Nothing too fancy about the Raiders’ victory on Sunday, the team simply overpowered the Giants.
Kelechi Osemele is a big nasty mauler amongst offensive lineman who has come across the moniker of “K.O.” and he comes by it honestly. We have seen his famous throw ’em out the club routine where he pancakes his defender but perhaps his most impactful block came against the New York Giants on Sunday.
Under Todd Downing, the Raiders have switched blocking philosophy from the gap blocking scheme to a predominant zone blocking scheme. Drastically underwhelming is what the result has been; this big physical bunch aren’t dancing Russian circus bears moving side to side in unison.
The play called was a 46 power, a power run in a double tight-end heavy-I formation featuring a pulling guard getting a free run on an unsuspecting defender. Lined up on their own 49-yard line, center Rodney Hudson snapped the ball and K.O. absolutely blew up Giants linebacker Kelvin Sheppard in the hole and knocking him into All-Pro safety Landon Collins, paving the way for Lynch to run nearly untouched 51-yards up the gut for a TD.
There goes BEASTMODE! 🙌🏈 pic.twitter.com/2UQsTusWIb
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) December 3, 2017
— Kelechi Osemele (@KOseven0) December 4, 2017
Missing both starting wide receivers Amari Cooper (concussion, ankle) and Michael Crabtree (1-game suspension), the Raiders were forced to dig deep into their bag of tricks and reinvent themselves on the fly, squaring off against a Giants defense that only allowed 19 points in the previous two weeks.
The same defense which had limited the mighty Kansas City Chiefs offense to three field goals in overtime and prompted Andy Reid to give up playcalling.
Seeking better balance in the offense and a more effective schematic endeavor the Raiders chose to find their mojo and man up and get back to overpowering the Giants vaunted defensive line.
Lynch has been the player everyone expected him to be since he came back from suspension. Don’t know what it is that changed for him exactly; at this point, he should bottle whatever it is up and sell it at his “Beast Mode” store.
When you have a Beast on the field you can’t put him on a strict vegan diet. The Raiders are feeding their Beast pure Kobe beef. He has carried the football 43 times in the last two games, both resulting in wins, and more importantly, showing us what the 2017 Raider football team’s identity is. Week 12 was the first 100-yard rushing game of the season for any Raiders running back. “Big Boy Football” is what everyone expected the Raiders to be after bullying the Jets for 180 yards on the ground in Week 2.
Since forever the Raiders’ identity has been:
- Biggest, strongest, nastiest offensive line around
- A power running attack with a back who can take it the distance at any time
- Big fast guys out wide who will take it a mile if you give them an inch
- A quarterback with an absolute hose and a certain swagger while raining bombs
- Big corners capable of press man coverage and intimidating receivers
- Relentless defensive line harassing the quarterback
- The best available special teamers there are
It hasn’t changed, nor will it ever. Where it seems to have gotten lost in translation over the years has been the execution of these ideas. Al Davis, contrary to popular belief, didn’t lose his mind in the late years with his player selection minus “ol’ #2” (of whom we do not speak). Mr. Davis bet on himself and his coaching staffs to be able to take players with the one thing he couldn’t coach: raw ability and getting the most out of them.
To the untrained eye, it looked as though the Raiders struggled with the Giants defense. To some seasoned veterans, this offense looked oddly reminiscent of the offensive juggernaut that was the Raiders, pre-Downing. The offensive line as a whole played an outstanding game.
Donald Penn played his best game of the season. He was stout in his pass sets and showed great hustle in throwing two tremendous blocks on screens for Cordarrelle Patterson, springing him for a big gain both times. Hudson kept Duane “Snacks” Harrison lean and sugar-free as he didn’t allow a pressure. Marshall Newhouse, despite all the criticism he has taken since departing Big Blue, has been a free agent steal for Reggie McKenzie. The run game was superb and Carr was only hit and sacked one time.
What stood out the most was how the Raiders ran the football. The touchdowns were power runs and nearly all of the minimally successful/unsuccessful runs were more of the zone variety.
With the largest game of the season a contest in Arrowhead Stadium with the winner taking over the division lead and the loser being relegated to third place without another head to head matchup. the Raiders need only win out, the Chiefs need only win out and the Los Angeles Chargers need only win out to win the division and host a playoff game as the 4-seed most likely. With a healthy Marshawn Lynch bringing the hammer and the offensive line providing the muscle, look for them to try and muscle up down the stretch.