Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree
Before the Oakland Raiders flew down to Mexico City for their Week 12 "home" game against the Houston Texans, we took a look at three matchups that would be critical in determining the outcome of the Monday Night Football bout.
The Silver and Black took advantage of their opportunities – particularly in the second half – and flew back to California with a 27-20 win firmly in hand.
With the win, Derek Carr and friends are now 8-2 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC West, so before we fully begin looking ahead to Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers, let's see how our three matchups played out.
Wide Receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree vs. Cornerbacks Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph
Give credit to the Texans defense, for the most part, the Texans cornerbacks were able to limit the effectiveness of Cooper and Crabtree Monday night.
Romeo Crennel elected to roll with Johnathan Joseph and A.J. Bouye as the team's base cornerbacks for the Monday Night Football matchup, and the pair made life difficult for Cooper and Crabtree throughout the evening.
Crabtree finished the Week 11 game with just three catches for five yards – although he did draw two crucial pass interference penalties –but for the most part, No. 15 was rendered largely ineffective by the Texans defensive backs.
Similarly, through about three-and-a-half quarters, 'Coop' was also shut down by the Texans secondary, but when the Silver and Black had a chance to go ahead late in the fourth quarter No. 89 arrived in a big way.
With just under 5:00 left in the fourth quarter, Carr connected with Cooper on a 35-yard touchdown reception that proved to be the difference in the game.
While the Texans secondary certainly did an admirable job in containing the Raiders top two targets out wide, Carr and the Raiders still found a way to fly back to the United States with a win.
Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney
Monday night at Estadio Azteca, Clowney and Mack no doubt looked like they were worthy of being the first two defensive players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft
Both defensive ends were disruptive in their own ways throughout the course of the Week 11 matchup at Estadio Azteca, as Clowney finished the game with five tackles, two tackles for loss, and was a dominant force stopping the run – albeit it in a losing effort.
Similarly, Mack once again kept his string of impressive performances going, totaling three tackles, one sack – his seventh in the past five games – one tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits.
After a statistically slow start to 2016, No. 52 has come back in a big over the past month and, his eight sacks are now good enough for seventh in the NFL.
While both defensive studs definitely had quality outings Monday night, you have to give the slight edge to Mack, just because the Raiders were able to secure a Week 11 win.
Running Back Latavius Murray vs. Middle Linebacker Brian Cushing
Don't let the stats deceive you when it comes to this matchup.
Yes, the Raiders weren't able to get the run game rolling, nobody denies that, but while Murray and the trio of running backs didn't impact the game on the ground, they more than made up for it contributing in the Raiders aerial attack.
Check this stat out: the Silver and Black tallied just 30 yards on the ground in Monday's win, but the combination of Murray, Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale finished the game with 199 receiving yards.
That's right, nearly 200 of Derek Carr's passing yards came from passes completed to running backs and fullbacks.
There's no denying that the Raiders weren't able to get the type of production on the ground that they would like, but Murray and Richard in particular, proved to be challenging for the Texans linebackers.