Leading into the Oakland Raiders Week 3 matchup with the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, we highlighted three matchups that would be critical in how the game played out.
The Raiders secured their first road win under Head Coach Jack Del Rio, besting the Browns 27-20 Sunday, so let's take a look at how the three matchups panned out.
Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. Left Tackle Joe Thomas
Prior to Sunday's game, the All-Pro left tackle had some glowing praise for the Raiders young defensive end, saying that, "I think he's going to be the next Lawrence Taylor and I really mean that."
Mack lived up to the hype Sunday, securing his first 2 sacks of the 2015 season, as well as making 4 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble.
Thomas spent parts of the afternoon lined up against Aldon Smith and Justin Tuck, but whoever was assigned the job of protecting against Mack had their hands full, as he was his usual disruptive self in the Cleveland backfield.
Much had been made about the Raiders inability to notch a sack through the first two games, but defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., was right in saying that the sacks would come in bunches as the Silver and Black ended the afternoon with 5 total sacks.
Cornerback TJ Carrie vs. Wide Receiver Travis Benjamin
In a somewhat surprising move, TJ Carrie didn't play cornerback Sunday against the Browns – instead the Raiders coaching staff elected to move him to safety.
With Carrie's move, DJ Hayden and Neiko Thorpe became the cornerbacks in the base defense with newcomer David Amerson rotating in as the third corner when the situation dictated.
After an impressive beginning to the season, the Raiders were able to limit Benjamin's productivity, allowing just 4 receptions on 10 targets, resulting in 45 yards and 1 score.
Game action photos from the Raiders Week 3 win over the Cleveland Browns.
As the game wore on, Hayden, Thorpe and Amerson all got extended runs guarding Benjamin, and Hayden nearly intercepted a pass intended for the Cleveland wide out but was unable to secure possession of the ball.
McCown also attempted to find Benjamin in the final seconds of the game, but safety Charles Woodson had other plans and intercepted the errant pass.
Raiders Wide Receivers vs. Browns Secondary
For the second consecutive week – advantage Raiders wide receivers.
Amari Cooper was stellar once again, hauling in 8 passes for 134 yards primarily against All-Pro cornerback Joe Haden.
With Sunday's performance, Cooper became the first Raiders with 100 yards in back-to-back games since Randy Moss in 2005, and the first Raiders rookie to accomplish the feat since James Jett in 1993.
"He's [Cooper] a talented guy that we're fortunate to have," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said postgame. "Off to a terrific start for his career. I think the way he conducts himself every day and the seriousness in which he pursues his profession and tires to work on his skillset are what allow the guy to have that kind of start to his career. "
In addition to Cooper, Carr spread the ball around Sunday, connecting with nine different players en route to a 314-yard performance and another Raiders win.