How did each position group for the Las Vegas Raiders fare on offense against the Baltimore Ravens during Monday night’s stunner?
The Raiders pulled off an upset against the Ravens on Monday Night Football. It took a lot of effort from both sides of the ball but lets focus on how the offense performed.
How did the Raiders offense grade out in Week 1?
In the first half, Derek Carr’s performance was in the ‘D’ range. He looked erratic, missed open targets, and wasn’t spreading the ball enough. The offensive line wasn’t very helpful in pass protection, but the veteran was still way under par. However, when it mattered most, he came through. He was sharing the wealth more, moved better against pressure, and kept his composure. Carr accumulated only 126 passing yards and was 12 for 25 inÂ the first half. He ended up finishing the game with 435 passing yards, 34/56 passing, and two touchdown passes. Carr came up in the clutch on Monday night, but he will need to be more consistent against an even tougher Steelers defense next week.
Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota came in for one snap. He ran a zone read and went for 31 yards. Unfortunately, It seems that he re-aggravated his quad injury, per NBC Sports, which kept him out for the rest of the game.Â
Running Backs: C+
It is not a good sign when your top running back barely beats the backup quarterback in total rushing yards. Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake combined for 16 rushes and only had 45 yards to show for it, per ESPN. That was due to the offensive line’s inability to stop Ravens defender Calais Campbell. Overall, fans should be concerned about the current state of the run game.
Jacobs was also getting constant work from trainers throughout the game, which raises even more eyebrows. On the bright side, Jacobs still scored twice, which was vital for the victory.
Kenyan Drake, on the other hand, was an unsung hero. While his rushing was little to nothing, he had an impact in the passing game. Drake had five receptions for 59 yards, the fourth most amongst the team, perÂ ESPN. What was even more impactful, however, was his protection against the blitz. There were multiple passes from Carr that would not have been possible unless Drake picked up the blitz, including the game-winning touchdown. As much as we may like it, Jon Gruden must love it more as he emphasizes having running backs that can block. Fullback Alec Ingold also had four catches for 22 yards.Â
Wide Receivers: C
Despite the usual performance from Hunter Renfrow, there is a lot to be concerned about with this group. Both Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards rarely saw any targets throughout most of the game until the fourth quarter and overtime. Ruggs should’ve had an easy touchdown in the first drive of the game, but Carr did not see him and checked down to Ingold. Besides that, he was having difficulty getting open space from the defense until he caught his two lone receptions, late in the game for 46 yards.
Edwards had a similar situation as well but went off in the end. He caught two key passes to put the Raiders in kicking range when they only had 37 seconds to use, which set up the game-tying field goal. Edwards was also magnificent in overtime with two more receptions. The latter, nearly being the game-winner, was made possible by a great adjustment on the throw. While he was ruled short after further review, there is no denying the potential he showed. We wonder if his performance will earn a higher target share in the future.
Renfrow was doing what we expected. While he isn’t a premier player, his skills are undeniable with the route running and delirious spin moves that were difficult for the defense to handle. That also led to Renfrow being great on third down and making yards after the catch. He finished with an impressive 70 yards on six receptions, perÂ ESPN. Zay Jones wasn’t used much, but he caught the game-winning touchdown, and that deserves credit. Willie Snead was only targeted once and had a laser pass go through his hands, deflected, and then intercepted by Baltimore, which nearly cost the game.
What about the new Raiders offensive line?
Offensive Line: D
It is more than fair to say that the offensive line didn’t meet expectations. Andre James and rookie Alex Leatherwood were the main culprits as they struggled to protect and stay disciplined. James botched a snap and was called on multiple holding penalties. While his first start had low expectations, there is still a lot for him to clean up. Leatherwood was also flagged several times and made crucial mistakes in pass protection. The rest of the group wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately, with how thin the depth is, especially after losingÂ Denzelle GoodÂ for the year, the margin of error is razor-thin.
Tight Ends: B
Everyone knew that Darren Waller would get a lot of attention, but 19 targets were way past what we expected. The target share was more of a reflection of Carr not sharing the ball enough. Waller still finished with 105 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches. A small concern, however, was his drops in the first half. While Carr’s passes weren’t too accurate in the first half, we knew that Waller was capable of adjusting, as we’ve seen him do before, but it wasn’t happening. Eventually, the duo got back into sync and put on a show against Baltimore’s defense. The drops shouldn’t be overanalyzed, and Waller can still do just fine even if his target share lowers a bit (which it should).
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images