The Las Vegas Raiders went into Indianapolis and stole a win with the season on the line. The 23-20 victory has created a play-in game with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Let's dive into the stats that stood out for the huge win last Sunday.
Carr was constantly under pressure.
The Raiders offensive line has struggled with Derek Carr having 37 sacks on the year. Last Sunday was no different with the Raiders, with defenders constantly in the backfield disrupting the QB.
According to PFF, Carr was under pressure 42 percent of the time vs. the Colts and did not play well when in duress. He had a passer rating of 27.8 and threw two interceptions, bringing him to a league-leading nine on the season. Parker and Leatherwood led the way with Six and four between them. The Colts attacked the interior side of the offensive line exclusively and forced Carr to be under pressure.
The offensive line will have another massive test next Sunday Night vs. the Chargers and Joey Bosa. Parker and Leatherwood are the weakness of the offensive line to NFL teams. Brandon Staley will attempt to expose that deficiency on the offensive line and force Carr to make mistakes.
Darius Philon is dominating up front.
When Jonathan Hankins went down vs. the Cleveland Browns, many were worried about what they would do to the run defense. Enter Darius Philon, who dominated the trenches the past two weeks, and put up another performance where he was all over the film.
Philon got after the passer as well. He accumulated three total pressures on the day, according to PFF. The former Los Angeles Charger is quick off the ball and penetrates fast, leaving centers in the dust when lined up as a nose. According to PFF, the run game is where he shined the most with four defensive stops on the day, which was huge against a player of Taylor's Caliber.
The Raiders' depth on the defensive line has been discussed all offseason, and it is coming to fruition. The signing of Solomon Thomas and Philon has transformed this defensive line into one of the best in the league.
The Secondary steps up
The Raiders pass defense got off to a hot start in 2021 but declined as of late when the run defense stepped up. In week 17, we saw the pass defense early, with corners locking down the outside vs. the Colts.
There were six targets and only two receptions between Casey Heyward, Desmond Trufant, and Brandon Facyson. The passer rating combined was 50.6 on the day, leaving Carson Wentz with nowhere to throw the football. Heyward even made this wild play where he jumped over Denzell Perryman and broke up a pass on the first drive.
Heyward has to jump over Perryman and still almost intercepts the pass. pic.twitter.com/r32n2h7lxZ— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) January 4, 2022
The secondary play has to replicate this performance next week, facing one of the best passing offenses in the league. If they can duplicate this performance against the Chargers, the Raiders can maintain and pull off an upset victory.
Zay Jones has breakout day.
Zay Jones had his issues this season late in games when Carr counted on him to make a play. There were plenty of interceptions late in the fourth quarter since the bye where Jones was the target. Since the Browns game, he has been a different player, and it displayed itself again on Sunday.
Jones had his best game of the season once again working the intermediate level. Carr wants the corner route with Edwards first then comes backs to Jones with a 26-yard rope. pic.twitter.com/s5HbQUl4YE— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) January 4, 2022
Jones finished the game with eight catches and 120 yards on the day. Jones has struggled with the deep ball in recent weeks, but this game, he was 2/2 for 68 yards with the big 46-yard catch in the fourth quarter. Six of his eight receptions went for first downs as they used him underneath and on choice routes more often.
Plenty of his teammates have called him the hardest worker on the team, and it is starting to pay off. The Raiders have turned Jones into a possession receiver instead of a deep threat watching him reach his potential—he is making a case for himself as a No. 2 receiver in the future.