For two weeks in a row, the Las Vegas Raiders put forth a complete effort and dominated their opponent. Only garbage time points kept the scores as close as they were. The Philadelphia Eagles came into the Death Star and got the Alderaan treatment, as the Silver and Black blew them to smithereens.
A few players were primarily responsible for the Raiders’ overwhelming win, and others were responsible in the opposite sense. So who was the bomb, and who was a dud on Sunday?
There are very few players on Carr’s level right now, both currently and historically. Carr’s 31/34 effort was the second-most efficient passing performance in NFL history (min. 30 attempts), behind only a Drew Brees 29/30 game in 2019. Carr also holds the third spot on that list with a 29/32 effort in 2018 against Denver.
There is no further question that Carr is elite; it is one thing to put up these efficiency numbers while checking down constantly, but Carr is doing this with the shackles off, going deep down the field regularly. Football has never seen something like what Carr is doing right now. The Eagles came into this game with a reputation for having a stout pass defense, but Carr shredded them like pulled pork for 323 yards and two scores.
Before the season started, Raiders free agent signing Yannick Ngakoue boldly proclaimed that he and fellow pass rusher Maxx Crosby would be the best defensive end duo in football. Through seven weeks, it’s hard to argue that that is true. Crosby is leading the league in pressures and Ngakoue showed why he was such a coveted player this offseason with a two-sack effort against the Eagles.
Ngakoue was in Jalen Hurts’ face all game, and though Hurts’ mobility helped him elude many rushes, Ngakoue’s motor and tenacity disrupted the Eagles’ offense tremendously. In addition to the pair of sacks, Ngakoue also logged two tackles for a loss and two passes batted down. At one point, color commentator Jonathan Vilma compared Ngakoue to a bear when he was chasing Hurts down from behind. I would rather run into a live bear than Ngakoue himself at this point.
Raiders star tight end Darren Waller missed the Eagles game with a foot injury, but the Silver and Black didn’t skip a beat. Backup Foster Moreau stepped into a starting role and showed why he is one of the best tight ends in football, leading the Raiders with six catches for 60 yards and a score. Moreau would be a featured player on many offenses in the NFL, and it’s nice to have a player of his caliber as a second tight end. That was a true breakout game for Moreau.
Plenty of Raiders fans this offseason were puzzled as to why the team threw big money at a backup running back. But Drake has shown that he is far more than just a backup. When Josh Jacobs left the game with an injury, Drake stepped in and carried the ball 14 times for 69 yards and a touchdown, in addition to three catches for 10 yards. Drake was able to hit the holes hard and fight for the tough yards, extending Raider drives. The Raiders offense is better the more touches Drake gets.
When you watch Hurts play, it’s easy to see his promise as a player, and also easy to see why the Eagles are 2-5 right now. Hurts can run well, and he’s slippery in the pocket, but he cannot consistently finish drives or avoid costly mistakes. Hurts was dynamic under center on the first drive against the Raiders, but in the shotgun, he struggled to attack the Raiders defense. That was not a performance that will make any Eagles fan feel confident about the quarterback situation in Philly.
The former Penn State running back started strong, slicing and dicing the Raiders for five yards per carry. It seemed as though Sanders would be utilized how he ought to be. Unfortunately, he got injured and had to leave the game. What might have been? Sanders’ durability is a big part of why the Eagles’ offense is dysfunctional, as they are so much better when he is on the field running wild.
The Eagles’ massive right tackle is a former rugby player and an intimidating presence on the line. None of that mattered against the Raiders on Sunday, as Ngakoue ate his lunch on the regular. Mailata might as well not even have suited up in the game at all for all the impact he made trying to block Yannick. Luckily for Mailata, Lane Johnson is back at left tackle now, letting Mailata settle into the right tackle position. He still has a lot of growing to do.
I didn’t know who Sirianni was before this game, and I still don’t. The Eagles look like a team without a heart, an identity, or a clue. They were unprepared to deal with either the Raiders offense or their defense. Philly made so many silly mistakes a decent coaching staff should have cleaned up by now. Philadelphia’s defense has yet to hold an opposing quarterback to ten incompletions or more in a game. The Eagles are a team going nowhere fast and have very little hope for the rest of the season. They might have two picks in the top five next year, where they can get a pair of blue-chip players whose careers will be wasted by playing for the Eagles.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Isaac Brekken