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Foster Moreau, Raiders offensive line give unsung performances in the face of adversity

Less than two hours before kickoff, Darren Waller was ruled out of the game with an ankle injury.

According to Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia, the injury was sustained late in Friday's practice, and while Waller did go through a few pregame drills and routes, it was decided that he wasn't at full strength and couldn't suit up.

But like the Raiders have been able to do much of this season – they turned a negative into a positive.

Behind the Silver and Black's target leader on the tight end depth chart is Foster Moreau, the 2019 fourth-round pick who had eight career receiving touchdowns going into the game versus the Eagles. No eyes seemed to blink on the Raiders' sideline.

"When Darren is out, we believe Foster is a starting tight end. So when he gets to play, it's not like, 'Oh, Darren's out,' it's 'Foster gets to play,'" said Derek Carr. "Obviously [Waller] is one of the best players on our football team, but at the same time it's like, 'Oh, Foster gets to play!'"

Good thing Moreau did get to play, as he was provided the opportunity to have a performance that was as good as you could get. The backup tight end led the Raiders in receiving yards (60) and scored a touchdown on a hell of catch over Eagles safety Marcus Epps' helmet. Unfortunately for Moreau, he didn't remember very much about the catch, claiming to have "kinda blacked out."

"I read pre-snap that it was going to be a two shell, and on the snap of the ball it had rolled, and I was in danger," Moreau said postgame on his recollection of his touchdown. "And I ran for five yards like I was the Tasmanian Devil and had no idea what I was doing. Thank God for Derek, just giving me a chance. ... Just happy to get in."

Alongside No. 87, the other stellar performance of the afternoon for the offense came collectively from the big boys up front. The offensive line completed its second straight game allowing no sacks and was responsible for keeping Carr's jersey clean in a career night for him. Carr completed over 91 percent of his passes with 327 yards and two touchdowns.

"I think the offensive line today set the tempo for what we were trying to do," said Coach Bisaccia. "Not only in the run game but pass protection. I think – what was Derek, 31-of-34 today? They kept him clean with no sacks.

"I think they're a young group that's on the come [up] and they've been practicing extremely, extremely hard, working on putting their hands inside, doing a lot of those things. They were exciting to watch today."

The offensive line's play not only propelled the passing attack, but the ground game as well. The Crimson Tide backfield of Kenyan Drake and Josh Jacobs combined for nearly 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Left tackle Kolton Miller – who has yet to allow a sack this season – praised the offensive line for the adjustments they've been able successfully make this season.

"Asking Alex Leatherwood to go from right tackle – he played left, then we made some adjustments to go to right guard, and Brandon Parker stepping up along with John Simpson, I believe we see a firmer pocket presence," said Miller. "We're just getting it rolling and I hope we can keep building off of this because we've made some huge strides, and I'm really proud of our guys."

"Foster had a hell of a game, too," Miller added. "Coming back, sifting and making big blocks."

The Raiders now go into their bye week at 5-2, their highest win percentage going into their bye since 2016. Awaiting them coming out is a road trip to the East Coast to play the 2-5 New York Giants.

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