For the second week in a row, the Las Vegas Raiders won an overtime thriller with a walk-off touchdown on the road. Both the offense and defense played well, despite the defense allowing 34 points. This game may have been the most complete effort on both sides of the ball for the Raiders considering the high quality of the opponent. So, whose star shone brightly, and who looked dull?
Las Vegas Raiders: Winners After Week 12
Just when you think there aren’t enough superlatives to describe Jacobs’ season to date, he goes and has a game like this. Jacobs had been questionable on the injury report coming into the Seattle game, but had the best game of his career and, in fact, the best game by a running back in the history of the Raiders franchise. 35 years to the day since Bo Jackson laid a beating on the Seahawks in the Kingdome, Jacobs had an even better game in Seattle with 303 total yardsâ€”229 on the ground and 74 receiving. Even if Jacobs hadn’t rushed for a single yard, he would have been tied for the team lead in receiving yards this game with Davante Adams, who also had 74 yards.
But Jacobs did run, and he could not be stopped. He carried the ball 33 times for 229 yards and two touchdowns, including the 86-yard game-winner in overtime. This is the sort of performance that will live in history the way Bo Jackson’s Monday Night masterpiece has, and it will leave Seattle’s defenders questioning their own existence and sending them back to the drawing board. Josh Jacobs is the best running back in the NFL right now, and considering where the Raiders would be without him, the most valuable offensive player as well.
This game started poorly for Carr, who threw an interception to Quandre Diggs on the first offensive play of the game. He threw another pick to Diggs later in the first half. Aside from that, Carr was masterful. He was 25 of 26 for 295 yards, three touchdowns, and the two picks. His three-touchdown game marks the first time since December of 2020 that Carr has thrown for more than two touchdowns in the same game.
Carr sliced and diced the Seattle secondary all game, completing passes to six different receivers. His touchdown passes were all impressive. First, his wheel route touchdown to Ameer Abdullah was perfectly placed. Later, he escaped pressure to complete a flea-flicker to Mack Hollins that was such a convincing trick that nobody was within ten yards of Hollins. His final touchdown was a floater to the corner of the end zone that Foster Moreau tracked down, but no defender had a chance. Seattle has had a stout defense this year, but Carr didn’t look bothered in the least.
Raiders defensive line
One of the biggest weaknesses for the Raiders this season has been a total lack of pressure up the middle, leaving Maxx Crosby to be the Raiders’ pass rusher all by himself. That did not hold true today, as Raiders DTs Bilal Nichols and Andrew Billings finally remembered they are employed to play football, and they dominated the Seahawks’ interior line all game long. Not only did the pair combine for one and a half sacks, but they shut down what had been an explosive Seattle run game. Chandler Jones came close to a sack or two, but he did recover a key fumble, and Maxx Crosby was in full DPOY form, as he has been all year, collecting 1.5 sacks, four tackles, one tackle for loss, and a whopping six quarterback hits.
The Raiders linebackers are not a very good unit, but Denzel Perryman (when healthy) has been solid, and this was his best game of the year. Perryman was a big part of slowing the Seattle run game with nine tackles, four solo, and two tackles for loss. He also had a pick of Geno Smith, and his 24-yard return set up Jacobs’ first touchdown of the day.
Las Vegas Raiders: Losers After Week 12
You may look at Geno’s final stat line and say, “Oh, that’s not bad.” Geno was 27 of 37 for 328 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. However, watching the actual game showed why Smith still has a long way to go before he reaches an elite NFL level. He had several chances to put the Raiders away, but he simply couldn’t do it. Smith threw a pick to one of the worst coverage linebackers to ever live. He fumbled the ball in the red zone. Smith threw several absolute dime passes to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in this game, but he made critical errors and was ineffective when it mattered most. That’s still streets ahead of where he used to be when he played for the Jets, but he takes the L today.
Kenneth Walker III
Walker has been one of the best rookies in 2022, injecting an explosive element into the Seattle running game that hasn’t been seen since Marshawn Lynch manned the backfield. This game looked like it might be more of the same after Walker plowed into the end zone following Carr’s first pick. But after that, Walker was unable to get anything going, finishing with only 26 rushing yards on 14 carries. Walker has a bright future, but this game is one he’ll want to forget.
This may be the most dominant performance by a Raiders defensive line in years. They utterly destroyed the Seattle offensive line, which failed to consistently open holes for Walker or give Geno Smith time to throw. Many of Geno’s good throws came while he was running for his life. Seattle drafted tackle Charles Cross highly in April, but he was eaten alive by the Las Vegas pass rush in this game, and none of his linemates fared much better. This was an absolutely disastrous game for an O-line that has played well up to this point in the season.
Carroll always has that slack-jawed “what just happened?” look on his face, like he was checking out some chick in the stands and he missed a key play on the field. I can’t blame him for not wanting to watch this game from the sidelines, because Carroll is a defensive coach, and his defense just gave up one of the greatest offensive performances in the history of the NFL. Will Carroll take accountability for that? Nope, he’ll just get in his Subaru Forester and drive home to his mansion and wistfully look at the oil-on-canvas portrait of Bobby Wagner that sits above his fireplace mantle.
*Top Photo: Associated Press/Caean Couto