Linebacker Bruce Irvin
The Oakland Raiders flew to Mexico City Sunday afternoon, and then just over 36 hours later, they flew back to the Bay Area with a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans in tow.
While the Week 11 win certainly wasn't the prettiest of the season, a win is a win in the NFL, and following the victory, the Silver and Black are now 8-2, and own sole possession of first place in the ultra-competitive AFC West.
There is hardly any rest for the weary, as Head Coach Jack Del Rio and the first place Raiders will now have to regroup and prepare to host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
However, before we shift our focus entirely to the Week 12 clash with the Panthers, let's take a look back at the playtime percentages from the win over the Texans, and see what we can learn from the numbers.
The offensive line goes the distance –The starting offensive line of Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Austin Howard played all 53 offensive snaps in the Monday night win over the Houston Texans, and while the Raiders had a hard time establishing the run against the stout Texans front, the group showed up when it was absolutely necessary to secure a win. The big guys up front were vital in helping the Raiders run out the final 3:03 of the game, and they also kept Derek Carr upright for the entire game, not allowing a sack of No. 4.
Amari Cooper seals the deal– The talented, second-year wide receiver played 42 offensive snaps (79%) in the win over the Texans, and while his individual stats might not be overly impressive, Cooper made sure to make his mark on the Week 11 primetime clash against the Texans. In total, he caught four passes for 57 yards, but his 35-yard touchdown with 4:51 left in regulation proved to be the difference in the game.
Jamize Olawale finds the end zone– Who says that fullbacks don't have any speed? Olawale played just 16 offensive snaps (30%) Monday night at Estadio Azteca, but No. 49 no doubt made the most of his time on the field as he turned in arguably the most explosive play of the evening. With 10:57 left in the fourth quarter, and the Silver and Black down by seven, Carr connected with the versatile fullback who took the pass 75 yards to the house for the longest receiving touchdown of his career. Not only was the 75-yard score the longest of Olawale's career, but it was also it was the longest by a Raiders running back since 1995, and his 90 receiving yards led both teams.
Bruce Irvin paces the defense– The dynamic linebacker played 69 snaps (91%) in the Week 11 win, and delivered one of the best performances of his short career in Silver and Black. Not only was Irvin flying around and constantly near the football, No. 51 also filled the stat sheet up, finishing the matchup against the Texans with 10 total tackles, one sack – his third of the season – two tackles for loss, and one quarterback hit. Not a bad day at the office for Mr. Irvin.
Malcolm Smith picks off Brock Osweiler **– Coming into Monday's game, the Raiders defensive front wanted to pressure Osweiler into making some dangerous throws, and in the waning moments of the first half they did just that, as Smith picked off the Texans quarterback just after the two-minute warning. In total, Smith played 74 defensive snaps (97%), totaling 10 tackles, the aforementioned interception, as well as one pass defensed.
Stacy McGee returns to action– After missing three games due to injury, the athletic defensive tackle returned to action Monday night at Estadio Azteca, playing 25 snaps (33%) in his first game action in nearly a month. McGee ended his night with two tackles, and a tackle for loss, and overall, No. 92 was pleased with his return to the gridiron.
"It felt good just to be back there on the field," said McGee. "I didn't feel quite like myself, but I have time to improve and get better, but it felt good just to be out there with the team, helping them win and make plays."