Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
After a convincing win Sunday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum over the Denver Broncos, the Oakland Raiders now sit alone atop the AFC West.
On the shoulders of a career day from Latavius Murray, combined with a stout defensive effort by defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.'s group, the Silver and Black took down the reigning Super Bowl champions 30-20 on Sunday Night Football.
With the Raiders bye scheduled for next weekend, the team won't return to the field until Nov. 21 against the Houston Texans at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, but in the wake of Sunday's win, let's take a look back at the playtime percentages from the Week 9 bout with the Broncos, and see what we can learn from the numbers.
Latavius Murray runs wild– The Raiders Pro Bowl running back certainly looked the part Sunday night against the vaunted Broncos defensive front. Murray played 43 offensive snaps (49%), finishing the Week 9 win with 20 carries for 114 yards, and a career-high three touchdowns.
"He's amazing," said quarterback Derek Carr postgame when asked about Murray. "He went to the Pro Bowl for a reason. I think he was second in the AFC for rushing last year. We all know it's tough to run the ball against these teams. He's invaluable. I always say running the ball is tough, but the way he picks up, the way he protects me – if he doesn't pick up those blitzes, all that money we pay up front, it's not going to matter. You have to have someone, they're going to put match-ups on where he has to pick someone up, and he does."
With the effort, No. 28 eclipsed the century mark on the ground for the first time this season, also becoming the eighth Raider to record six rushing touchdowns in a season multiple times, and the first since Michael Bush in 2010-11.
Howard holds up at right tackle– Veteran lineman Austin Howard once again earned the start at right tackle, playing 79 offensive snaps (90%) in the Sunday Night Football win. Howard certainly had his hands full throughout the night, regularly squaring off against All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller, but outside of allowing an early sack, Howard did a good job at limiting Miller's impact on the game. In total, the Raiders surrendered just two sacks on the evening, giving Carr ample time to operate and make his reads all game long.
Cooper paces the wideouts– While Carr didn't find the end zone through the air Sunday night, the Raiders third-year signal-caller was judicious in his approach, finishing the evening 21 of 30 for 184 yards, and more importantly, no turnovers. His favorite target was wide receiver Amari Cooper, who played 67 snaps (76%), and finished the game with six catches for 56 yards, both of which served s a team high.
Hayden and Amerson go the distance out wide– Fighting the lingering effects of a shoulder injury, cornerback Sean Smith wasn't active for the Sunday Night Football showdown at the OACC, and in his stead, DJ Hayden entered the starting lineup. Hayden and David Amerson served as the base cornerbacks for the Silver and Black, both playing all 56 defensive snaps against the Broncos. Combined, the tandem of Hayden and Amerson combined for seven tackles and one pass defensed.
Mack fills up the stat sheet **– Khalil Mack is rounding into form at a good time for the Silver and Black. The All-Pro defensive end played 50 defensive snaps (89%) in the Week 9 win, filling up the stat sheet with three total tackles, two sacks, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit, one pass defensed, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Mack now has seven sacks on the season, and six in the past four games. So much for that slow start for No. 52, right?
Nelson picks off Trevor Siemian– Reggie Nelson put the nail in the Broncos coffin Sunday night, intercepting a Trevor Siemian pass with 2:06 left in the fourth quarter. In total, the veteran safety played all 56 defensive snaps, totaling one quarterback hit, one interception, and a pair of passes defensed. Nelson's interception was his third of the season, and his fifth total takeaway of the regular season.