ALAMEDA, Calif. — The phrase “sacks come in bunches” has occupied football vernacular for years, uttered by coaches, players and broadcasters alike.
It doesn’t apply to the 2018 Raiders.
Sacks come in solitary confinement.
Through 12 games, the team has an NFL-low 10 sacks. But the real quirk to the sparsity involves the sacks’ spacing. The Raiders are the only team in modern league history to record one or fewer multisack games through the first 12 games of a season.
The last such team was the 1958 Green Bay Packers, according to Pro Football Reference.
The Raiders’ only game with multiple sacks came in Week 4. Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield was dropped twice in his first professional start. Defensive end Bruce Irvin, now with the Atlanta Falcons, had the first one. Rookie defensive tackle Mo Hurst Jr. recorded the second.
The rest of the campaign reads like binary-code string for a team that traded All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears nine days before the season began.
The past eight games: 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.
“Obviously, the numbers aren’t quite there,” said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, whose line largely consists of rookies and veteran free agents off the street. “Just continue to improve. There were a few times in the game the other day that I rushed three guys and decided to drop some guys in coverage. When I do that, they have to understand the coverage has got to hold a little bit longer, so the rush can get there. If I call a blitz or a four- or five-man pressure, we got to get home and win the one-on-ones.
“When (the rushes) are scripted for you to win against a back, against a tight end, against a guard or whatever it is, we got to win those one-on-ones.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 17 times in 2018, fourth-fewest among NFL quarterbacks with at least 10 starts.
That could mean another one or zero for the Raiders when they host the Steelers on Sunday.
■ Running back Marshawn Lynch was named the team’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nominee for 2018. The honor reflects his work in the Oakland community along with other outreach efforts. The Oakland native is closely involved with Fam 1st Family Foundation, a local nonprofit. “Marshawn’s impact on the field is easy to see,” team owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “But it is off the field where he really makes a difference. While others may talk the talk, Marshawn walks the walk.” Lynch is out for the season with a groin injury.
■ A troubling pattern has developed for Seth Roberts. He apparently suffered a concussion during practice Thursday, as he appeared on the injury report as a limited participant. This is the slot wide receiver’s third time in concussion protocol in four months. He also entered it during training camp in early August and an Oct. 14 game against the Seattle Seahawks.