Last night, the Oakland Raiders kicked off their season with a thrilling 24-16 over the Denver Broncos. The Raiders used a combination of a pounding run game and timely passing attack to keep the Denver defense off-kilter. In the final home opener in Oakland, the Raiders gave the crowd a reason to cheer for.
While his yardage totals won’t impress many, the accuracy and yards per attempt should. Derek Carr averaged ten yards per throw and completed 84.6 percent of his passes. As a result, he stretched Denver’s defense while moving the ball. More importantly, Carr kept clean in the pocket, enduring nary a sack.
With the tumult circling surrounding Antonio Brown, Tyrell William went to work. Catching six of seven targets for 105 yards with a score, Williams’ play spoke volumes. Without fanfare and soundbytes, Williams found soft spots and excelled. He tortured Broncos’ DB Isaac Yiadom repeatedly. For 2019, the Raiders found their number-one wide receiver.
In his NFL debut, Jacobs provided the Raiders with a glimpse of their plan. Jon Gruden wanted a workhorse back to build the offense around. Jacobs wore the Broncos defense down as he game progress. Additionally, he displayed hands and explosion on a 28-yard catch and run.
Kolton Miller and Trent Brown. Yes, that is not a typo. These two allowed the offense to thrive without much pressure. While everyone figured that Brown would present a mammoth challenge to the elite pass rusher. Now, Miller’s play remained a surprise. Against Bradley Chubb, Miller used an improved punch and footwork to thwart any attempts at a pass rush. Chubb and Miller combined for eight tackles. However, neither laid a hand on Derek Carr. If Miller can build on this, the Raiders can justify Miller’s selection.
Granted, Jonathan Abram is still a rookie, he needs to harness that style. In the modern NFL, officials will flag anything that appears even slightly illegal. Abram blasted Royce Freeman on the sideline. Gareon Conley suffered the effects of friendly fire, which remains purely accidental. However, with this on tape, officials will look for 24 during games.
After tallying just thirteen sacks, the Raiders dropped Joe Flacco three times. Benson Mayowa snagged two of those three. Rookie rusher Clelin Ferrell notched his first sack. Arden flashed better strength and an increased repertoire. After a rough rookie campaign, Key, for at least one game, looks like a different rusher.
The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Oakland for the last time during the regular season. Granted, Patrick Mahomes is light years ahead of Joe Flacco. Plus, Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy and Travis Kelce offer a litany of defensive headache. This is the first of many tests for the Oakland Raiders.