box score, you’d think Schobert had a great game. He led the Browns with 14 tackles and had a sack. But if you watched the game, you’d see he was matched up in coverage with Jared Cook, and he was a total failure in that respect as Cook went for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Cook is a tough matchup for any linebacker, but Schobert was absolutely lost in coverage today and it really hurt Cleveland.
3) Raiders rush defense
The Raiders allowed 208 yards on the ground today, which normally will mean a loss. Over a hundred of those yards came on Nick Chubb runs, featuring some of the worst tackling I’ve seen outside of a Pop Warner game. The Raiders did hold Carlos Hyde to a 3.7 YPC average, but it was the big plays they allowed which gave Cleveland hope in the game.
4) Raiders offensive line
The Browns managed to sack Derek Carr three times, including some in key situations, and logged 10 quarterback hits. Donald Penn went out with injury, leaving Brandon Parker and Kolton Miller to deal with Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah. However, most of the pressure on Carr came from up the middle, and Larry Ogjunobi had two of those quarterback hits. Cleveland’s line is no joke, and even though Miller did alright keeping Myles Garrett in check, the line as a whole didn’t do a good job in either run blocking or pass protection. Who knows how long Penn will be out, so hopefully Parker is ready to go next game.