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Film Review: Top Special Teams Plays Of 2015

Coaches of all levels of football continuously stress the importance of winning all three phases of a game – offense, defense and special teams – in order to be successful.

While offense and defense typically garner most of the attention, the importance of special teams in the NFL can't be overstated, particularly in games that so often come down to the final moments and a handful of key plays.

The Silver and Black's special teams unit was under the guidance of special teams coordinator Brad Seely in 2015, and in his first season at the helm, the group did not have a shortage of momentum-changing plays.

That being said, let's breakdown five of the best special teams plays from the 2015 campaign.

Week 2 vs. Baltimore Ravens

Situation: Fourth quarter (13:37). Raiders up 30-23, Raiders on their own 23-yard line, facing a 4th and 7.


**In 2015, punter Marquette King emerged as a legitimate weapon for the Raiders' special teams unit.

His thunderous leg was never in question, but this season, he really improved on his directional punting and became a much more multifaceted kicker.

However, it was his raw power that was on display Week 2 when the Silver and Black took on the Baltimore Ravens.

With 13:37 left in the final frame, King received the snap from long snapper Jon Condo, stepped into his punt and sent the ball flying through the air at Coliseum.

Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., went back deep to return the punt, but did not make a play on the ball, instead electing to let it fall to his left.

King and the Raiders got a friendly bounce, and the ball rolled to the end zone until Taiwan Jones downed it at the Ravens' seven-yard line, resulting in a 70-yard punt for the Raiders' dynamic punter.

Week 11 vs. Detroit Lions

Situation: Third quarter (0:20). Raiders up 10-9, Raiders on the Detroit 38-yard line, facing a 4th and 11.


**One thing that has never been questioned about the Raiders' veteran placekicker, is his powerful leg, and it was on full display once again in 2015.

Janikowski attempted five kicks of 50-or-more-yards* *this season, connecting on four of them, including a season-high 56-yarder against the Detroit Lions.

With the Silver and Black up by a point in the final seconds of the third quarter, Janikowski trotted out in attempt to extend the lead for his team.

Long snapper Jon Condo snapped the ball to punter Marquette King who was serving as Janikowski's holder, who in turn spun the ball around so the laces were facing out.

Janikowsi did the rest, getting off a clean kick that effortlessly sailed through the uprights at Ford Field. 

Week 14 vs. Denver Broncos

Situation: Fourth quarter (14:55). Raiders down 12-9, Raiders on their own 30-yard line, facing a 4th and 15.


**The Raiders were down by three to start the fourth quarter, and after an incomplete pass on third down, Marquette King trotted out to punt on 4th and 15.

He received the snap, a good one, from long snapper Jon Condo, and proceeded to boom it deep into Broncos territory.

While the ball was airborne, Condo, after laying a quick block on Shane Ray, sprinted downfield towards Emmanuel Sanders who was fielding the punt.

Sanders muffed the punt, and after the ball squirted away from him, Condo dove on the free ball, recovering it at the Denver 11-yard line, injuring his shoulder in the process, which cost him of his 2015 season.

Condo's big play paid immediate dividends, as the Raiders were able to score on the ensuing possession, which ultimately ended up being the difference in the game.

Week 15 vs. Green Bay Packers

Situation: Second quarter (5:11). Raiders down 14-6, Raiders on their own 38-yard line, facing a 4th and 2.


**Earlier in this film review Marquette King's raw power was on full display, now we take a look at his improved finesse ability.

With just over five minutes left in the second quarter, the Raiders sent King out to flip the field and that's precisely what he did.

After fielding a low snap from long snapper Thomas Gafford, King stepped into the punt and sent another booming kick towards the end zone. However, this one fell inside the five-yard line and instead of bouncing back into the end zone, it bounced straight up, giving the Raiders' coverage team a chance to get down the field and down the ball.

Taiwan Jones was the first one on the scene and he knocked the ball back towards a contingent of Raiders, with Keith McGill eventually downing the football at the two-yard line.

Situation: Fourth quarter (1:12). Raiders down 30-20, Packers on the Oakland 31-yard line, facing a 4th and 6.


**After failing to convert on third down, the Packers sent out Mason Crosby to attempt a 49-yard field goal with Green Bay up 10 in the final minutes.

Autry lined up in between defensive tackle Dan Williams and defensive end Shelby Harris to the left of Packers long snapper Bret Goode.

After the ball was snapped, Autry got a good push on the player directly in front of him, defensive tackle Letroy Guion, and stuck his left hand up in the air as soon as the ball was kicked.

He timed his jump perfectly and batted down Crosby's kick at the line of scrimmage.

Teammate Curtis Lofton recovered the live ball and proceeded to return the ball 12 yards to the Oakland 39-yard line.

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