An emotional win. A big win. The Raiders made it through the toughest stretch of the schedule 3-2. Now the Raiders have a month at home and play three unspectacular teams. Two are division foes and anything can happen. Raiders have plenty of things to work on in practice this week and the coaching staff will not let the players look past the Cleveland Browns.
A few players really stood out in the Raiders win and a few, well, didn’t.
Pushed the pile all day long and had the awareness to make the interception on one of the many Matt Schaub tips. Houston had a heck of game in Houston as did the rest of the defensive line. The Raiders really needed the defensive line to take over the game and the Raiders defensive line did just that and Houston was a big part of the Raiders day. Honorable Mention: John Henderson
He had the worst game of his career against the Texans the last time he faced them, but one of his best this Sunday. The Texans had no answer for the Raiders bigs pushing the offensive line into Schaub’s lap. Kelly was pushing the pocket and sealing Arian Foster out of running lanes. A motivated Tommy Kelly is one heck of a football player. He proved that again on Sunday.
Three studs on the Raiders defensive line. They deserved it and you could really give a stud mention to this entire unit. Seymour applied tremendous pressure up the middle with Kelly and any yardage Foster gained didn’t come through the middle. Seymour had a sack and was beating double teams which prompted the Raiders to blitz Rolando McClain up the middle which disrupted Schaub even more. Al Davis traded a first round pick for Seymour and to this point he has been worth it and then some.
Heyward-Bey had 99 yards on six receptions on Sunday with one touchdown and was two out-of-bounds throws by Jason Campbell from nine receptions for 150+ yards and a touchdown. Did I mention Heyward-Bey is also a great blocker? Heyward-Bey played his best game as a professional on Sunday. Heyward-Bey played with the kind of swagger great receivers play with and his profile with the Raider Nation is turning in his favor.
Michael Huff & Tyvon Branch
The Raiders starting safeties had some tough moments, but Branch had a few key tackles and kept Schaub from walking into the end zone on the game’s final play. Huff stepped in from of Schaub’s final pass to seal the big win for the Raiders. That’s enough to get stud recognition despite the team’s struggles covering backs out of the backfield and covering the Texans tight ends.
Not only was the guy all over the field on kick coverage, but he checked to the fake on the punt that gave the Raiders new life and kept the momentum in the Raiders favor. He’s the Raiders special teams captain and he plays like one. He’s quickly become on of my favorite Raiders to watch. Just watch him work on special teams because it is a thing of beauty.
Gave up too many catches for an “elite” cornerback. The Patriots ran a quick slant that Routt wasn’t able to defend and the Texans took advantage of the same play to get their first score. He’s still clearly the Raiders best corner, but he’s not playing at an amazingly high level that is making the team forget about Nnamdi Asomugha. That’s troubling, because the two players are making about the same amount.
The 12-men on the field penalty on the final drive was a direct result of Groves lack of hustle to get off the field and it cost the Raiders crucial time at the end of the game. Groves also blew his coverage assignment on Texans fullback Lawrence Vickers only for Vickers to drop the sure touchdown. Groves was nowhere to be found when Arian Foster was catching swing passes out of the backfield. He’s still rounding into form as a linebacker, but he isn’t good enough to make up for his own mistakes.
Forced too many throws and didn’t always give his receivers a chance to catch the ball. Way too many missed receivers. He missed Chaz Schilens on the flea flicker and threw several passes to Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore that took the receivers out of pounds or where just too far out of reach. Campbell made enough plays to redeem himself and the touchdown pass to Schilens was a highlight, but he has to play better for the Raiders offense to take the next step. The next step for the Raiders offense is producing when Darren McFadden isn’t putting up be yardage on the ground.
He redeemed himself with a big special teams tackle on Shane Lechler’s final punt, but he committed a penalty and was getting into Denarius Moore’s way on punt returns. The Texans special teams units pushed Jones back into Moore as well. Jones can’t stay active on gameday without his special teams ability, so the Raiders will continue putting him into position to make a play on special teams. Let’s hope his stop on special teams is the real Jones.