Linebacker Perry Riley, Jr.
Before the Oakland Raiders took on the Indianapolis Colts Saturday afternoon, we highlighted three matchups to keep an eye on at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
While the biggest takeaway from the game was the loss of Derek Carr due to a broken fibula, the Silver and Black took care of business, beating the Colts 33-25 to chalk up their 12th win of the season.
Now that the Raiders are a step closer to capturing their first division title since 2002, let's review our matchups and see how they played out.
Linebacker Perry Riley, Jr. vs. Running Back Frank Gore
At age 33, Frank Gore is still running as hard and as efficiently as he did as a decade ago, and he showed that once again Saturday afternoon in Oakland.
While Gore was indeed kept out of the end zone, the veteran back was tough to take down with the ball in his hand – particularly in the first half – rarely if ever going down with first contact.
In total, Gore ran the ball 13 times for 73 total yards, racking up 56 yards in the first half before the Colts were forced to air it out a little with more Andrew Luck after halftime.
Give the Raiders defense credit though, Ken Norton, Jr.'s group was able to make the Indianapolis offense one dimensional in the second half, forcing Luck to throw the ball, taking away the ever-coveted offensive balance.
Defensively, Riley put together another quality outing for the Silver and Black, totaling five tackles and one pass defensed in the 33-25 win over the Colts.
Left Tackle Donald Penn vs. Outside Linebacker Erik Walden
The good news? The Raiders offensive line put together another dominant outing Saturday afternoon, helping pave the way for the running backs to amass over 200 yards on the ground, as well as giving Derek Carr ample time to operate all afternoon, save one instance in the fourth quarter.
The bad news? The play in question – which ended with Derek Carr being sacked by linebacker Trent Cole – was the play that the Raiders quarterback injured his leg on.
"I'm very disappointed in myself because it's my guy that got him," said Penn postgame. "I've been great all year, I don't know how. I was engaged with my guy, I took another step and my foot slipped out from under me. I wish I had that play back. I've been great all year, I slip up on one play. I'm mad at myself. I'll be good tomorrow but I'm mad at myself. I wish there was something else I could do."
If you watch the play back, I think it's a bit unfair to place the blame on Penn, as Cole wasn't able to get to Carr on his first effort, but give credit to the veteran left tackle for standing in front of the cameras and putting the onus on himself.
The fact of the matter is that Carr's injury was more or less a freak accident, and that there really wasn't much Penn or any of the offensive linemen could have done to prevent it from happening.
As far as Walden is concerned, the veteran linebacker was really a nonfactor in Saturday's game, finishing the Week 16 clash with just two tackles to his name.
Punter Marquette King vs. Punter Pat McAfee
You know when a new movie comes out, and you're really looking forward to seeing it, but once you get to the theater and take it in, you leave a little disappointed.
Well, that's kind of what happened with this matchup.
Let's be clear, King definitely enjoyed the better day of the two punters, averaging 47 yards per punt, as well as placing one inside the 20-yard line, something McAfee was unable to accomplish.
Not only are King and McAfee two of the premier punters in the NFL, they're also two of the entertaining ones, but there really weren't any fun dances or antics to report from the Week 15 matchup between the Raiders and Colts.