Bair's Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' Week 8 win over Jets
The surging Raiders are above .500 halfway through the season, riding high on a two-game winning streak coming off a Week 6 bye. The latest conquest came Sunday with a 34-20 win over the New York Jets. The team is starting fast and sustaining quality offense. The defense is setting a proper tone playing stout against the run and avoiding deep pass plays. It’s a fun time to be a Raiders fan, and any automatic losses written on the schedule this summer should be erased. This team believes in its coaching staff and has talent to execute its vision...
5) Skill player depth shining through
Amari Cooper might be the Raiders’ best offensive skill player. Opponents pour focus into stopping him as they should, as the Jets did shadowing him with Darrelle Revis. Cooper was held under 50 yards and smothered at times, but the offense still operated at a high level. Quarterback Derek Carr threw two touchdowns to Andre Holmes, another to Taiwan Jones. Michael Crabtree exceeded 100 yards and nine players caught a pass. This offense is deep, talented and proving tough to stop.
4) Old man Woodson strikes again
The storyline of Charles Woodson being really, really good and really, really old has grown a bit tired. Let’s frame it another way: the Raiders veteran safety ranks among the league’s best defensive backs. Period. He leads the NFL with five interceptions. Period. The end. He has become a ball hawk of the highest order, a role originally set for Nate Allen before he got hurt. Woodson has adjusted well, played through pain and been a saving grace for this defense.
3) Defense finding its identity
The Raiders defense wants to be well-rounded, but identified by two basic traits. They want to play excellent against the run and prevent big pass plays. That reputation is being forged on games like Sunday. The Raiders run defense held violent rusher Chris Ivory to 17 yards on 15 carries, and allowed just four passes exceeding 20 yards, but none over 30. Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. throws a wrinkle into every game, which keeps opponents off balance enough to fall behind the Raiders' offense pace.
2) Murray’s efficiency sky high
The bye week was perfectly timed for Raiders feature back Latavius Murray. It allowed a shoulder ailment to heal. Since then, he’s been back on track. The third-year pro was excellent in Sunday’s win, earning 113 yards on 20 carries against the NFL’s best run defense. That’s 5.7 yards per carry, the second straight week he’s been over 5.5 yards per rush. His efficiency is part health, part skill and part assistance from an offensive line getting better blocking for the run.
1) Anything possible with a quality QB
The Raiders searched nearly a decade for a franchise quarterback. They finally have one in Derek Carr, who is playing as well as anyone right now. He threw for 333 yards, four touchdowns and hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 5. He can make most every throw. He’ll fit it in tight windows when he sees fit but still avoids unnecessary risks. His 105.7 passer rating is below only Dalton, Palmer, Rodgers and Brady. That’s elite company, and the reason why Raiders success is proving more than a mirage.