What the Raiders accomplished Sunday in Indianapolis is something they should be proud of. They went on the road, fought through the loss of several key players and pulled out a hard fought team win over a pretty good Colts team.
It helped their cause greatly that they jumped out to a 14-0 lead early. It put the Colts on their heels and forced them to almost abandon the ground game, which is their strong suit, and take to the air, which is not their strong suit.
With just over two minutes left in the game and the Colts within a score, Harris read a pass out left from Jacoby Brissett, broke on it and picked it off. He snagged the pass in stride and returned it 30 yards for the score. The Colts would score again to bring it back to a one-score game, but it was too late. Harris also finished second on the team with 7 combined tackles (6 solo). He was everywhere.
The rookie standout had probably his best game of the season. The Colts just could not get ahold of him most of the game. He was breaking tackles left and right and center. His first run went for 12 yards and it put the Raiders in scoring position at the Colts 35-yard-line. A few plays later, he picked up six yards to put the Raiders in the red zone at the 18. They scored on the next play for an opening drive touchdown.
A fumbled exchange on a handoff was the one big hiccup for Jacobs, but he would make up for it. He led off the next drive, with an 8-yard run as the Raiders drove for their third touchdown of the day.
Jacobs did his most damage on the first drive of the third quarter. A 9-yard catch on the first catch was followed by a 10-yard run in which he broke what looked to be a sure tackle at the line. The next play he caught a short pass and broke more tackles on his way to a 20-yard pickup. Those 39 yards were a big part of the drive that ended in a field goal.
Late in the fourth quarter, he had runs of 16 yards and 8 yards to help the Raiders eat clock and tilt the field. And with a one-score game and just over a minute, the Raiders needed a first down to put the game away and Jacobs got them that on two runs.
Dude plays like his hair is on fire every snap. With the Raiders up 21-10 late in the first half, the Colts lined up in third and 20 from the Oakland 31. Brissett passed to Paris Campbell on the screen and he looked to have a real shot to pick it up. But here comes Crosby who chased him down and knocked the ball out. No Colts score, Raiders ball. Huge play.
The Colts would get the ball back with one more shot to score before the half. In 2nd and 18, Crosby put his hands up and batted down a Brissett pass. Ultimately the Colts would line up for a 57-yard field goal and the 46-year-old Adam Vinatieri would miss it wide left. No score for them before half and Crosby’s mits were all over it.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the Colts down 24-10 and firmly in four-down mode, Crosby broke into the backfield on third and 2 to stuff a run for no gain. They would pick it up on 4th and 2, but a few plays later, Crosby again got his hands up to bat down a pass at the line. The Colts would eventually drive for a touchown, but Crosby’s efforts made that no easy task.
Darren Waller, Foster Moreau
Lackluster wide receiving corps? No problem. These two stepped to the plate and handled their business. The first drive went for a touchdown. On that drive there were six completions and four of them went to Waller and Moreau, including the 18-yard touchdown which was a fantastic grab by Moreau.
The next possession the Raiders scored on one play. It was a 60-yard sweep for a touchdown by Trevor Davis and laying a key block was Waller.
The next scoring drive saw Moreau block for Jacobs on an 8-yard run to lead it off, then Waller catch passes for 17 yards and 15 yards. The final catch put the Raiders at the Colts’ 21 and they score two plays later.
Leading out the second half, Moreau had two key blocks on runs of 10 yards and 7 yards. The latter run put them at the Colts 14-yard-line and they finished the drive with a field goal to take a 24-10 lead. Waller finished with 53 yards on 7 catches while Moreau had 3 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown.
Hudson quietly goes about his business as one of the best centers in the league. But now and then he puts in some work that must not go unnoticed. Josh Jacobs and company were enjoying following Hudson’s blocks in this one. Not only was he keeping everything out of the backfield, he was paving the way on some big runs as well.
On the Raiders fourth possession of the game, Hudson road graded for Jalen Richard to pick up 13 yards and the Raiders went on the score their third touchdown.
Late in the game, he cleared the way for Josh Jacobs on a 16-yard run. And Hudson was pivotal on both of the final two runs by Jacobs that allowed the Raiders to run the clock out and end the game.
Gareon Conley, Daryl Worley, Karl Joseph
Erik Harris got his mention alone for his big interception, but these three also had a pretty good game.
Conley had tight coverage on an incompletion on the Colts first possession that ended in a three-and-out and Worley ended their second possession with tight coverage for another three-and-out.
The third possession, the Colts got the ball at the Raiders’ 22-yard-line off the fumbled hand off. In first and goal at the 2-yard-line, Joseph shot in on the blitz to make the tackle for a loss of one. Unfortunately, they scored on the next play on a pass out right to tight end Jack Doyle.
The next Colts possession ended with Joseph again shooting into the backfield to make a run stuff, this time for a loss of four. Then on third and goal at the 10-yard-line, Conley made the tackle on a 2-yard catch to force them to settle for a field goal.
The next drive, the Colts were once again threatening. It was first and ten from the 21 and Worley had tight coverage for force an incompletion. Two plays later, Maxx Crosby forced the fumble and Joseph recovered it and the Raiders took over.
The first possession of the second half for the Colts lasted five plays. Worley had a pass defended on the first play and Karl Joseph made the tackle on a pass well short of the first down on the last play.
All three of them finished with at least one pass defended in the game. Worley had three of them.
He touched the ball twice. The first time was his first as a Raiders and it went 60 yards for the score. The second, he came on the end around to get the direct snap, ran out left, found no room, completely reversed field and picked up 14 yards up the right sideline. Two touches for 74 yards is a hell of a way to start his Raiders career. Maybe at some point we’ll see if he can catch the ball.