If Raiders fans knew early in the season they would be only .500 after the three quarters of the season, there would be many curses thrown in all directions. Yet, here they are at 6-6 and Raider Nation could not be happier. After a season, that has featured blow out wins and embarrassing losses, puzzling suspensions, and gutsy performances; the Raiders hold their own fate in their hands. With that in mind, let us review a strange quarter of an even stranger season.
This third quarter has been about as successful as could be expected for a team that started the stretch just 3-5. After a demoralizing loss to the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo loss, the Raiders notched an uninspiring but successful trip to Miami and then promptly suffered the worst loss of the season. With the opportunity to hoist themselves up to .500, the Raiders instead sank even further than before after being absolutely outclassed by the Patriots. Fans cheered themselves up by saying the Patriots do that to most teams, but the front office did not agree and Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr saw a pink slip.
What followed was a noticeable uptick from the defense overall, and a return to the ground game the team was expected to feature early in the season. With a pivotal stretch of two winnable games, the Raiders leaned on Marshawn Lynch to the tune of 168 Yards on the ground and two touchdowns. It was not pretty by any stretch but it by far has been the best four games of the season.
In the five-week, four game stretch that has made up this third quarter here are some notable stats.
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Nine Fumbles (4 lost)
Seven sacks allowed
99.82 Average QB Rating
368 Average Yards per Game
Six Fumbles Forced (3 Recovered)
100.02 Average Opponent QB Rating
229 Average Yards per Game Against
Overall, this season has been one of difficulties but also of character definition. However, the team did not go belly-up as many people suspected may happen after the Bills loss. With the exception of the Patriots, the Raiders did not face a team with a winning record in a month. That said, they took care of business and emerged relatively healthy.
Moreover, they managed to get a win against the New York Giants without their two best perimeter weapons. There are no moral victories in the NFL, and no one will feel sorry for your injuries, but all the same it was a must win and they won. This came after the Raiders pulled out a win against a Denver Broncos team that is in complete freefall after losing Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper early and then late in the game.
In retrospect, there are many reasons to remain concerned with the team’s performance. Opposing quarterbacks still enjoy success. Plus, the ball hits the ground far too frequently. In addition, Carr struggled with accuracy. All the same, the Raiders are still in business, and if they can figure out how to get a win against the Chiefs on Sunday, they will open the final quarter with a lead.
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