Let’s dive into the stats for the week.
Carr has bounced back with efficiency.
The last article caused debate about Carr's inefficient play the week before, even after a 400-yard performance. This week there is no debate as Carr is top five in almost every analytics category.
The former Fresno State quarterback finished with the top spot in ESPN’s Total QBR for the week with 79.3. Also, he bounced back in EPA and success rate finishing third in the former and fifth in the latter. Carr was balanced last game, spreading the ball around and moving the football consistently at an efficient level.
Most Big Time Throws this season:— PFF (@PFF) September 20, 2021
Kyler Murray - 9
Derek Carr - 9 pic.twitter.com/YfjZSnDn2B
The best part of his game last Sunday was the deep ball. Carr was 4/4 on passes more than 20 yards downfield. He is now second in the league in passes completed of 20 plus yards and is tied for first in PFF’s big-time throw metric. Carr’s hot start hopefully can stretch through 17 games.
Defense continues their dominance against the run.
One area not being talked about with the Raiders revamped defense is their play against the run. The Raiders held the Steelers to just 39 yards rushing in 14 carries, but the advanced numbers indeed paint the story.
According to RBSDM.com, The Raiders finished the week with a 21% success rate versus the run. The success rate is calculated by 40% on the first down, 60% on the second, and the rest on the third down. The addition of Denzel Perryman and KJ Wright has been huge for the run defense and the emergence of Maxx Crosby as a run defender.
Stopping the pass is essential in today's NFL. However, the Raiders have run first teams on their schedule like the Cleveland Browns, where this run defense can control the game. It’s a massive change from last season with embarrassing holes and bad run defense all around.
Maxx Crosby is making the leap.
The Raiders' draft picks have been scrutinized in the media regularly, especially for the Clelin Ferrell pick at four. None of that won’t even matter if the fourth-round selection from the same class continues to take his game to the next level. That is what we see from Crosby.
Raiders front, man...— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) September 20, 2021
Their 3 total blitzes through two games is the fewest for any team in the NFL, yet they're a Top 8 team in total pressures generated with 46 (this time with Clelin Ferrell!)
Maxx Crosby (91.2) & Yanick Ngakoue (87.7) both Top 10 in pass rush grade.
Crosby added another six pressures versus the Steelers, according to PFF. He now leads the league with 19, and the closest player only has 15. The former MAC conference stand-out has become a game wrecker and has a chance to become one of the best defenders in the NFL by year's end.
This year, the best part about Crosby is he is also top five in ESPN's run stop win rate metric. He has taken his all-around game to the next level and finally can help the Raiders make a playoff push.
Casey Heyward is in 2016 form
Raiders fans are happy the quarterback is back in 2016 form, but another player on the roster is in the same position. Casey Heyward has been phenomenal the first two weeks of the season and deserved praise for the growth of this defense.
Heyward has been lights out in coverage. According to PFF, Heyward has not allowed a catch this season on five targets. According to PFF, he is the only player in the NFL not to allow a catch and is the number one graded corner. The former Los Angeles Charger is raising the bar for the whole secondary as we see multiple players taking steps in their development.
If this secondary can continue to play solid overall, it’s going to be a great season. The pass rush and run defense are there. Heyward and his group of safeties and corners need to bring it once the Raiders face better passing offenses. For now, it is looking like they can hold it down for the time being.