Darren Waller

Raiders TE Darren Waller Is Back, Reintroduces Himself With 1st Half TD

The 2022 NFL season has been a rough one for Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller. While the offseason treated him nicely with a new contract, he hasn’t made nearly the impact fans envisioned. Hobbled by a nagging hamstring injury, Waller reminded folks on Sunday of why he’s one of the best at his position.

At the 5:22 mark of the second quarter, Waller scored up the middle of the New England Patriots’ defense. On a beautiful 25-yard play, Waller showed why he’s still a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

Waller’s touchdown reception marked his first reception since Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs. As Raiders fans recall, Waller was pulled from that game after just a few plays. Since then, Waller’s tenure with the Raiders has been a tumultuous one, mostly from a fan’s perspective. Even before the Chiefs game, many observers were pointing to Waller’s apparent lack of commitment, pointing to his on-field language. The way the team handled his injury also left fans feeling jaded. If he was injured, why not simply place him on injured reserve rather than continue teasing a return that never came?

Instead, Waller’s return took a full month to come full circle. Nevertheless, his touchdown reception against the Patriots has silenced some of that doubt. Whether you’re still a fan of Waller or not, his talent and impact are undeniable. When healthy, he creates a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. Moving forward, with Davante Adams out there along with Hunter Renfrow also being back, maybe the Raiders’ offense can find a more balanced passing attack. Regardless of Sunday’s result, having a healthy Waller will be crucial for the Raiders. That’s even more true when you consider that the playoffs are still very much in play for this team.

*Top Photo: Chris Unger/Getty Images

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