Wide Receiver Andre Holmes
Heading into the Oakland Raiders Wild Card matchup with the Houston Texans, we took a look at three matchups that would be critical in determining the end result of the playoff clash at NRG Stadium.
Well, the Silver and Black weren't able to secure their first postseason win since 2002, falling to Brock Osweiler and the Texans 27-14, so now that we're a few days removed from the game, let's take a look back at our matchups and see how they played out.
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave vs. Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel
Everyone knew that the Raiders were heading into Houston without the full complement of their offensive playmakers.
Obviously, the loss of Derek Carr was the major shot the Raiders offense was forced to withstand, and having a rookie quarterback in Connor Cook make his first career NFL start on the road, in the playoffs, against arguably the best defense in the NFL, was a far cry from an ideal situation.
That being said, it's hard to overstate how big the loss of starting left tackle Donald Penn was, and combined with a banged up Rodney Hudson, and the eventual loss of Michael Crabtree due to a concussion, there's no question that the Silver and Black didn't have their full arsenal of offensive weapons Saturday afternoon at NRG Stadium.
To be fair, give Romeo Crennel's group credit, the Texans defensive effectively took away the Raiders ability to run the ball, and forced Cook into a multitude of throws that the rookie signal-caller assuredly would like to have back.
"Couldn't really get it going," said Head Coach Jack Del Rio postgame. "Weren't very good on third down. Had a few drops. Overall, just not what we wanted. Not what we were looking for. I'm proud of our guys. We've got a good group of guys who worked hard. Obviously, we'd like to continue on. We're not going to be doing that."
Entering the Wild Card matchup, the Texans boasted the best statistical defense in the NFL, and Saturday afternoon they showed that the regular season was no aberration.
Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree vs. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph
Unfortunately for Crabtree – and the Raiders offense as a whole – the veteran wideout was forced to leave Saturday's Wild Card matchup early after he was put in the concussion protocol.
Before Crabtree was relegated to the sidelines, No. 15 had hauled in a pair of passes from Connor Cook, going for 19 and 14 yards respectively, both over Joseph.
In the three quarters that 'King Crab' was on the field, Cook targeted No. 15 seven times, with Crabtree hauling in the aforementioned pair of passes for 33 yards.
While none of the Raiders offensive weapons were able to find too much of a groove against the vaunted Texans defense, Crabtree's forced absence did open the door for Andre Holmes to have more of a role on the offensive side of the football.
Holmes ended the day as the team's leading receiver, catching four passes for 50 yards, and one touchdown.
Overall though, the Texans defense did a good job of limiting Cook and the Raiders receivers, holding the rookie quarterback to just 161 passing yards.
Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. Left Tackle Duane Brown
The Raiders season abruptly came to an end Saturday afternoon, as the Silver and Black fell to the Houston Texans, and understandably, there aren't a ton of positives to take away from the loss.
However, if you're looking for something to be pleased about, as far as Saturday's game is concerned, look no further than the play of the Raiders All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack.
Mack and Jadeveon Clowney played a game of "anything you can do, I can do better," Saturday afternoon with both dynamic edge rushers putting together impressive performances in the opening round of the playoffs.
No. 52 was an absolute force all afternoon, and made life for the Texans offense as difficult as he could. In total, Mack finished the loss to the Texans with a team-leading 11 tackles, as well as two tackles for loss.