Leading up to the Oakland Raiders Week 2 showdown with the Baltimore Ravens, we highlighted three matchups that would be crucial in the game's final outcome.
The Raiders bested the Ravens 37-33, scoring a last-second touchdown to cement their first win of the 2015 campaign, so let's take a look at how those three matchups panned out.
Wide Receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree vs. Cornerback Jimmy Smith
Advantage: Cooper and Crabtree.
Jimmy Smith is a quality cornerback on a quality defense, but the Raiders duo of wide receivers came out on top after Sunday's matchup at O.co Coliseum.
Smith began the day lined up against Amari Cooper, but the rookie wide out landed the first body blow of the game, burning Smith on a 68-yard touchdown that served as his first in the regular season.
Smith did flash in certain moments Sunday, showing why the Ravens signed him to a lucrative extension in the offseason, but the afternoon belonged to the Raiders wide receivers.
When all was said and done, Cooper finished the day with 7 receptions for 109 yards and Crabtree added 9 receptions for 111 yards, becoming the first pair of Raiders receivers to each post 100 receiving yards in a game since Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore accomplished the feat Jan. 1, 2012, against the San Diego Chargers.
Raiders Pass Rush vs. Baltimore Offensive Line
If there would be an area to critique following the Raiders impressive win over the Baltimore Ravens, it would be the pass rush.
For the second game in a row, the Raiders pass rush was unable to secure a sack of the opposing quarterback; however, as the game wore on, the pass rush improved and they were able to make Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco uncomfortable in the most important moments of the game.
The Silver and Black haven't secured a sack since the final game of the 2014 campaign, and a successful pass rush will be crucial if the team hopes to make any waves as the season goes on.
Their recent inability to get to the quarterback isn't for lack of talent along the defensive line – Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith and Justin Tuck form arguably one of the most formidable trios of pass rushers in the NFL, now they just have to pin their ears back and get to the quarterback.
Admittedly, that's a lot easier said than done.
Rodney Hudson vs. Baltimore Interior Defensive Line
After a disappointing performance in Week 1, Rodney Hudson bounced back with a quality performance in Sunday's win over the Ravens.
The quarterback of the Raiders offensive line did precisely what he was signed this offseason to do, calling protections and helping keep Derek Carr safe, the Raiders allowed just 5 quarterback pressures and 1 sack on the day, according to Pro Football Focus.
"Our protection has been really good," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said postgame. "I think all camp, all preseason and for the first two games, I think our protection has been really good. I think the O-line is doing a nice job with that."
In addition to providing quality protection for Carr, Hudson helped boost the Raiders ground attack which totaled 97 total yards and 1 touchdown on the afternoon, a marked improvement from their Week 1 output on the ground.