Inches, literally inches.
That's what Sunday night's game between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum came down to.
With the loss, the Silver and Black fall to 6-8, but with a Monday night clash against the Philadelphia Eagles on the horizon, there's no time for hanging heads. That being said, let's take some time to look back at the playtime percentages from the 20-17 loss, and see what we can learn from a closer examination of the numbers.
The Beast kept rolling– Once again, Marshawn Lynch was a force to be reckoned with on the ground. In total, No. 24 played 51 offensive snaps (73%), carrying the ball 16 times for 76 yards, averaging an impressive 4.8 yards per attempt. "The Beast" has been a man on a mission since he returned from his one-game suspension, and it seems like the veteran running back is actually running harder the longer the season goes on. Headed into Week 16, Lynch has carried the football 163 times for 695 yards and seven touchdowns.
Alexander steps in– Things got a little funky along the offensive line last night, but give credit to Mike Tice's group for making it work regardless. Starting left tackle Donald Penn only played six offensive snaps (9%) before leaving the game with a foot injury, forcing Marshall Newhouse to shift to the left side while Vadal Alexander came in on the right side. Newhouse went the distance, playing all 70 offensive snaps, while Alexander played 66 (94%), and even with the personnel changes along the line, the group was stout up front, not surrendering a sack to the Cowboys vaunted defensive line.
King Crab makes his impact felt– It seems like in 2017, all Michael Crabtree does is catch touchdowns. No. 15 played 61 offensive snaps (87%) in the Week 15 loss to the Cowboys, and while he finished with just 39 receiving yards, he did find the end zone twice. With the two scores, Crabtree now has eight receiving touchdowns on the season, the most of any Raider.
Sean Smith has a big day– The Raiders have had a hard time forcing interceptions in 2017, but that wasn't the case Sunday night as Sean Smith picked off Dak Prescott not once, but twice in the 20-17 loss. The athletic cornerback played 59 defensive snaps (91%), finishing his outing with three tackles, two passes defensed, as well as the pair of aforementioned interceptions.
Bowman paces the defense– Since joining the Silver and Black midway through the 2017 campaign, NaVorro Bowman has been a constant presence in the middle of the team's defense. Sunday night, Bowman played all but one defense snap (98%), totaling a team-high nine tackles, and one tackle for loss, albeit in a losing effort.
Mack keeps eating– Khalil Mack is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year for a reason. Not only has the All-Pro defensive end recorded a sack in five consecutive games, but with two sacks in Sunday's clash with the Cowboys, he now has 10.5 total on the year. Mack played 59 snaps (91%) in the matchup against the Cowboys, filling up the stat sheet with six tackles, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, and the pair of sacks.