How much did the wide receiver corps contribute to the Las Vegas Raiders’ upset over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2?
The Raiders pulled off an impressive upset over the Steelers on Sunday morning. It was a worthy effort from both sides of the ball to make it happen. One of the groups that came through were the wide receivers and here is how they did it.
Henry Ruggs III led the way…
Things may be looking up for the second-year receiver. Henry Ruggs IIIÂ ledÂ the team in receiving yards (113) on five catches. The wideout was only targeted once during the first half, on a short pass for 13 yards. Ruggs was the target for six more passes in the second half. During the Raiders’ first touchdown drive, Ruggs was hit over the middle of the field on a deep slant and broke a couple of arm tackles after the catch for a 30-yard gain.
The big play, however, came in the fourth quarter. It was third and 10 with the Raiders at their own 39-yard line, holding onto a two-point lead. Hunter Renfrow was wide open over the middle of the field for a first down, but Derek Carr opted for the bomb to Ruggs for a 61-yard touchdown. Ruggs beat Ahkello Witherspoon and Minkah Fitzpatrick downfield in a play reminiscent of his first career touchdown last year. The targets and production are very promising for the 2020 first-round picks’ future.
Hunter Renfrow again provides third-down magic
It’s honestly not even surprising anymore when Renfrow gets our attention. The slot receiver had five catches for 57 yards. Four of his receptions moved the sticks, with the most key one being in the third quarter. The Raiders were facing third and nine in their own territory. Carr saw Renfrow open downfield and hit him for 23 yards. The ball was thrown a touch high, but he made a nice diving catch to secure it. Besides his route running, Renfrow was also great after the catch. Especially on a couple of occasions to gain the first down. He was also able to take a hit to hold on to a first-down catch during the second quarter.Â
Bryan Edwards was a negated touchdown away from earning more praise. At the end of the first half, Edwards seemed to have caught a touchdown pass. Unfortunately, the score was nullified after the refs called holding on to the play. He still caught three passes for 40 productive yards. If you’re Edwards, though, you ought to feel some frustration to have two touchdowns called back this early so far. Willie Snead also caught his first pass as a Raider on a third-down play. Zay Jones saw very few snaps and no targets.
Some final words
There are multiple reasons to feel encouraged by how the wide receivers performed. Ruggs and Edwards were more involved and effective than usual. That can lead to big things down the road after previously high expectations for the duo. Renfrow is doing what we all expected him to do all along. So, his performance isn’t as much of a takeaway. All that we can ask for from here is more consistency.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images