It's often said that Hunter Renfrow isn't the "flashiest" player on the Las Vegas Raiders, but against the New England Patriots that couldn't have been more false.
On a day where the Raiders' offense looked sluggish at times, Renfrow set the tone for the unit by hauling in six receptions, resulting in a game-high 84 receiving yards. It's no secret that Carr's go-to receiver on third down is No. 13, hence the nickname, "Third-and-Renfrow," but he was more than just a third-down target for Carr this afternoon.
Despite not having Henry Ruggs III in the mix to keep the defense honest and losing fellow rookie Bryan Edwards early in the game, Renfrow went toe-to-toe with the Patriots' veteran secondary and operated efficiently. He was targeted nine times and made the most of his receptions, averaging 14 yards per catch.
The former Clemson Tiger was always praised for his route running and hands coming out of college, but never for his athleticism. On multiple occasions Sunday, Renfrow made a highlight-reel play, proving that he leap and cut with the best of them. With 15 seconds left in the first half, Carr threw a perfectly placed ball, but it required Renfrow to jump with a defender draped on him to make a difficult contested catch.
"We didn't have too much time, but we hit some big plays to set us up," Renfrow recalled. "That was a play we've been working on all year and it so happened that I became open Derek did a good job of progressing and hit me down the sideline."
The 24-year-old made the incredible 27-yard catch and it was initially ruled a touchdown, but after further review, his elbow hit the ground six inches short of the plane.
"I knew I wasn't in," Renfrow said, "I told [Nelson Agholor] that I was short, but it was good to get Foster [Moreau] the touchdown. I think it was 13-10 at that point? So, it was a one-possession game going into that half and we had some momentum, but we have to do a better job of executing."
Following his acrobatic catch in the first half, Renfrow later caught a pass on a hook route, and put a filthy juke on his defender, evading the tackle and waltzed 10 yards into the end zone. It was yet another instance proving that he's undervalued as an athletic talent, but the former National Champion isn't concerned about his individual acknowledgments. After the game, Renfrow addressed the team's need to execute better in the future.
"I think, obviously the Patriots are a really good team for a reason. I think they do a really good job of taking people away, but at the same time, we have to execute better. When we don't play well and they do a good job then you get an outcome like today."
Next week, the Raiders will need to execute at a high level if the team hopes to defeat the red-hot Buffalo Bills. Regardless of what the final box score was, Renfrow is establishing himself as one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL and he's a valuable member of the Silver and Black.