The Raiders put it on the Jets in their home opener Sunday, with numerous weapons on full display. Most encouraging from a go-forward perspective is the Raiders put up 45 points with Marshawn Lynch playing limited snaps and Amari Cooper still struggling with drops.
Imagine this team firing on all cylinders.
Their defense, albeit playing the Jets, was fast, aggressive and efficient from the opening snap and special teams once again answered the call to make big plays. This was a game that was won as a complete team, with all three phases excelling when needed.
This team is showing that they have the stars to compete for it all in Derek Carr, Cooper, Crabtree, Mack, et al. Karl Joseph, now healthy, is quickly justifying his draft position and providing the Raiders another pass rush option from the secondary. He’s made numerous wow plays thus far in 2017, without losing his hard-nosed run support.
Offensive line performances are often under the radar, but the Raiders line gets a lot of love. Still, Marshall Newhouse deserves a specific mention due to his ability to solidify the RT position and fit right in. Newhouse looks at home beside four of the best lineman in the game, and the Raiders QB is enjoying tremendous Carr insurance as a result. Yeah, he’s fitting in just fine:
And the running game is continuing to excel.
But we already knew about all of those guys and the great things they are doing on the field. What will continue to take the Raiders to the next level are the performances that don’t always show up on the stat sheet, but are nonetheless incredibly important to such a complete victory, and the players that fill out the roster with depth and talent. Thus far both have been on display in the first two weeks, so let’s take a look at who stood out the most in that regard against the Jets.
SETH ROBERTS, WR
Here is the perfect example of an under-the-radar performance. Roberts had no catches against the Jets, yet his presence on the field was vital to the Raiders success.
It’s well known that Roberts is a good-luck charm – the Raiders have never lost a game in which he’s caught a TD pass. Those who watch the Raiders closely also know that Roberts is a fantastic and willing blocker in the run game, a big part of why the Raiders have a lot of success on the ground.
Cordarrelle Patterson is another somewhat under-the-radar guy that had a big game. His one-cut, block shedding speed burst to the end zone in one of his few carries was beautiful. But so was Roberts’ block to help him get there.
The Raiders hadn’t yet put the game away, but Patterson’s burst made the score 28-13 midway through the third quarter, basically putting it out of reach for the struggling Jets offense.
Roberts’ tenacity on this play is great. In his true fashion he finished his block all the way through the end zone. In fact, he takes out his man with such aggression on this play that he takes another out at the end zone while Patterson strolls in:
The “Dread Pirate” Roberts is loved for his clutch catches – but it’s the dirty work he does on the outside and down the field with his blocking that truly make him valuable to this team every single game.