Grant’s Slants: Winning Ugly Is Still Winning

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Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr

No matter what was shown during their game against the 0-9 Cincinnati Bengals, the Oakland Raiders are now 6-4 awaiting the Kansas City Chiefs’ game Monday night to determine their standing. The Raiders beat the Bengals 17-10 to record their third straight win while concluding their three-game homestand. The Raiders’ three game winning streak is their first since 2016 and establishes a tie for first in the AFC West. Despite the game being closer than expected, a win is a win, but there is much to learn:

It’s always something.

It appears that the Raiders simply cannot put forth a perfect game; there are always pieces missing. Today, the missing pieces were the run defense, and surprisingly, the offensive line. Both Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard did not appear to struggle too much running (and catching) the ball today. The pair combined for 116 rush yards, meaning this formerly top 10 ranked rush defense have allowed more than 100 rushing yards in consecutive weeks. The offensive line also struggled, allowing three sacks to a team that had only recorded 10 coming into the game. The Raiders have now allowed six sacks in their last two games.

Finding the positives.

While the run defense struggles, the pass rush has been thriving. The Raiders have recorded NINE sacks in their last two games. Maxx Crosby has begun coming to form and recorded four sacks against the Bengals, bringing his total on the year to 6.5. Benson Mayowa, though quiet on the stat sheet against Cincinnati, has the team lead with seven sacks recorded. Coincidentally, both have recorded more sacks this season than Khalil Mack.

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Josh Jacobs shows he’s human.

For a while, I was questioning whether or not Josh Jacobs was an advanced robot that could simply do no wrong. After his fumble against the Bengals, I can now see Jacobs is simply an elite young running back. Jacobs recorded another monster game against the Bengals, recording 112 rushing yards. Throughout the season, Jacobs has been consistent for the team, and when a player can stay consistent at a high level of play, he is  destined for big things.

Derek Carr is statistically cursed.

The Raiders have completed 10 games this season, and Derek Carr has not thrown for 300 yards in a single game. Against Cincinnati, Carr recorded 292 yards, marking his fourth game with 285+ yards. However, you will find no complaints here, as it is understood that Carr is doing what it takes to win. That being said, just win baby.

Looking forward to the awards.

The Raiders very well could be working with finalists of the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards race. Josh Jacobs and Maxx Crosby have been incredible on their respective ends. Jacobs is trending as the top offensive rookie this season, while Crosby waits in the wings as a bit of a dark horse. But, if Crosby hadn’t turned heads yet, perhaps heads will turn when news of Crosby’s four sack game spreads nationally.

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