The Oakland Raiders wrapped up their 2018 regular season more than a week ago, but there’s still plenty to break down from the team’s first season under Head Coach Jon Gruden. A handful of offensive players saw career highs in some statistical categories, and there were flashes of what the team could be when everything is clicking.
There’s always room for improvement, but the Silver and Black showed signs of growth towards the end of the season, competing with some of the best teams in the NFL down the stretch. Derek Carr was impressive in the second half of the season, and climbed the ranks of the Raiders’ all-time passing leaders.
Let’s take a look back at some notable numbers from the 2018 season:
4,049 – Carr set a career high in passing yards this season with 4,049, and his connection with Gruden continued to blossom as the year went on. It’s the first time No. 4 has surpassed the 4,000-yard mark, but I’m sure it won’t be the last time he eclipses that number in his career.
172 – Veteran running back Doug Martin was signed in the offseason to backup Marshawn Lynch, but after a groin injury placed Lynch on the Reserve/Injured list, Martin was asked to become the bell cow, and he answered the call. The Bay Area native carried the ball 172 times for 723 yards, and four touchdowns, and showed that he’s still more than capable of being a primary fixture in an offense.
896 – Jared Cook had the best season of his career in 2018, totaling career highs in nearly every statistical category. The dynamic tight end notched 896 receiving yards, 68 receptions, and six touchdowns this year, which are all bests for the 31 year old.
333 – Over the course of the final eight games of the season, Carr completed 333 passes without an interception. Impressive. Carr’s streak ranks third all-time behind Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
4 – In his rookie season, Maurice Hurst led the Raiders with four sacks. The former Michigan Wolverine demonstrated physicality, aggression, and poise during his first year, and the potential is there for him to continue growing.
3 – After an injury-plagued rookie season, cornerback Gareon Conley rebounded in 2018. The former Ohio State Buckeye totaled three interceptions, tied for the team-high with safety Marcus Gilchrist. Conley started in 14 games, totaling 15 passes defensed, one touchdown, and 37 tackles. The Raiders’ 2017 first-round pick looks to be coming into his own.
126 – The free agent signing of linebacker Tahir Whitehead proved to be a valuable one. In his first season with the Silver and Black, Whitehead consistently led the team in tackles, and his presence in the middle of the field helped the defense in more ways than one. His 126 tackles were a team high, and added one interception, five passes defensed, and one forced fumble to his résumé.
10 – For the first time in 10 years, the Oakland Raiders returned a punt return for a touchdown. Dwayne Harris took a 99-yard punt to the house on Christmas Eve, shocking everyone who witnessed the play, and ending the team’s streak without a punt return score.
94.1 – Since joining the Raiders in Week 8, rookie kicker Daniel Carlson was money. The former Auburn Tiger knocked 16 of his 17 field goal attempts through the uprights, resulting in a 94.1 field goal percentage. On top of that, he knocked all 18 of his extra point attempts through with ease. It’s possible the team may have found its kicker of the future.
42 – Johnny Townsend is known for punting, but he showed he’s capable of more than just that. During the Raiders Week 10 bout with the Los Angeles Chargers, Townsend faked a punt, and ran the ball down the sideline 42 yards. It was the longest run by a punter in 2018, and he let the league know he’s got wheels if he needs to use them.