Raiders' Struggles

3 Pleasant Surprises From Raiders’ Week 7 Victory vs. Texans

A rare feat was accomplished by the Las Vegas Raiders following the bye week; they won. In the last 20 seasons, the Raiders were 4-16 following a bye week, so that was a surprise in the big victory against the Houston Texans. The game was a breath of fresh air for the fan base, as the game was close until it wasn’t. The Raiders trailed 20-17 in the fourth quarter and ended up winning 38-20. Essentially, they showed the fans what could happen when all three phases play well. With that being said, let’s look at some pleasant surprises from the Raiders’ recent victory.

Raiders’ Surprise No. 1: The Offensive Line Is A Strength Now?

One of the biggest question marks for this team heading into the season was the offensive line, and with due cause. They got off to a rocky start, but now seem to have steadied the ship. Josh McDaniels’ O-line has been the driving force behind over 441 rushing yards from Josh Jacobs in the last three games. The protection has been good enough to give Derek Carr time to look around and make a play as well.

The evidence is that there have been no turnovers in the last three games, following five in the first three. The plays are being run right and nobody is forcing the issue. Sparked by the O-line, the offense has averaged a tad bit over 28 points the last three weeks (the defense has scored two touchdowns, so those are defensive points). This big question has steadily improved, and if they are going to make a run, this line must continue this play. They have been a pleasant surprise and continued with stout play against Houston.

Raiders’ Surprise No. 2: Red Zone Scoring

We all know the red zone touchdown marks have been abysmal for years, but against the Texans, the boys from the Nevada desert converted all three drives. It was a nice sight as, at times, this team has been beyond inept in the red zone. Just for fun, let’s also throw in the Carr to Mack Hollins touchdown pass, and that makes the four trips inside the 30 that resulted in the extra point and not a three-point field goal.

The plays were so simple: just run. In other games, it seemed like there was some unnecessary trick play or a forced pass that made the drive stop, but not on this day. All the trips ended with Josh Jacobs running through the Texans’ defense to the point where even if it was flag football, he wasn’t being stopped. A sign of a good team is scoring when they are in a position to score, and with this performance, they showed they can finish the drives off. Can they keep it up? We shall see, but for all drives to end with seven only brings hope going forward.

Raiders’ Surprise No. 3: Las Vegas Closed Out A Game

With two double-digit leads blown this season, nothing has been surefire for the Raiders. Week 7 was not the time to do it again. Once the Raiders took a lead in the fourth, it just expanded. In fact, it ended with a game-sealing interception return that gave a rare double-digit victory. There wasn’t an unforced penalty by the team. Actually, the Texans had two key penalties in the fourth quarter that were decisive in the defeat. The team did look like what many predicted and then did what you’re supposed to do with a team that isn’t as good as you; they took the lead, didn’t look back, and when needed, put the stomp in.

The relief came once Duane Harmon returned the interception, which was welcomed by all of Raider Nation. Let’s be honest, it was surprising due to what we’ve seen this season. This game, with the questions and issues that came from it, also provided hope. It was perfect in terms of a team effort. Obviously, there were some pleasant surprises, as you can tell. Even more surprising is that the Raiders won without having reached their full potential. At least not yet.

Until Teams Can Stop You, Feed Josh Jacobs In The Red Zone

*Top Photo: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

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