Aerial Attack: A-
In the history of the Raiders report card there have not been many perfect A-plus grades given out. In Week 11, Derek Carr and his receivers came very close. If it were not for an errant pass to Darren Waller in the endzone (one play later Carr used his legs to score) and a third quarter interception, the unit would have received the evasive A-plus.
However, 25 of 29 passing for 292 yards and a touchdown isn’t too shabby. Carr connected with eight different receivers. Waller and Hunter Renfrow each had five grabs for 78 and 68 yards apiece, respectively. And Tyrell Williams added four receptions for 82 yards.
Foster Moreau was on the receiving end of Carr’s only touchdown pass. Carr completed a ridiculous 86 percent of his passes with a 10.1 yards per completion average.
Ground Game: B-
The Bengals defense ranks dead last in the NFL against the run, giving up 173 yards per game. But that didn’t show against the Raiders. Although Josh Jacobs did finish the game with 112 yards on 23 carries (many of which were hard earned), he also coughed the ball up for the first time all year.
Besides Jacobs’ 112 yards, as a team the Raiders gained only one other yard on the ground on 11 additional attempts. Part of the blame goes on the offensive line, a unit that was uncharacteristically out-muscled in the trenches.
Offensive Line: C
Speaking of the offensive line, not their best effort against the Bengals. As mentioned above, the Bengals defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage in the run game. Pass blocking was an issue at times as well.
Gabe Jackson, in particular, had some missed assignments that led to sacks. Kolton Miller was also responsible for giving up a sack as Carr was sacked thrice.
And it’s hard to ignore the penalties. The false start on Richie Incognito cost the Raiders critical points in the fourth quarter. What could have been a 21-10 lead instead was 17-10 Although the referees made the wrong call on that one, it still goes down in the books on Incognito.
Defensive Line: C+
As was the case on the offensive side of the ball, the Raiders D-line was kept in check. With the exception of Maxx Crosby, of course.
The Bengals run game gashed the defense for 173 yards on 22 carries (7.9 yds/per). For several weeks in a row now we have seen chinks in the armor in the run defense.
Crosby’s performance was the only thing that kept this group from completely tanking. he rookie exploded for 4 sacks in the game, the most Raider fans have seen in a single game since Khalil Mack’s 5 sack performance against Denver in 2015.
They didn’t do anything to standout in a positive way, but on the flip side they also didn’t do anything to hurt the team. So, it’s a win for the linebackers.
Hey, Tahir Whitehead even had a pass break up in coverage.
This marks the second week in a row the secondary has earned a grade of A- or higher.
It’s especially impressive when you consider that two players were seeing their first action of the season (D. J. Swearinger and Isaiah Johnson) and two others Nevin Lawson (90 percent of snaps) and Curtis Riley (40 percent of snaps) saw their roles increase dramatically because of injuries.
Daryl Worley (2), Trayvon Mullen (2), Curtis Riley (1), and Erik Harris (1) all recorded pass break ups. And you can’t forget Mullen’s interception that sealed the win.
Special Teams: B-
The Raiders continue to get next to nothing in the return game. The absence of Dwayne Harris has been huge, and he will be done for the year after being placed on IR.
Daniel Carlson nailed his only field goal attempt and was a perfect two-for-two on extra point opportunities. A.J. Cole punted five times for an average of 43.2 yards per punt. He had one punt downed inside the 20 and when Gruden opted to punt late in the game rather than attempting a long field goal, Cole was unable to pin the Bengals deep in their own territory. Instead, the ball was kicked into the end zone for a touchback.