Week 2 of the Oakland Raiders' season has come to a close, and following the loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the team's record now stands at 1-1. Even though the final score of the game was 35-28 in Atlanta's favor, the Raiders provided some positive takeaways on the offensive side of the ball.
Last week, the Raiders offensive line came out of the game against the New Orleans Saints banged up. Tackles Menelik Watson and Matt McCants were both injured in the game, and tackle Austin Howard was unavailable due to injury. The team adjusted nicely, shifting left tackle Donald Penn to right tackle, moving guard Kelechi Osemele to left tackle, and inserted Jon Feliciano at left guard.
The versatility of the offensive line earned the team NFL.com's "Offensive Line of the Week" accolade following Week 1. Watson and McCants were inactive for yesterday's game, but the Raiders offensive line was solid in their absence. Howard returned from injury and assumed the role of right tackle, and did a fine job all day. The front line was successful opening up running lanes and protecting quarterback Derek Carr in the pocket.
Carr completed his first four passes of the day, and although his passes weren't for significant gains, the third-year signal-caller had plenty of time to survey the field. Carr's time in the pocket is what's noteworthy, as the offensive line was able to give him room to breathe.
On the day, Carr went 34 of 45 for 299 yards, with three touchdowns, and zero turnovers. The Fresno State-product was technically sacked once, but that occurred because he ran out of bounds for no gain. The offensive line limited the defense all day, and kept Carr untouched.
Penn spoke with the media after the game and talked about what it's like playing with Carr.
"It is great. I love it," said Penn. "He [Carr] is out there fighting his tail off and as an offensive line, we try to make his job easy."
To complement the passing game, the running back corps was able to operate behind the offensive line, and find plenty of space between defenders. On 25 attempts, the Raiders compiled 155 yards on the ground, and averaged 6.4 yards per play when running the ball.
The offensive line served as a firm foundation the majority of the day, putting their physicality and strength on display. They provided Carr and the running backs with ample opportunity to operate, and were able to leave the game uninjured.
Guard Gabe Jackson shared his thoughts on how the offensive line has performed thus far, and what they need to continue doing. "We're all trying to get better every day, and every week improve on what we've been doing," said Jackson. "It's not to be complacent or to talk about how good we've done, just keep being positive and feeding off of it to get better."
The Silver and Black's next matchup will take place in Nashville, Tennessee against the Titans. The Titans have a trio of athletic runners in their offense, from quarterback Marcus Mariota, to running backs Demarco Murray, and Derrick Henry. They should prove to be a good challenge for the Raiders in Week 3.
Kickoff against the Titans is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.