Finally, the Raiders looked like the team we hoped they would be versus the Chargers. The wins over the Broncos and Seahawks were ugly. This one did not start great but it did not come down to the last play.
Vegas disrupted Justin Herbert often. They stuck with the run early and late. Even when results were mixed, the Raiders stuck with their gameplan. Derek Carr wasn’t perfect but he converted strategic shots that helped the team catchup and pull away. The Raiders are on a three game winning streak and they deserve credit for that.
Even in the scheme of bad Chargers offensive lines, I’ve never seen the Los Angeles offensive line play so bad. It’s hard to tell if the Raiders success stems from their own growth or the Chargers lack of talent. Either way, they are starting to build momentum after playing two of their best games this season over the last two weeks. I’ll start believing they turned over a new leaf if they can dominate another winnable matchup in the Rams, with only a few days rest. Hopefully, Chandler Jones’ 3 sacks versus the Chargers was not a fluke. Let’s see if Jerry Tillery and Clelin Ferrell can build on last week too. They did face a really inexperienced offensive line on a Chargers offense that was down key receivers.
Either way, shout out to Tillery for making some plays versus his old team. I was worried with Andrew Billings out. However, Tillery added some get off, length and gap penetration. Of course, the interior run defense wasn’t the same without Billings. Yet, the pocket collapsed from the inside more last week. Let’s see the interior line keep it up on Thursday Night.
As for the offensive line, it was not their best game of the year. They got mixed up on some stunts. It would also be great if they could get more push on their double teams.
Jermaine Eluemunor looked good. He did a better job keeping his feet alive, staying balanced and using leverage. Khalil Mack did not break the box score. They did their best to neutralize the elite rusher. Otherwise, Carr and Jacobs really did the line a lot of favors. There honestly should’ve been more sacks and negative plays.
Regardless, the important thing is the Raiders did not get swept by the Chargers. They made up grown versus their AFC West foe and moved two spots up in the AFC playoff race. Vegas is in the tenth spot, two games behind the Jets for the final playoff spot.
The Raiders will not have much time to celebrate their wins. They play L.A.’s other team in SoFi on Thursday. Expect a full Raiders Nation takeover with the Rams down their starting quarterbacks. The Rams signed Baker Mayfield who has had success versus the Raiders before. He is also fresh.
Still, this is the Raiders game to lose. Davante Adams will face off versus Jalen Ramsey but the Vegas passing game should still find an advantage with Aaron Donald out. Bobby Wagner had an amazing game last week versus his old team. He could be huge in this game, especially if Josh Jacobs is not a hundred percent. Still, the Raiders gotta get some surge versus the Rams front before they worry about Wagner or the backers. Greg Gaines can give the interior line some problems and Leonard Floyd still offers enough length and speed to gibe the Raiders tackles issues.
Los Angeles did show some life with Cam Akers back. The Raiders will need to stay discipline as the Rams should run the ball. Vegas should also expect some trickery from the Home team that is struggling to move the ball. TuTu Atwell had his best game at receiver last week. Van Jefferson can also make plays at receiver. It’s not a lot but enough for the Rams to give the Raiders inconsistent secondary problems. Double true if Rock Ya-Sin remains out.
Overall, this is a winnable game for the Raiders. That’s also what makes it scary. How many times have we seen the Raiders lose to teams they should beat?
If Josh McDaniels wants to prove he is building Rome, he needs to show he can win winnable games. Beating division foes and winning in OT is great but winners beat the teams their supposed team. Vegas can not make it easy for the Rams to hang around with penalties and turnovers.
The Raiders should come out aggressive again on defense. They need to attack whoever plays QB. Our defense will also get tested versus Cam Akers.
Vegas needs to take what they want on offense. Push the ball down the field when necessary but stick to feeding Jacobs as much as possible. If the Raiders can execute, they should leave their second home with a win. That will give them a fourth-straight win headed into a matchup with the Patriots. Not only is that McDaniels’ former team, but the Pats are on spot above the Raiders in the standings. One game at a time but the Raiders playoff hopes get an inch bigger with a win over the Rams this week.