Defensive End Khalil Mack
The Oakland Raiders matchup with the New York Jets showcased the team's ability to put up points, something many NFL analysts anticipated would be a regular occurrence for the Silver and Black in 2017. En route to a 45-20 victory, quarterback Derek Carr threw for 230 yards, completed 23 of his 28 pass attempts, and tossed three touchdowns.
Carr might've had a nice day at the office, but in last week's matchup preview, the three Raiders I had my eye on were running back Marshawn Lynch, tight end Jared Cook, and defensive end Khalil Mack. With the "W" in the win column, I think it's safe to say Lynch, Cook, and Mack all won their matchups.
Let's dig a little deeper as to why in this week's matchup review.
Running Back Marshawn Lynch vs. Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
During his 2016 Pro Bowl season, Williams notched 36 solo tackles, but Sunday he didn't register a single one. Lynch might not have had the most rushing yards, or his best day, but the Oakland native bullied his way to 45 yards on 12 carries, and a touchdown in front of his hometown crowd.
Behind one of the best offensive lines in all of football, No. 24 hit, bulldozed, and pushed his way through the Jets defenders, including Williams. According to* Pro Football Focus, *Lynch finished Week 2 tied for the 13th best overall rating (75.8), while Williams finished with the 81st interior defensive lineman rating (67.7).
Sure, Williams rating is linked in large part to the effort and contribution of the Raiders offensive line, but he was unable to do much of anything to affect Lynch. When trying to stop the run, the 6'5", 300-pound defensive lineman had a player grade of 46.6.
At the end of the day, the matchup belonged to Lynch, and it was cool to see him get in the end zone for the first time as a Raider.
Tight End Jared Cook vs. Safety Jamal Adams
Cook might not blow you away with his stats, mainly because he's on an offense with the likes of wide receivers Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree, but his impact on the field is far more significant than what shows up in the stats sheet.
Last week, I mentioned the matchup between Cook and Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams, primarily because it would be interesting to see how the 6'1", 213-pound former LSU Tiger squared up against No. 87. When you have a player of Cook's size, speed, and athleticism it restricts the defense from honing in on a particular receiver.
From what I saw, it seemed as though fellow rookie safety Marcus Maye, and Adams traded off covering Cook. Even though Cook was held to four receptions, totaling 25 yards, he opened up the door for Crabtree to have a six reception, 80-yard, three touchdown day.
Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. New York Jets Offensive Line
Against the Tennessee Titans, the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year went sackless, but that wasn't the case against the Jets. After posting the best *PFF *edge defender grade in Week 1, Mack cracked the top five once again in Week 2, posting a player grade of 90.4.
On Mack's sack, his acceleration off the line was enough to put the Jets right tackle on his heels, and even though he was assisted by running back Matt Forte, No. 52's strength was too much for the pair, and he managed to get to Jets quarterback Josh McCown.
In his career against the Jets, Mack now has 15 tackles, six for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble. A season ago, it took the former University of Buffalo Bull four weeks to get his first sack, and finished the season with 11. After getting the first one out of the way in Week 2 this season, I look forward to watching Mack give opposing quarterbacks fits going forward.