Throughout the 2016 season, it doesn't seem to matter the circumstances, the Oakland Raiders keep finding ways to win.
After surrendering a 24-7 lead to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, the Raiders roared back in the fourth quarter, eventually taking care of business and beating the reigning NFC champs 35-32 on a 23-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski with less than two minutes left in regulation.
Following the Week 12 victory, the Raiders now boast a 9-2 record, and have secured their first winning season in 14 years. However, Head Coach Jack Del Rio's bunch isn't celebrating anything just yet, and will now begin preparing for their next challenge, a home matchup with the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.
However, before we look ahead to Rex Ryan, Tyrod Taylor, and Co., let's take a look back at the playtime percentages from the win over the Panthers, and see what we can learn from the numbers.
The offensive line goes the distance– Once again, the Raiders starting offensive line of Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Austin Howard played all 74 offensive snaps for the Silver and Black. While the run game failed to reignite in a big way Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the big fellas up front did do a tremendous job for the most part in keeping the Raiders quarterbacks upright. Although the group did allow a pair of sacks, the Raiders still rank No. 1 in the NFL, having allowed just 13 all season.
Carr returns in a big way– On the second play from scrimmage in the second half, Derek Carr fumbled the exchange from center Rodney Hudson, injuring the pinky on his right hand in the process. However, No. 4 missed just one series, and then returned in grand fashion, eventually helping lead the Silver and Black down the field for what would turn into the game-winning drive. In total, Carr played 70 offensive snaps (95%) finishing his day with 315 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Crabtree bounces back– After a somewhat disappointing effort last week at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the veteran wideout made sure to bounce back in a big way and leave his imprint on Sunday's game against the Panthers. Crabtree played 65 snaps (88%) in the win over the Panthers, hauling in eight passes from Carr for a season-high 110 yards. No. 15 also showed up in the biggest moments of the game, in particular on a 3rd and nine, late in the fourth quarter, when Crabtree – fighting through pass interference – corralled a 49-yard pass that launched the Raiders into Panthers territory.
Khalil Mack dominates –Khalil Mack certainly looked the part of an All-Pro defensive end Sunday afternoon against the Panthers offensive line. The versatile edge rusher played all 65 defensive snaps, and dominated from the first whistle, totaling an impressive stat line of six tackles, one sack, three quarterback hits, one interception, one pass defensed, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Mack was an absolute monster against the Panthers, and don't look now, but he certainly looks to be throwing his hat in the ring for Defensive Player of the Year consideration.
Cory James fills in **– With veteran linebacker Perry Riley, Jr., ruled inactive 90 minutes before kickoff, rookie linebacker Cory James was thrust into the starting lineup for the Raiders Week 12 clash with the Carolina Panthers. The former Colorado State Ram responded well too, playing all 65 defensive snaps and finishing the win with four total tackles.
"I made some good plays, and I made some bad plays," said James. "There's always room for improvement."
Sean Smith steps up– The Raiders were down one of their base cornerbacks Sunday afternoon, as David Amerson wasn't able to suit up against the Panthers as he recovered from injury. However, Sean Smith more than picked up the slack in Amerson's absence, playing 62 snaps (95%) and holding up in coverage pretty well all afternoon. Yes, No. 21 did surrender a touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin, but to be fair, the Panthers wideout made a phenomenal play on the ball that resulted in six points for Carolina. In total, Smith finished the Week 12 win over the Panthers with three tackles, and a pair of passes defensed.