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Sensations, frustrations and declarations of the Raiders 24-17 Week 16 win

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Who shined, who struggled and what’s up next after the Raiders swept the Los Angeles Chargers and grabbed their seventh win

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders four game losing streak has been snapped and their dwindling playoff hopes are somehow alive. It seemed that playing the Chargers was the only medicine they needed.

The 24 points that the Raiders tallied up was their most since, well...Week 10’s Thursday Night Football matchup with these same Chargers.

A 7-win season and a chance at the playoffs heading into Week 17 is a big step forward for this franchise as they aim to become serious contenders over the next few seasons.

With the Broncos up next, the Raiders have a chance to sweep another division foe and potentially punch their playoff ticket if everything goes their way. But before we start to look ahead to next week, let’s look what went right, what went wrong, and what to make of it:

Sensations:

Derek Carr

As Derek Carr chucked the ball into the stands, flexed his arms and let out a war cry after sneaking past the pylon for a 3-yard rushing touchdown, you could tell he would finish as the sensation of the night.

Carr must’ve seen the report from Jason La Canfora this morning; he played his best game all season. The much maligned signal caller went 26-for-30 passing for 291 yards, one passing touchdown, and the aforementioned rushing score.

The 28-year-old showed mobility, poise under duress, and a certain confidence that we’ve rarely seen of him this season.

While making sure the Raiders didn’t suffer through their recent second half woes once again, Carr was a perfect 10-for-10 passing as he led multiple long, methodical drives that effectively won it for Oakland.

Hunter Renfrow

Would you believe me if I told you this was Hunter Renfrow’s first 100-yard receiving game since high school.

No, seriously. At Clemson, Renfrow never hit the century mark since he was never a truly featured option there. This one might be the first of many in Silver and Black, as the rookie slot receiver finished with 7 catches for 107 yards and a score.

He took an opening drive slant on third down for a 56-yard touchdown and finished the first half with 5 grabs for 96 yards.

Inserting Renfrow back into the offense gave them a massive boost, and it surely boosted Carr’s confidence a great deal. Who would’ve expected that a rookie fifth round pick would be such a vital piece of the puzzle for this offense?

Run Defense

The unsung hero of this game was the truly dominant performance that the Raiders run defense mustered.

Just take a look at the numbers. Los Angeles rushed 16 times for a measly 19 yards, with the Raiders defensive front controlling the line of scrimmage all game.

After Jon Gruden proclaimed that the defense would shake things up after a deplorable performance against the Titans, the biggest change has been inserting Will Compton into a starting role at linebacker.

Compton was acquired off the scrap heap midseason, and has been killing it the last two weeks for the Raiders defense. He was flying around making stops today, finishing with 12 tackles, 7 more than any of his teammates.

With the way Compton is playing, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back next season.

Silver and Black takeover in LA

Usually I only write three things each for these categories, but this is too deserving of a mention.

For the second week in a row, the Raiders fanbase was truly sensational. Only this time, they did so via Los Angeles takeover.

With Raider Nation in full force, the Chargers were booed coming out of the tunnel and for almost the entirety of the game. At one point, the Chargers brought out a tee-shirt cannon, which proved to be a terrible idea as multiple shirts were thrown back on the field by rabid Raider fans.

The Nation was so loud that the Chargers were forced to call a timeout before a potential 4th down conversion attempt late in the third quarter.

Have we tried to trade the Chiefs to the NFC West in exchange for the Rams? The Raiders could have 10 home games a year if we could make that happen.

Frustrations:

Penalties in the secondary

The Raiders have given up the most first downs due to penalties of any team in the league this season.

They’ve given up 48 of them to be exact, and three of those penalty first downs came on the exact same drive as the Chargers punched in a score at the end of the first half.

The secondary play has obviously been porous this year, but the grabbiness has got to stop. Another issue here is that when referees know that a team has a bad secondary, they’re less likely to give them the benefit of the doubt with calls.

Brandon Parker

With Trent Brown out for the rest of the season, Brandon Parker got another start in his place as the team tries to evaluate him for next season. It seems that they’ve seen enough.

Late in the second quarter, Parker was benched in favor of David Sharpe and the Raiders offense looked markedly better after the switch. After giving up three sacks in the first half, the offensive line didn’t give up any in the second half and gave Carr a much cleaner pocket to work from.

The Raiders are now 9-22 when Carr is sacked three or more times and 30-32 otherwise. That should tell you how important keeping him upright is.

To be honest, Sharpe should’ve been starting in Brown’s place the entire time. But lesson learned, Parker isn’t the swing tackle o the future.

Trayvon Mullen’s scary injury

Anytime a player needs to be carted off the field the way that Trayvon Mullen was, it’s absolutely horrifying.

Such is life in the game of football, but the fact that this injury came so late in the game, and happened to one of the Raiders foundational players, makes it frustrating and worrisome.

Mullen was able to move his arms and legs, and even raised his right hand to wave as he was wheeled off the field, so the hope is that he will be okay. The rookie cornerback was taken to a local hospital immediately, and Gruden suggested that the initial signs are good regarding his neck injury.

With Mullen coming on strong as the Raiders top player in the secondary over the second half of the season, he’ll be relied on heavily as a starter next season.

Declarations:

  • The Raiders keep Derek Carr around next season, rumors be damned
  • Will Compton is re-signed, and Tahir Whitehead is let go this offseason
  • The Raiders continue to own Los Angeles, and the Chargers think a little bit harder about moving to London