Report Card: Oakland Raiders vs. Indianapolis Colts

BY Fansided and Gagan Aujla/FanSided via Just Blog Baby • December 26, 2016

A post-game breakdown of the Oakland Raiders win over the Indianapolis Colts, handing out letter grades to each positional group.

The Oakland Raiders have now come off back to back wins and are sitting atop the AFC West with a record of 12-3. Although the Raiders played one of their most complete games this season, this win came with an asterisk. Here’s a breakdown.

Dec 24, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard (30) is defended by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during a NFL football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Colts 33-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Offense

Quarterbacks

Before Derek Carr unfortunately went down with a broken fibula, he appeared to be having one of his better games of the 2016 season. Carr went 20/30 for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with 0 interceptions. Carr had a QBR of 81.6 and a passer rating of 122.6.

Carr started the game off slow by going 1/6, which led to punts on the first two drives. Eventually Carr would find his niche, and would lead the Raiders to 3 straight touchdown drives. Carr really put his foot on the Colts’ defense throat in the 2nd half by giving Oakland a commanding 33-14 lead going into the 4th quarter. Carr was managing this game to near perfection before his injury. According to Pro Football Focus, Carr graded out as the Raiders top offensive player with a grade of 82.5.

After Carr went down, Matt McGloin would enter the game. McGloin, I assume, was asked to go in and just not commit any turnovers and just manage the game. McGloin played exceptional in his limited time, going 2/3 for 29 yards and had a big 19-yard completion to Amari Cooper to seal the win.

Grade: A

Running Backs

The three-headed monster was absolutely unleashed against the Colts defense. As a group, the running backs had a combined 205 yards rushing.

Rookie DeAndre Washington showed why he should never be a healthy scratch again. Washington led the Raiders with 14 carries for 99 yards for an average of 8.3 yards per carry and also rushed for 2 touchdowns, as well as adding a reception for 18 yards which set up the Raiders’ offense deep inside the red zone. Washington was the first Raiders running back to have two 20+ yard touchdown runs in a single game since Darren McFadden did so in 2011.

Jalen Richard lived up to his ‘pockerocket’ nickname. Richard was electric in the first half in which he had runs of 12, 15 and 19 yards and also added a 4-yard touchdown reception to close out the first half. Richard had 66 yards rushing on 6 carries, good for an average of 11 yards per carry and added 3 receptions for 13 yards.

Latavius Murray took a backseat to the rookies in this game. Murray still had a productive day, adding 15 carries for 40 yards and 2 receptions for 11 yards.

Grade: A+

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The wide receivers as a group had a better game than they have had these past two weeks. Michael Crabtree led all receivers with 7 receptions for 90 yards before going out with what looked like an apparent ankle injury.

Amari Cooper also had somewhat of a bounce-back game by accumulating 4 receptions for 72 yards, and had a big 34-yard reception which set up the Raiders offense in prime position to put up some points before the half. Cooper had more yards this past Saturday afternoon than the last two weeks combined.

There was also a rare Andre Holmes citing. Holmes had 3 receptions for 33 yards and on the first play of the 2nd quarter, had a 1-yard touchdown reception.

Clive Walford was the only tight end that was targeted on Saturday. Walford had 2 receptions on 2 targets for 20 yards and had a 5-yard touchdown reception with about 6 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.

Grade: B

Offensive Line

The offensive line had another great game Saturday. At this point in the season there is really no reason to expect anything less from these guys. Per PFF, the offensive line only gave up 3 pressures the entire game. Yes, you heard that correctly.

To go along with a clean pocket for the majority of the game, the o-line opened huge holes, which led to a lot of open field running for the running backs and were a big reason as to why the Raiders rushed for over 200 yards.

Left tackle Donald Penn gave up his first sack of the season and it could not have come at a worse time, considering it potentially knocked Derek Carr out for the rest of the season.

Menelik Watson was able to come in for Austin Howard and play like a dependable right tackle. According to PFF, Watson graded out as the 5th best offensive player with a grade of 75.2. If Watson can stay healthy and play at this rate for the remainder of the season, the Raiders’ offensive line only gets that much stronger.

Rodney Hudson also had himself a game and PFF had him earn a grade of 78.7 which was the 2nd highest grade given to a Raiders offensive player.

Grade: A

Dec 24, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (84) is stopped by Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) during the second quarter at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Defense

Defensive Line

The defensive line had another solid performance, and appeared to be at full strength with the addition of Mario Edwards Jr. It was exciting to see Edwards on the field in situational pass rushes as well as situational run defense. Although Edwards did not show up on the stat sheet, he was on a short leash due to it being his first real in-game action in 4 months. Edwards was on the field for a total of 18 snaps.

Khalil Mack played like a man possessed. According to PFF, Mack registered 9 total pressures, and would have easily had a 3-sack game if Andrew Luck would have held onto the ball for a few milliseconds longer. Mack led all defensive lineman with 3 tackles and registered a PFF grade of 86.2, which led the entire team.

Although the defensive line did not register a sack, there was constant pressure from all facets and the run defense definitely tightened up in the 2nd half after it appeared Frank Gore was on his way to back-to-back 100 yard games.

Grade: B

Linebackers

The linebackers have slowly but surely improved over the last three to four weeks. Malcolm Smith led all Raiders defenders with 8 total tackles and also had a big forced fumble which was recovered in Colts territory, and made it easier on the offense to score.

Perry Riley Jr. also had himself a solid game in which he registered 5 tackles and also recorded a pass defensed. Per PFF, had Riley graded out as the 2nd highest linebacker with a grade of 73.0.

Bruce Irvin has turned himself into the perfect complementary bookend pass rusher, opposite Khalil Mack. Although Irvin only recorded a single tackle, he did the majority of his damage when rushing the passer. Irvin led the Raiders with 3 QB hits and was breathing down Andrew Luck’s neck for the majority of the game.

Grade: B

Defensive Backs

The defensive backs had a very solid 1st half. Both Nate Allen and Reggie Nelson recorded interceptions.

Nelson’s interception in particular came at a great time, in which it seemed like the Colts were primed to score and take a lead into the half, but Nelson did his best Charles Woodson impression and picked one off in the end zone, which would eventually lead to a Raiders touchdown.

The 2nd half is where it got somewhat ugly. The Colts were down 33-7 with about 8 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, so you would expect them to be pass heavy. Andrew Luck led his offense on 2 more scoring drives and the Raiders secondary just did not know how to contain receiver T.Y. Hilton. Hilton finished with 4 receptions for 105 yards receiving.

Although Hilton did not kick a field goal and finish with 8 catches for 160 yards like Nick and Ryan predicted on the podcast, Hilton still had a quality day and it seems like the Just Blog Baby podcast curse did just not work this time. Sorry guys.

Grade: C+

 Special Teams

The special teams did not have an overbearing great day by any stretch of the means. Although, Andre Holmes seems to be consistent name that is brought up every week when it comes to good special teams play. Holmes was able to down a punt inside the 5-yard line which set up the Raiders defense very nicely.

The one gripe that special teams seems to have had on Saturday was Sebastian Janikowski. After a week of praising Seabass after his stellar performance in San Diego, Janikowski would miss his first two extra points of the season against the Colts.

Although one of the extra points appeared to have been tipped, these are free points that need to be taken advantage of. If the Raiders hope to make a deep playoff run, they cannot let their kicker be the death of them.

Grade: B-

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