It took a complete team effort for the Las Vegas Raiders to knock off the Denver Broncos in Las Vegas on Sunday. The team relied on a dominant running game and a stifling defense to earn their first win of the season. Here’s how I graded each position group for Sunday’s game. Take a look.
Las Vegas Raiders Grades: The Offense
Derek Carr wasn’t great on Sunday, going 21 of 34 for only 188 yards. The Raider offense bogged down in the red zone again, and a lot of that was on Carr. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass in this game, which is an unusual occurrence for him. Carr, on the other hand, rushed seven times for 40 yards and picked up several crucial drive-extending first downs. This game was all about the run, so Carr did what he needed to do to get the win. I hope to see Carr run more this year because his receivers command a lot of attention, and Carr is sure to have some open running lanes ahead of him that he can capitalize on.
This was one of the best performances in recent memory by the Raiders’ running game. Las Vegas rushed for 212 yards in total, with running backs Josh Jacobs and Zamir White combining for 168 yards on the ground. Jacobs carried the ball a whopping 28 times at a 5.1 yard per carry clip, and the team leaned heavily on him, especially in the second half to put the game away. Zamir White got a couple carries and flashed his own speed and toughness. Hopefully, the team works White into the gameplan more in future games to keep Jacobs fresh and healthy.
The Denver secondary is a tough assignment for any receiver group. Patrick Surtain II was a monster in this game with tight coverage and a pair of pass breakups. Despite no passing touchdowns, Davante Adams was targeted 13 times and had nine catches for 101 yards. Mack Hollins had three catches for 33 yards and has established himself as a legitimate No. 2 option in the passing game. Darren Waller had three catches for 24 yards. The Raiders’ running game was working so well that the receivers were not a focal point in this game, but given the opponent they faced, they did just fine.
Despite giving up two sacks, this was the best game of the season for the Raiders’ offensive line. Alex Bars and Dylan Parham got the starts at the guard positions with Andre James at center. Apparently, this combination contained the magic that made the running game work, because these guys absolutely mauled Denver up front and blew open massive holes for Jacobs while also giving Carr plenty of time to throw when he needed it. The Raiders have tried several different offensive line groups so far; maybe this one sticks.
Las Vegas Raiders Grades: The Defense
It would be tough to ask for more from a defensive line than what the Raiders brought this week. Maxx Crosby was an absolute assassin with two sacks and four tackles for loss. Chandler Jones had two tackles, and the Broncos’ only option to stop him was to commit holding penalties. Bilal Nichols and Johnathan Hankins stuffed the run, and Nichols got some good pressure on Russell Wilson. Denver was only able to rush for 85 yards, and much of that was due to the tremendous play of the Raiders’ D-line.
The Raiders’ two leading tacklers in this game were Divine Deablo and Denzel Perryman, with eight and five tackles, respectively. Perryman left the game with a concussion, but not before he picked up two tackles for loss. The linebackers weren’t spectacular, but they did their job.
Nate Hobbs and Amik Robertson stepped up with Rock Ya-Sin out for this game. While playing his usual outstanding coverage, Hobbs had a sack and a pass breakup. Robertson recovered from a shaky start to the game and played like an absolute beast, returning a fumble for a touchdown. Wilson was able to complete 17 of 25 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns, so this unit could have been better, but they got off the field on third downs late in the game when necessary to preserve the Raiders’ lead.
*Top Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports