Early on this season, Raiders coach Jon Gruden continually has praised his tight ends group, and for good reason. They've had to play more than was expected with the offense being reshaped on the fly and have performed admirably both in the run and pass game.
With Antonio Brown's unexpected departure before the season began, Gruden has changed the Raiders' plan of attack to feature a heavy run game out of two and three-tight end sets to make up for Oakland's lack of talent on the outside. Darren Waller has been the breakout star of the season for the Silver and Black, but rookie tight end Foster Moreau has starred in the last two weeks.
The fourth-round draft pick caught a massive touchdown in the Raiders' Week 4 win over the Colts, and he was quarterback Derek Carr's favored weapon in Week 5, catching four passes for 46 yards on five targets, including two catches for 39 yards on the Raiders' 97-yard game-winning drive to beat the Bears 24-21.
With 2:09 remaining and the Raiders trailing 21-17, Carr hit Moreau for 16 yards down to the Bears' 2-yard line, and fellow rookie Josh Jacobs did the rest, capping the drive with a touchdown leap to give the Oakland a win in London.
Moreau, Jacobs and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow each made huge plays on the Raiders' statement drive to beat the Bears, showing all the preseason talk about the rookie class' talent and maturity wasn't unsubstantiated smoke.
"I think we've been talking about our young players since they've been here," Gruden said after the win. "The kind of effort that they provide and the smartness that they play with -- these are smart guys that are doing a lot of different things, playing tough positions. You know, Foster Moreau at the point of attack, pass protecting, catching balls down the field. I can't say enough about the rookies."
On the other side of the ball, linebacker Nicholas Morrow filled in for the suspended Vontaze Burfict and performed well. Rookie edge rusher Maxx Crosby saw his playing time increase due to Clelin Ferrell's concussion, and he notched his first career sack in the win over the Bears.
Total offensive snaps: 73
Quarterback – Derek Carr 73
Running back – Josh Jacobs 50, Alec Ingold 16, DeAndre Washington 13, Jalen Richard 11
Wide receiver – Trevor Davis 55, Hunter Renfrow 42, Keelan Doss 40, Marcell Ateman 28
Tight end – Darren Waller 57, Foster Moreau 45, Derek Carrier 5
Offensive line – Richie Incognito 73, Kolton Miller 73, Rodney Hudson 73, Trent Brown 73, Denzelle Good 73, David Sharpe 3
Total defensive snaps: 58
Defensive line – Maxx Crosby 57, Benson Mayowa 32, Johnathan Hankins 30, Maurice Hurst 29, Josh Mauro 26, P.J. Hall 25, Arden Key 22, Corey Liuget 8
Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead 58, Nicholas Morrow 56
Defensive back – Erik Harris 58, Karl Joseph 58, Gareon Conley 88, Lamarcus Joyner 58, Daryl Worley 56, Trayvon Mullen 7
Kyle Wilber 24, Derek Carrier 22, Keisean Nixon 21, Harris 19, Moreau 17, Curtis Riley 17, Crosby 15, Dallin Leavitt 14, Morrow 13, Ingold 13, Trent Sieg 10, A.J. Cole 10, Daniel Carlson 9, Jason Phillips 9, Dakota Allen 8, Joseph 8, Worley 8, Davis 7, Whitehead 6, Hurst 6, Key 6, Mullen 6, Andre James 4, Sharpe 4, Washington 4, Brown 4, Miller 4, Good 4, Incognito 4, Renfrow 3, Conley 3, Mayowa 3, Hankins 3