Raiders

Raiders’ Daniel Carlson And Johnathan Abram Among Biggest Winners In Week 15

It may not seem too impressive that the Las Vegas Raiders beat the COVID-stricken Cleveland Browns on Monday. However, this was a deep Browns team that, despite missing roughly half their starters, still had plenty of star power on the field.

Any win in the NFL is a good win, especially on the road and against a quarterback who blew the Raiders out the last time he played them. So which players showed up, and which ones shouldn’t show their faces?

WINNERS

No. 1 Daniel Carlson

Carlson, the best kicker of this or any generation, provided the majority of the Raiders’ offense on Monday. He kicked three field goals, including the game-winner in the final seconds. The Browns attempted to ice him with a sneaky timeout, but Carlson was undeterred and kicked an even more accurate field goal the second time around to win the game for the Raiders. Carlson is undoubtedly one of the best kickers in the NFL, and he proves it.

No. 2 Johnathan Abram

Despite getting injured in the fourth quarter, Abram was the Raiders’ best defender in this game. With no threat of a deep passing attack from Cleveland, Abram played close to the line of scrimmage, and he looked like an absolute monster. Abram racked up nine tackles, two for loss, and was a menace to the Browns’ run game. Abram isn’t great in coverage, but when he plays like a linebacker, he is a difference-maker.

No. 3 Zay Jones

Over the last few weeks, Zay Jones has worked himself into being Derek Carr’s favorite target, not named Hunter Renfrow. With Darren Waller out and deep threat DeSean Jackson playing sparingly, Jones led the Raiders with nine targets and six catches for 67 yards. Jones was clutch on the final drive, with some big catches to help the Raiders get into field goal range for Carlson.

No. 4 Nick Chubb

The Raiders knew Cleveland was going to run the ball with Chubb, and for the most part, the Raider defense was able to shut that down. But Chubb is simply too good to keep bottled up for an entire game, and in the second half he was able to gash the Raiders for big gains, including a tough touchdown run. He was the lone bright spot on offense for the Browns, with 23 rushes for 91 yards and a score.

LOSERS

No. 1 Mike Priefer

Who? Mike Priefer is the special teams coordinator for the Browns, and he was the acting head coach on Monday with Kevin Stefanski out due to COVID. Not only were the Browns’ special teams awful, with shanked punts and missed field goals the order of the day, but Cleveland played a cowardly brand of football that ultimately led to their defeat.

No. 2 Nick Mullens

This game showed exactly why Mullens is a backup in the NFL. There was never a threat that the Browns would throw deep in this game, and even many of Mullens’ short passes were off target. Donovan Peoples-Jones did the best he could to catch Mullens’ throws, but Mullens was simply not good enough to win. He didn’t lose this game for the Browns either, but he was a far cry from the guy who put up 34 points on the Raiders a few years back.

No. 3 Josh Jacobs

The Browns have a pretty good defensive line, but even so, it’s a tough ask to give your star running back 19 carries and have him average 3.5 yards per rush. That way, lied many punts. The Raiders did well to mix in Peyton Barber, who had five carries for 34 yards. Jacobs was much better in the passing game, with three catches for 42 yards, but the Raiders needed Jacobs to be more productive on the ground than he has been lately.

No. 4 The NFL

Why was this game even played? The Browns play on Saturday against the Packers, giving a team missing half their players an extremely short week to prepare for the best team in the NFC. This game should have been forfeited by Cleveland and not played at all, but no one can expect the NFL to follow its own rules when there is money to be made and the Raiders get screwed over in the process. Luckily, the Raiders won, so the league office can shove that up their rear end.

*Top Photo: Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports

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