Offensive Lineman Vadal Alexander
Heading into the Oakland Raiders Week 4 clash with the Baltimore Ravens, we highlighted three matchups that would be crucial in how the game played out.
The Silver and Black once again took care of business on the road, beating the Ravens 28-27, so with their record now sitting at 3-1, let's take a look back at those matchups, and see how they played out.
Cornerback David Amerson vs. Wide Receiver Steve Smith Sr.
Even at 37 years old, Steve Smith Sr. is still a dangerous weapon outside for the Baltimore Ravens, and he showed as much Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium.
Amerson trailed Smith around the field much of day, and for the most part, he provided sticky coverage on the veteran wideout. However, Smith got loose once, hauling in a pass from quarterback Joe Flacco, and taking it 52 yards to the house in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.
While Smith's touchdown didn't come back to haunt the Raiders, the score did make it a two-point game with just over 6:00 left in regulation.
However, if you look at Smith's production outside the touchdown, Amerson and the Raiders defense held him to just seven catches for 59 yards, which isn't too bad against a five-time Pro Bowler.
Right Tackle Vadal Alexander vs. Outside Linebacker Terrell Suggs
Advantage, Vadal Alexander.
Although the rookie was called for four penalties during Sunday's clash with the Ravens, Head Coach Jack Del Rio was a tad skeptical that Alexander actually had four infractions throughout the course of the game.
"Vadal [Alexander] played really well," said Head Coach Del Rio. "I don't know if you guys went back and watched the tape. But, those holding calls… (laughter) There were a couple that were called on him that were, man it was really tough to see any kind of holding going on there."
Alexander was certainly strong in protection Sunday afternoon, as the Raiders offensive line did not allow a sack once again, and through the first quarter of the season, the unit leads the NFL with just two sacks allowed.
Defensively, Suggs was a bit of a non-factor during the Week 4 clash with the Silver and Black. Although he played 46 defensive snaps, the veteran outside linebacker totaled just three tackles, and was rendered largely ineffective by Alexander and the rest of the Raiders offensive line.
Linebacker Malcolm Smith vs. Tight End Dennis Pitta
Each week we stress the importance of having depth in the NFL, and each week that point seems to be reinforced.
After starting at weakside linebacker, Malcolm Smith was forced to leave the game during the third quarter with a groin injury, and was replaced by Ben Heeney, who was also forced to exit prematurely after suffering an injury of his own.
Enter Daren Bates, who after playing primarily on special teams the first three games of the season, stepped in and played the final 23 defensive plays, performing well during his time on the field.
As far as Pitta was concerned, as expected, multiple players got a look at the big tight end, including Smith, as well as rookie safety Karl Joseph, and for the most part, Pitta was quiet during Sunday's game.
In total, he caught just three passes for 15 yards, and after entering the Week 4 matchup with the Raiders as the Ravens leading receiver, Pitta was a non-factor on the offensive side of the football.