Kicker Sebastian Janikowski
The Oakland Raiders took care of business on the road Sunday afternoon at EverBank Field, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-16. With the win, the Raiders now own a 5-2 record, and are an even more impressive 4-0 away from home.
With a Week 8 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the horizon, the Raiders will be staying in Florida for the week instead of returning back to the Bay Area.
Let's take a look at five takeaways from the team's Week 7 win over the Jaguars.
1. Sebastian Janikowski was locked in
The 38-year-old kicker showed no signs of age Sunday afternoon at EverBank field, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts, including one from 52 – his 55th of 50-or-more yards for his career.
Not only did Janikowski account for nearly half of the Raiders points Sunday afternoon, he also ensured that the team was able to come away with something positive on the scoreboard after the Silver and Black's first two trips to the red zone didn't end in a touchdown.
Now in his 17th season, the Polish national is showing no signs of slowing down, and with his four successful field goals, he now has 12 for the season, and is now in sole possession of 11th on the NFL All-Time Scoring list.
2. The Raiders stay hot on the road
So much for not being able to win in the Eastern Time Zone, right?
With Sunday's win over the Jaguars, Head Coach Jack Del Rio's group has yet to take a loss on the road, and all four of their wins have come east of the Mississippi River.
"We have a great staff, from the equipment people, to [Head] Coach Jack [Del Rio], Coach Ken [Norton], Coach [Bill] Musgrave," said defensive end Khalil Mack. "Everyone gets us ready, and is on the same page. The big picture is to win the ball game, and everyone is on the same page."
For whatever reason, the Silver and Black have truly looked like a different team when they've hit the road in 2016, and whether it's an increased sense of focus, or an us-against-the-world-type mentality, it's been impressive to watch the team go about its business away from home, and Sunday was no exception.
The team's next road test will come in short order, as Derek Carr and Co. head to Tampa Bay next weekend for a Week 8 showdown with the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in a bid to open the season 5-0 on the road.
3. Latavius Murray provided a much-needed boost to the running game
When all was said and done, and the Raiders had boarded their flight to Sarasota, 33-16 win in hand, the Silver and Black had tallied 144 yards on the ground, their most since Week 2.
It's no coincidence that the resurgence on the ground also coincided with the return of running back Latavius Murray, who had missed the previous two games recovering from a toe injury.
"Obviously, we knew it was going to be a grind," Murray said. "We did what we had to do. I felt really good being able to just be out there and play again, just happy, that I'm back, and most importantly that we got the win. Now it's on to the next one."
While Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington no doubt filled in admirably while Murray was on the shelf, the rookie tandem has a distinct style that is different than No. 28's.
Standing at 6'4" and weighing 225 pounds, Murray is a bruising back that has the ability to gain tough yards in traffic, and that skillset is something that the Raiders missed – particularly last weekend in the less-than-ideal conditions for the team's matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
While Murray accounted for just 59 rushing yards in Sunday's win, his presence back on the field provided a jolt to the entirety of the running game.
4. Michael Crabtree just keeps making plays
Death, taxes, and Michael Crabtree making a big play when the Raiders need one.
With 0:14 left in the first half, and the Raiders up 13-6, Carr found wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the end zone to help balloon the lead to 20-6 heading into the locker room.
In total, the veteran wideout finished the day with eight catches for 96 yards and one score, and whenever the Raiders needed a big play, No. 15 seemed to answer the call.
"Michael Crabtree made some incredible plays today for us," Head Coach Del Rio said. "There was one early in the game on third down where the ball was out way before he turned his head around, and he made a tremendous play there for a third down conversion. Throughout the game he came up big for us, and I thought he played really, really well for us. Obviously our quarterback is a good player. He did a good job for us hooking up with different receivers, but today Carr to Crabtree was special."
That theme of Crabtree being special has seemed to manifest itself all season, and Sunday's effort was more of the same from "King Crab."
5. There's still a lot to clean up
Yes, the Raiders took care of business, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon, but as Head Coach Del Rio constantly preaches, there are always areas of the game to improve upon, even in victory.
"It's a step," cornerback David Amerson said. "It's a step. It wasn't perfect. We definitely got stuff we can fix, but like I said, it's a step in the right direction. We got the win. We kind of limited their offense, what they really wanted to do, and like I said, it's a step we can grow off of."
While the Raiders got the most of the Jaguars, the team still committed 11 penalties for 117 yards, and going forward, that's a number that Head Coach Del Rio and staff would assuredly like to see lowered.
Seemingly to a man, the Silver and Black have all said that there are things they need to improve on going forward, but it's encouraging that while there's still a lot to get better at, the team owns a 5-2 record, and is sitting atop the AFC West.