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Week 4 snap counts vs Colts: Raiders spend nearly entire game in nickel defense

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Oakland Raiders v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

You figure if you’re facing a team like the Colts which has a dominant offensive line and whose rushing attack is one of the better in the NFL that the Raiders would load up to stop the run. But that’s not what happened in Indianapolis on Sunday.

From the first snap of the game, the Raiders were in their nickel defense. Or 4-2-5 alignment. The foursome of Gareon Conley, Daryl Worley, Karl Joseph, and Erik Harris played every single snap while nickel corner Lamarcus Joyner was on the field for all but two snaps.

The two starting linebackers were Vontaze Burfict and Tahir Whitehead. But after Burfict was ejected for a roughing penalty, Nicholas Morrow came in.

The Raiders also went for pass rush or run stop at the defensive end spots with Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, and Arden Key getting the most snaps and Josh Mauro getting the fewest of the four.

To try and make up for this in the run game, the Raiders had a steady rotation at defensive tackles. Johnathan Hankins, PJ Hall, and Maurice Hurst each played around 50% of the snaps with Corey Liuget working in with his first action as a Raider.

The emphasis on protecting against the pass is somewhat odd against a team known for controlling the ground game. Then again, the Colts were down 7-0 by the time their offense took the field and were quickly down 14-0 early, so putting their nickel defense in the game early and keeping them in seemed to be the right move. The Colts would run the ball just 18 times in the game, including just 11 carries for Marlon Mack. And yet even with five DB’s on the field, Mack still only averaged 3.5 yards per carry and the Raiders left with the 31-24 victory.

Week 4 snap counts

. Offense . Defense . Special Tms .
. Offense . Defense . Special Tms .
Player Num Pct Num Pct Num Pct
Richie Incognito 67 100% 0 0% 5 17%
Kolton Miller 67 100% 0 0% 5 17%
Rodney Hudson 67 100% 0 0% 0 0%
Derek Carr 67 100% 0 0% 0 0%
Tyrell Williams 62 93% 0 0% 1 3%
Darren Waller 61 91% 0 0% 2 7%
Trent Brown 55 82% 0 0% 4 13%
Jordan Devey 52 78% 0 0% 4 13%
Trevor Davis 37 55% 0 0% 9 30%
Josh Jacobs 36 54% 0 0% 0 0%
Foster Moreau 31 46% 0 0% 19 63%
Hunter Renfrow 28 42% 0 0% 2 7%
Alec Ingold 25 37% 0 0% 15 50%
Jalen Richard 19 28% 0 0% 0 0%
Denzelle Good 15 22% 0 0% 5 17%
Keelan Doss 15 22% 0 0% 1 3%
DeAndre Washington 13 19% 0 0% 8 27%
David Sharpe 13 19% 0 0% 5 17%
Derek Carrier 7 10% 0 0% 25 83%
Erik Harris 0 0% 78 100% 19 63%
Karl Joseph 0 0% 78 100% 11 37%
Daryl Worley 0 0% 78 100% 8 27%
Gareon Conley 0 0% 78 100% 0 0%
Lamarcus Joyner 0 0% 76 97% 0 0%
Tahir Whitehead 0 0% 71 91% 5 17%
Clelin Ferrell 0 0% 66 85% 5 17%
Nicholas Morrow 0 0% 62 79% 17 57%
Maxx Crosby 0 0% 45 58% 14 47%
Arden Key 0 0% 42 54% 0 0%
Johnathan Hankins 0 0% 40 51% 5 17%
Maurice Hurst 0 0% 37 47% 5 17%
P.J. Hall 0 0% 37 47% 0 0%
Josh Mauro 0 0% 24 31% 0 0%
Corey Liuget 0 0% 21 27% 0 0%
Vontaze Burfict 0 0% 17 22% 1 3%
Trayvon Mullen 0 0% 6 8% 7 23%
Kyle Wilber 0 0% 2 3% 23 77%
Keisean Nixon 0 0% 0 0% 23 77%
Curtis Riley 0 0% 0 0% 20 67%
Dallin Leavitt 0 0% 0 0% 15 50%
Daniel Carlson 0 0% 0 0% 11 37%
Trent Sieg 0 0% 0 0% 10 33%
A.J. Cole 0 0% 0 0% 10 33%
Justin Phillips 0 0% 0 0% 9 30%
Andre James 0 0% 0 0% 2 7%