Oakland Raiders: 3 things we learned from Week 8 loss to the Texans
There were multiple moments throughout the game that it appeared to be the Raiders game to lose. Then, Deshaun Watson did what he’s accustomed to doing, and that is taking over football games.
The Texans quarterback was able to make a spectacular play late in the fourth quarter that gave Houston the win. With less than seven minutes remaining, Watson escaped a sack from Arden Key (while being kicked in the face) and delivered a strike to Darren Fells in the end zone.
In the end, that passing touchdown to Fells was the deciding score that handed the Raiders their fourth loss of the season. With that in mind, here are three things we learned from Oakland’s Week 8 loss to the Texans.
3. The Raiders Offensive Line is Playing Lights Out
Before the season began, there were legitimate concerns pertaining to the Raiders’ offensive line. The Raiders signed Trent Brown in free agency, but there were still questions as to how the group would mesh.
Now, with seven games under their belt, those concerns have gradually subsided. In the first four games for the Raiders, their offensive line allowed eight sacks on Derek Carr.
On the other hand, in their past three games, they’ve kept Carr upright, allowing zero sacks on their quarterback. On Sunday, J.J. Watt left early with an injury, but that still doesn’t take away from how dominant the offensive line has been for the Raiders.
2. The Raiders Desperately Need a Consistent Pass Rusher
In recent weeks, there have been murmurs that the Raiders are searching for a pass rusher ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline. After Sunday’s performance, that process may need to be expedited.
Yes, by looking at the box score, Oakland was able to sack Watson three times during Sunday’s contest. But most of those sacks came with Watson attempting to extend plays in the pocket. Also, the team has just 13 sacks through the first eight weeks (26th in the NFL).
Ever since the Raiders traded Khalil Mack, they’ve been desperately missing a consistent pass rusher off of the edge. The team drafted Clelin Ferrell in the first round of this year’s draft, but he’s yet to turn into the player he was at Clemson.
Until the Raiders acquire a talented pass rusher, their defense is going to struggle to slow down opposing team’s aerial attacks.
1. Josh Jacobs Needs to be More Involved in the Offense
When Oakland selected Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft, Jon Gruden was ecstatic to get a versatile running back in his offense. The rookie rusher has gained 620 yards on 124 carries and four touchdowns on the ground.
As good as he’s been running the ball, the Raiders have done an awful job getting him involved in the passing game. On Sunday, Jacobs rushed for 66 yards on 15 attempts, but he only managed to catch two passes for 15 yards.
At Alabama, Jacobs had 48 receptions and showed that he’s capable of catching the ball? So why not use him as a receiver in the offense?
This season, the first-year running back has only gotten 11 receptions for 102 yards. Once he’s given more opportunities to be a dual-threat back, the Raiders offense will be opened up more.