After falling into a 7-0 hole on the first possession of the game, the Raiders rattled off 30 unanswered points to take a 30-7 lead into the fourth quarter, and they didn’t punt until there were eight seconds left in the third quarter.
There are plenty of winners - and only a few losers - to go around for Las Vegas so I won’t be able to touch on all of them, but below are the ones that stood out to me.
WINNER: Derek Carr
While yesterday might have lacked some of the flare and late-game heroics that we’ve grown accustomed to from Derek Carr, it might have been the best and most efficient game of his career.
Carr finished the contest with a 91.2 completion percentage which is the second-highest single-game rate in NFL history. He really only had one bad throw on 34 attempts, the interception to Avonte Maddox on the opening drive, but he showed great resilience by continuing to lead the offense down the field drive after drive.
The Raiders’ signal-caller picked apart the Eagles' defense in the short to intermediate areas of the field, but the few deep shots he did take were on point too. Per Pro Football Focus, he only had two attempts 20 or more yards past the line of scrimmage, but he completed both of them for 72 yards and a 96.0 passing grade. The latter currently ranks second among all Week 7 quarterbacks.
Three throws that stood out from Derek Carr in a near-perfect outing.— Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) October 25, 2021
*An aggressive shot on fourth down
*Timing and footwork in the pocket
*Sliding from pressure and dropping arm angles pic.twitter.com/I6AHe10Dqq
Heading into Monday Night Football, Carr currently sits as PFF’s fourth highest-graded quarterback (86.2) for the week, but it’s his leadership that might stand out the most.
The team has dealt with a huge off-the-field distraction over the last couple of weeks yet has managed to persevere through it all, due in large part to the leadership of their captain. After the game, Rich Bisaccia referred to his quarterback as “the voice of the Raiders right now,” per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. That’s high praise for someone whose leadership skills have been questioned in the past.
LOSER: Brandon Parker
As much as I’d love to just focus on the positive from Sunday, my pessimistic brain couldn’t help but notice Brandon Parker struggling in pass protection.
On 37 pass-blocking snaps, Parker allowed three pressures - one quarterback hit - was flagged once and earned a 95.7 efficiency rating, per PFF. He also registered the fourth-lowest pass-blocking grade (39.6) among offensive tackles, and his efficiency rating ranks in the bottom third at the position for the week.
However, what might be most frightening is his lack of success on true pass sets.
All three pressures that the four-year pro surrendered were on true pass sets, bringing his efficiency rating down to 86.4 - 49th out of 52 OTs - and pass-blocking grade to 9.8 - ranks 51st - in that realm.
Dating back to March, the offensive line has been a point of contention for Las Vegas this season. They’ve reshuffled the group up front, which is the reason why Parker is playing, but the team’s answer might not be on the current roster.
With the trade deadline looming, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Raiders make a move that relegates the tackle back to the second-string.
WINNER: Yannick Ngakoue
While Maxx Crosby has stolen the headlines, Las Vegas’ pass rush as a whole has been phenomenal so far this season. That’s due in large part to the contribution the team has gotten from its other edge rusher, Yannick Ngakoue.
Ngakoue has four sacks on the year and currently ranks seventh among edge rushers with 32 pressures. The latter is primarily the result of his outstanding performance from yesterday.
The free-agent signing had eight pressures which tie his single-game career-high and is tied for the second-most among edge rushers in Week 7. He also posted an impressive 81.9 PFF pass-rush grade that ranks eighth at the position and a sixth-best 31.0 percent win rate.
What might be most impressive about Ngakoue’s performance is he did it primarily going against Jordan Mailata, who has been strong in pass protection this season.
Before Sunday, Mailata hadn’t allowed more than two pressures in a game or recorded a pass-blocking grade below 67.5. However, he surrendered seven pressures, was flagged once and earned a 28.7 grade against Ngakoue and the rest of the Silver and Black’s pass rush.
During the offseason, many people laughed at Ngakoue for saying that he and Crosby could form the league’s best pass-rushing duo. Now, he looks like a fortune-teller.
LOSER: Daniel Carlson
Ever since going on a hot streak where he made every kick from Week 9 of 2020 to Week 2 of 2021 and culminated with the AFC Special Teams Player of the week award, Daniel Carlson has been a little shaky.
He’s missed four kicks since then and one nearly cost the team a victory, as a missed extra point helped the Dolphins take the Raiders to overtime back in Week 3. While yesterday’s missed PAT didn’t impact the game at all, Carlson has now been errant once in four out of the last five games. The one contest he didn’t miss in was against the Bears when he only attempted one kick, a 31-yard chip shot field goal.
To be fair, one of Carlson’s four misses was a 50 plus yard attempt against the Chargers, but the other three came by way of two missed PATs and a 43-yarder that would have tied the game early on against the Broncos.
He has earned the moniker of “Cash Money Carlson” in the past, so there’s no reason to think he can’t get back on track. However, Las Vegas needs him to figure it out quickly because missing a kick a game will come back to haunt them at some point down the stretch of the season.
WINNER: Foster Moreau
From about last Monday to Thursday, I was pretty confident that the Raiders would have no problem taking care of business against the Eagles. Then Friday and the news that Darren Waller was injured in practice and might miss the game hit...*insert Jordan Peele sweating GIF*. When he was finally ruled out about an hour before kickoff, my pessimistic brain smashed the panic and I immediately started getting myself mentally prepared for an upset.
Obviously, Waller is a key part of the Silver and Black’s offense, and Foster Moreau has struggled for the majority of the season. However, the latter stepped up big time.
Moreau ended up leading the team in receiving yards with 60 and caught all six balls thrown his way, including a beautiful adjustment to a back-shoulder throw that led to his second touchdown catch of the year.
Four of his six receptions went for a first down and he had a 147.9 passer rating when targeted, as those figures currently rank tied for third and fourth among Week 7 tight ends. He also earned the seventh-highest receiving grade at 83.3.
The three-year veteran was also able to earn a respectable 65.9 grade as a run-blocker, giving him an 80.5 overall grade for the week that’s the eight-best at the position. After starting the campaign with overall marks below 50 in four out of the first five contests, Moreau has now eclipsed the 80-point mark in back-to-back games.
Finally, we’re starting to see some of the potential he showed as a rookie.
LOSER: Raiders’ Health
Speaking of the Waller injury, during the pre-game broadcast yesterday there wasn’t exactly uplifting news in that regard. The announcers said Waller had a freak accident during Friday’s practice and tried to give it a go during warm-ups, but his ankle and heel were bugging him too much to suit up.
Him missing a single game is one thing, but what is concerning to me is reportedly, he said he’s happy the team’s bye is next week so that he has more time to heal up. That tells me the ailment might be more serious.
Even if Waller healed up by the time Las Vegas heads to New York in a couple of weeks, the Raiders are still very banged up.
Trayvon Mullen, Roderic Teamer and Nick Bowers, among others, have all landed on injured reserve recently, while Richie Incognito, Nicholas Morrow and Javin White have been on the list since the end of training camp. Especially with a handful of other injuries, all of those guys do or are expected to play big roles on the team.
Plus, Josh Jacobs left yesterday’s game early, Denzel Perryman went down on one of the Eagles’ last drives, and John Simpson needed to be helped off the field a couple of times. Though, I believe Simpson did finish the game.
The good news is the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time so the Silver and Black will have an opportunity to get healthy over the week, but this is a situation to keep tabs on between now and the Sunday after next.
BONUS WINNER: Run blocking
Las Vegas’ offensive line had their best game as a run-blocking unit yesterday. The team averaged 4.1 yards per carry, which is somewhat weighed down by them trying to run out the clock late in the game and is 0.6 yards more than their average for the season.
Their season average now sits at 3.5 yards an attempt, but Sunday’s game actually brought that mark up by about 0.2 yards, so it was an unprecedented performance, to say the least.
Collectively, the Raiders recorded a season-high 80.5 PFF run-blocking, which is especially impressive considering their previous high was 52.1 against Denver...
They had five players register run-blocking grades above 70 - Alec Ingold (90.7), Kolton Miller (83.6), Simpson (81.4), Andre James (74.4) and Alex Leatherwood (72.1) - with Moreau not far behind them.
Side note, James had the best game of his career with a 77.0 overall grade and a 79.0 mark in pass protection with zero pressures to go along with the figure above.