Getting out to a fast start is key to winning football games. More important than having a good start however is having a great finish. The Raiders did just that across the pond and gutted out a win, requiring late game heroics to seal the victory.
The offense performed remarkably well against a Bears team that came into the match allowing less than 12 points a game. The offensive line was opening holes for the run game. The big guys up front also handled their business in pass protection, keeping Carr relatively clean all game.
After a big momentum swing in the 3rd quarter that saw the Raiders turn the ball over twice and lose the lead. Behind 4 points in the 4th quarter, the pressure was on the offense to redeem themselves. After a fake punt to get a first down on 4th and 1, the Raiders drove the length of the field for a touchdown to reclaim the lead. Rookies on offense made the biggest plays on this drive. Take a look at their performance.
Rookie RB Josh Jacobs was the man of the match for his work on the pitch in the Tottenham Stadium. He took full advantage of strong run blocking and ground out 123 yards on the ground for his first 100 yard rushing performance. This run on 1st down directly after the successful 4th down conversion set the tone for what would be a game winning drive.
The tight end group needed to have a strong game with several key wide receivers missing time. Darren Waller was the main focus for the Bears defense allowing for a much needed 3rd down reception for the rookie TE Foster Moreau. Waller in motion goes right and takes several defenders with him, meanwhile Moreau sneaks the opposite direction on this perfectly timed pass play.
Then there was rookie WR Hunter Renfrow making a first down catch in a crucial moment. Carr was 0 for 5 targeting the rookie before this play. Thankfully Renfrow had a short memory and made his only catch when it mattered the most. The former Clemson WR likely will never blow up the stat column in the NFL. His penchant however for being a clutch player will net positive plays for this offense as long as he’s a Raider.
Finally the touchdown came. Josh Jacobs does another Marcus Allen impression by jumping over the pile. Also check out un-drafted rookie fullback Alec Ingold lay a flying block connecting with two linebackers mid-air and preventing them from being able to even attempt a stop on Jacobs. The rookie fullback has played lights out and seems to get better every week.
Gruden and Mayock’s attention to the type of player they wanted to add to the Raiders has gained early positive results. Rookies playing extended minutes and being asked to contribute against play-off teams usually are the reason for a loss not a win. These rookies never let the game get too big for them and made the plays that were there for them to make.
Josh Jacobs is the first 100 yard rusher against the Bears in almost a year. The last player to do it was Saquon Barkley. Let that marinate.
Foster Moreau led the team in receiving yards in week 5. The pairing of Waller and Moreau at tight-end gives the Raiders offense a potentially dangerous one-two punch at the position. Both players have good size and can run block well enough to help the Raiders rush for over 134 yards per game, good for 8th in the NFL. But its their ability as receivers that creates mismatches for opposing defenses. Defensive coordinators game-planning against the Raiders will face a dilemma when scheming for two TE sets.
The above sequence of plays led to Derek Carr’s 17th career 4th quarter comeback. Carr is currently 11th among active NFL quarterbacks in this statistic.