Defensive End Khalil Mack
Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos didn't go according to plan, but like I said prior to the Oakland Raiders Week 4 matchup, the outcome wouldn't be indicative of how the season will go, and I still believe that to be true.
The Silver and Black ultimately fell against the Broncos 16-10, but not before the team made a strong effort to re-group and attempt to take the lead. With defensive end Khalil Mack and Co. giving the Broncos offensive line fits, quarterback Trevor Siemian was unable to get much of anything going through the air.
Yes, quarterback Derek Carr suffered an injury, but he will recover, and should be back in action in a few weeks. Until then, Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing's offense is still loaded with dynamic individuals who can cause problems for opposing defenses.
Before we get submerged in Week 5's battle with the Baltimore Ravens, let's recap what occurred at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree vs. Cornerback Aqib Talib
Unfortunately No. 15 was unable to take the field Sunday, which prevented what would've been an otherwise tense matchup between the two. In Week 17 of 2016, in the opening quarter of action, Talib yanked Crabtree's chain and broke it, thus sparking some words between division rivals.
While Crabtree's absence kept them from a rematch, fellow wide receiver Johnny Holton stepped up in his stead. On his lone catch of the afternoon, the former Cincinnati Bearcat made it count. Upon the snap, Carr dropped back and heaved a 64-yard bomb to Holton who was able to haul in the impressive over the shoulder catch.
The score narrowed the margin to a three-point game, but would be the team's only touchdown of the day.
Looks like we'll have to wait until Week 12 for Talib and Crabtree to go head-to-head.
Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. Linebacker Von Miller
Mack and Miller are elite, and the matchup between the duo was the one I was looking forward to the most Sunday.
Who would have the better day? How would they try to outdo one another? These are just a couple of questions I had in mind, and at the end of the day, it was No. 52 who walked away the victor.
Miller, who finished the outing with two tackles, one for loss, and one sack, was unable to eclipse the monster day from his counterpart. Mack totaled seven tackles, three for loss, and two sacks, while also adding four quarterback hits.
The former University of Buffalo Bull made his presence felt from kickoff until the final whistle. Currently the highest ranked edge defender according to Pro Football Focus (91.1), it'll be fun to see who finishes the better defender come seasons end.
Running Backs Marshawn Lynch, Jalen Richard, and DeAndré Washington vs. Broncos Front Seven
Well, we knew it would be a tough matchup entering Sunday, as the Broncos rank as the best run defending team in the league, and the Silver and Black weren't able to get much of anything going on the ground.
Spread among the trio of Raiders backs, the team attempted 15 rushes, and scrapped together 24 yards. Offensively, the aerial attack has to work in unison with the ground game, and unfortunately neither was able to get rolling, or at least to the level we've grown accustomed to.
Next week, the Raiders will face yet another stout defense in the Baltimore Ravens, and getting the running backs started early will be a point of emphasis I'm sure.