The Las Vegas Raiders are 3-2 and best of all, 1-0 in the division with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. They next take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and maybe the only number you’ll hear Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth parrot that night is “12.”
Let’s enjoy some numbers that help define a bit about the Raiders on both offense and defense through their first five games.
It’s not that unusual anymore for a quarterback to go through his team’s first five games and throw at least 100 pass attempts with one or zero interceptions. Six quarterbacks did that in 2019, but Derek Carr is one of only three to do it this season. Through five games, Carr’s numbers are similar but superior to Ben Roethlisberger’s.
Carr: 128 of 175, 73.1%, 1,442 yards, 11 TD, one INT, 115.9 rating, eight sacks, 8.24 Y/A, 9.24 AY/A
Roethlisberger: 114 of 165, 69.1%, 1,178 yards, 11 TD, one INT, 109.1 rating, eight sacks, 7.14 Y/A, 8.2 AY/A
Patrick Mahomes: 123 of 193, 63.7%, 1,474 yards, 13 TD, one INT, 107.3 rating, six sacks, 7.64 Y/A, 8.75 AY/A
His numbers are similar to Mahomes through five games last season:
128 of 195, 65.6%, 1,831 yards, 11 TD, 0 INT, 114.7 rating, seven sacks, 9.03 Y/A, 10.57 AY/A
And 2014 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers’ first five games:
98 of 147, 66.6%, 1,155 yards, 12 TD, one INT, 114.8 rating, 12 sacks, 7.86 Y/A, 9.18 AY/A
Of course, we have to adjust for countless variables, and in the case of Rodgers, he had fewer attempts and played his season six years ago, which may as well be when the “What’s Up?!” Bud Light commercials aired when it comes to the evolution of NFL passing offenses. But Carr’s most recent outing gave him a nice boost and he is one of only two quarterbacks this season to post a passer rating in each of his first five starts this season. The other is Russell Wilson.
Since 2019, Carr and Wilson are tied for the most games with a passer rating above 100. with 14 each. In that time, Carr has the most games with a passer rating above 90, with 18.
56% scoring rate
The Raiders have had 50 drives and scored on 28 of those. That’s the highest rate of scoring in the NFL this season. Las Vegas is second in time per drive, plays per drive, yards per drive and points per drive. They are sixth in points per game.
One of the reasons the Raiders may not score as many total points as their points per drive would indicate is that the defense has not done a good job of creating turnovers. That is combined with the bad luck of not facing as many folly prone offenses perhaps, but it’s not as though it’s a surprise that the defense continues to be a work in progress.
Las Vegas has forced three turnovers, tied for the fewest in the NFL with the Packers and Cowboys, though Dallas has played in six games. Even with the Raiders playing in fewer games than most teams, that hasn’t stopped the Patriots, Seahawks, Steelers and Titans from ranking in the top 10.
Pressure on the quarterback can lead to turnovers in a number of ways and Las Vegas ranks eighth in pressure rate at 24.4%. Unfortunately, that has only led to seven sacks in five games and only three teams have fewer.
Clelin Ferrell’s improvement in year two is a huge sigh of relief, he just needs to turn a few more pressures into sacks and eventually that will happen. Ferrell had 15 pressures and 4.5 sacks in 15 games last season. He has eight pressures already this season but no sacks. After being credited with five missed tackles as a rookie, he has none yet this season. While Jadeveon Clowney is an example of a player who never seemed to figure out how to close out his pressures, Ferrell’s already shown that he can do that.
Maxx Crosby has had no issues doing that, building upon his impressive rookie season with four sacks in the first five games already. Crosby had five pressures in the last game, which ties as the second-most in his career.
Maurice Hurst has been good for one pressure per game. Carl Nassib has not proven to have a high ceiling throughout his career and it is not surprising that he only has three pressures over five games; why he’s already missed three tackles is surprising. On one hand he’s made a number of plays on limited snaps, but on the other hand he’s only been able to play in limited snaps and he may have still missed three tackles. Perhaps on the bright side the best is ahead with Nassib, who injured his toe in the most recent game.
There was a lot of talk around Arden Key in training camp and he has played in a lot of snaps, but only generated four pressures and no sacks.
The Raiders have a dangerous pass rusher, an exciting prospect and now David Irving. It’s not more pressure that they need, but more disruption and calamity at the quarterback position.