GRADING THE RAIDERS
How the team performed in a 24-17 win against the New York Giants:
Playing without top receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, the Raiders got a huge day from Marshawn Lynch (17 carries, season-high 101 yards, including 51-yard TD) and key plays from wideouts Cordarrelle Patterson (four catches for 97 yards) and Johnny Holton (9-yard TD catch with 3:32 remaining). But the Giants also dropped two would-be interceptions against Derek Carr (22 of 36 for 287 yards with a score), who lacked for great accuracy on those and other throws. Holton also fumbled after a catch that would have given the Raiders possession at the Giants’ 30-yard line in a 10-7 game with under a minute left in the third quarter.
For a second straight week under new coordinator John Pagano, the Raiders held an opponent to fewer than 300 yards. Granted, they were being asked to defend quarterbacks like Paxton Lynch of the Broncos and Geno Smith of the Giants, but you can only rush whoever is taking snaps for the other guys. In replacing Eli Manning, Smith was limited to 21-of-34 passing for 212 yards (47 on one play) and a score. The Raiders forced and recovered two Smith fumbles and had eight players with at least four tackles. NaVorro Bowman (nine tackles, fumble recovery) and Khalil Mack (four tackles, sack, quarterback hurry and forced/recovered fumble) led the way.
Special teams: D
Talk about a wild day in this area. Jalen Richard fumbled three punts, all of which were recovered by the Raiders. “I hope it was just one of those days that we don’t see again,” said coach Jack Del Rio. Credit goes to Keith McGill II for recovering two of the three miscues. Marquette King averaged a net of 42.5 yards on four punts — two were downed inside the 20 — but also failed to get off an attempt deep in his own territory when nobody blocked Shane Smith and he tackled King at the 9 with under a minute to go in the first half.
There was a missed challenge in the fourth quarter — erased the following play when Carr found Holton for a score on third-and-goal from the 9 — but you can’t say enough about how the Raiders have defended in consecutive wins. They have really gone after below-average quarterbacks and dictated tempo in the process. The goal to begin the season was to challenge for an AFC West title. With four games remaining, Del Rio’s side sits in a three-way tie at the top and controls its density.
Ed Graney Las Vegas Review-Journal