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Khalil Mack Returns To Form: Five Lessons We Learned From The Raiders Clash With The Lions

For the first time in 2015, the Oakland Raiders are in the midst of a losing streak.

After jumping out to a 4-3 record, the Silver and Black have now dropped three games in a row and haven't put a tally in the win column since their Week 8 victory over the New York Jets.

The team's most recent stumble came Sunday as they traveled to Detroit and lost to the Lions 18-13 in a game that was there for the taking until the fourth quarter.

While the Raiders didn't play their best game of the season, they were able to hang tight with the Lions, but just could not muster enough at the end to come away with a win.

The Raiders now find themselves staring down a critical matchup with the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium Sunday, but before we officially delve into dissecting the Titans, let's find out what learned from the loss to the Lions.

The Pass Rush Will Be Alright

Much was made about Aldon Smith's suspension last week for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, and one question headed into the matchup with the Lions, and the rest of the season in general, was if the Raiders defensive line would be able to generate a significant pass rush.

Well, at least for a day, that question was answered.

When all was said and done, the Raiders sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford 4 times and in addition that, they also tallied 4 quarterback hits.

After a quiet couple of weeks, defensive end Khalil Mack showed up in a big way against Detroit, totaling 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and was a disruptive force all afternoon.

Will the Raiders miss Aldon Smith's talent and work rate each Sunday? Yes; but after witnessing the effort they put together against the Lions, it looks like they're more than capable of supplementing his productivity going forward.

The Ground Attack Just Couldn't Get Rolling

In the Raiders last two wins, against the Jets and Chargers respectively, they have rushed for 118 and 130 yards.

In their last two losses though? Just 134 yards total – and only 50 yards Sunday against the Lions.

The Detroit run defense, which was ranked last in the NFL prior to Sunday, managed to hold running back Latavius Murray in check – surrendering just 28 yards on 13 carries and making the Raiders offense one dimensional for most of the contest.

Head Coach Jack Del Rio has said that he wants the team to be balanced in their offensive attack, but unfortunately that wasn't the case Sunday at Ford Field.

"We just weren't sustaining drives, and when we're not out there on the field, we can't go out there and make plays and put points on the board," said Murray. "When we get down there, we need touchdowns."

The Return Jobs Remain A Revolving Door

For whatever reason, the Raiders haven't been able to generate any type of spark or electricity in the return game this season.

They also haven't been able to find any consistency at the position either, and Sunday Seth Roberts was the man charged with returning kicks, returning 2 for 47 yards. Amari Cooper was tasked with the punt return duties and returned 4 for 16 total yards.

Now, the Raiders inability to spark something in the return game isn't responsible for their recent losing streak, however, an added jolt in the special teams game would go a long way, especially in the midst of this recent malaise.

Seabass Continues Doing Seabass Things

After not attempting a field goal in two games, Sebastian Janikowski came back with a vengeance Sunday at Ford Field.

The dome in Detroit provided pristine kicking conditions for the Raiders veteran kicker, and he sure took advantage, knocking in field goals from both 48 and 56 yards out.

Janikowski's 56 yarder in the waning moments of the third quarter was his season long, but afterwards the Polish national acted like it was it was business as usual, and in his defense, it pretty much was.

With the successful attempt, the 37-year-old kicker has now connected on 51 career field goals from 50-or-more-yards. With those 51 successful attempts, he now just trails Jason Hanson (52) by one for the NFL's all-time record for 50-yard field goals.

As Derek Carr Goes, So Go The Raiders

It's been the narrative all year for the 2015 Raiders – the team will go as far as second-year quarterback Derek Carr takes them.

For the first time in over a decade, the Silver and Black finally have their franchise signal caller, but as impressive as he's been in his short career, it's important to remember that he's just 24 years old and has less than 30 career starts under his belt.

While Carr didn't turn the ball over against the Lions, he was also held out of the end zone and threw for just 169 total yards in the contest.

"When we come out and score no points in the first half, we can't have that," Carr said. "'ll have to watch the film and see why that took place, but that just, whatever that is, it just can't happen. So we'll go back to practice and do whatever it takes because that just can't happen. We can't do that to our defense."

Carr's game Sunday was a far cry from the way he's been throwing the ball around the yard the past month or so, but the sporadic inconsistency shouldn't be cause for concern.

The Fresno State-product has shown his ability to bounce back after being knocked down, no pun intended, and after a few mediocre games in a row, Carr will have to do that in a big way against the Tennessee Titans to secure a win for the Silver and Black.

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