The Las Vegas Raiders defense limited the Pittsburgh Steelers to 13 points. However, their offensive performance fell short of expectations. Many folks are blaming the defense for conceding the game-winning touchdown. However, you can’t hold them responsible for an error given that the Raiders’ horrible offense kept them on the field for the majority of the second half. Let’s rate the Raiders’ defensive positional groups based on their performance versus the Steelers.
The Raiders’ Defensive LineÂ
Maxx Crosby once again put on a show during the Raiders’ pass rush, but even that wasn’t enough to spook Kenny Pickett. It is unacceptable to have zero sacks, but Crosby did finish the game with four quarterback hits. Najee Harris had a hard time getting past the Raiders’ defensive line. Harris finished the game with 53 rushing yards on 3.3 yards per carry. The defensive line as a whole gave a lackluster effort, but who will step up if Chandler Jones is sidelined for the remainder of the season?
The Raiders’ linebacker corps versus the Steelers was led by Luke Masterson and Denzel Perryman. Masterson led the Raiders in tackles for the night with a total of 10, and Perryman was responsible for the sole defensive turnover. They were both doing an excellent job of tackling Harris in the open. They were inferior in the passing game, though. Harris nearly finished with more receiving yards than rushing yards because the Steelers were trying to get him in open space. The linebackers gave a great effort in the running game but a subpar one in the passing game.
The cornerbacks for the Raiders, apart from Tyler Hall, played poorly. Pro Football Focus gave Hall the highest defensive rating for the Raiders at the end of the contest. Hall was excellent at tackling and covering the Steelers’ much-heralded receivers. However, Amik Robertson and Nate Hobbs were being tormented alternately by Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. The Steelers’ wideouts’ toughness was having an impact on Robertson and Hobbs. Pickens beat Hobbs to score the game-winning touchdown for the Steelers during the last drive. This grade would have been considerably lower if Hall hadn’t had a great game.
For the Raiders’ safeties, it was an ordinary day. They weren’t put to the test very much on the field because of the bad weather. Trevon Moehrig and Duron Harmon made a total of 13 tackles, showing that they were both reasonably active during the run game. Pat Freiermuth did have a good day in the passing game. He accounted for 66 yards on seven receptions to lead the Steelers’ offense. Due to their smaller size, both Raider safeties allowed Freirmuth to beat them. However, you can’t fault the Raiders’ safeties for their play in a chilly environment.
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*Top Photo: Associated Press/Rick Scuteri