The Silver and Black weren't the best version of themselves Sunday afternoon in Upstate New York, and after 60 minutes of play, they left New Era Field with a 34-14 loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills.
With the loss, the Oakland Raiders are now 3-5 at the halfway point of the 2017 season, a place that very few, if any, people thought the team would be, but with eight games still on the docket, as well as a bye week to get healthy, there is still a lot in front of Derek Carr and Co.
Headed into the Week 8 battle with the Bills, we highlighted three matchups that would be critical in determining the end result; let's see how those matchups, presented by DirecTV, played out.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman vs. Running Back LeSean McCoy
Well, the good news is that for the second week in a row, Bowman led the Silver and Black in tackles.
With 11 tackles, as well as a one tackle for loss, the veteran linebacker was once again a force in the middle of the defense, but unfortunately, after keeping McCoy in check for much of the game, the All-Pro running back showed why he's one of the best in the business.
At the half, the Raiders had done a really nice job of limiting McCoy – up to that point he had tallied just 31 yards on eight rushes – but in the second half "Shady" ran wild, rushing for 120 yards, as well as adding a touchdown for good measure.
Although he's been a Raider for less than a month, Bowman has added a level of legitimacy and veteran leadership to the team's defensive corps, but alas, McCoy got the best of the group as a whole Sunday afternoon.
Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. Tackle Cordy Glenn
Khalil Mack is one of those rare players whose impact on a game can't really be measured by just looking at his stats. Whether it's drawing attention so his defensive teammates can have more favorable looks at the quarterback, or just clogging up space against the run, No. 52 makes an impact every time he steps on the football field.
That being said, Mack's stat line against the Bills – two tackles and one tackle for loss – wasn't the most dominant outing he's put together in 2017.
"He's always impactful, said Head Coach Del Rio about Mack's game. "It was just one of those day where he wasn't at the leading edge in some of the run game. Some of the run game went away. Typically, he's at the front stacking things up and making tackles for loss and things like that. There weren't a lot of runs at him."
You also have to give credit to both the Bills offensive line, as well as quarterback Tyrod Taylor, for limiting Mack's dominance on the game. The Raiders defense was unable to take down Taylor behind the line of scrimmage in Sunday's loss, even though they were able to routinely make life difficult for the Bills quarterback, which is a testament to both Taylor's ability and that of his offensive line.
Center Rodney Hudson and Guards Gabe Jackson and Kelechi Osemele vs. Defensive Tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams
Marcell Dareus was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday, which meant that Adolphus Washington got the start along the interior of the Buffalo defensive line next to Kyle Williams.
While the Raiders weren't really able to get much going on the ground against the stout Bills front – 54 yards when all was said and done – the Raiders offensive line did do an outstanding job of keeping Derek Carr upright and giving him time to make plays.
Head Coach Del Rio always likes to say that dominance begins in the trenches, and if the Raiders want to get back to their winning ways, much of it will start with getting business done up front.