Week two is in the books. The Las Vegas Raiders beat the Los Angeles Rams 17-16 in a thriller that came down to a two-point conversion at the end of the game. After a crazy few days of joint practices between the two clubs, we were expecting a tough match, and although the starters rested once again, we did get a physical game between these two teams.
Nathan Peterman got the start again. However, he didn’t look as good as he did in week one. The offense came out flat, going three and out on the team’s first possession of the game, and it continued throughout the first half. The Raiders only put up 7 points. The Rams controlled the ball in the first half. They held the ball for 17:33 while the Raiders held the ball for 12:27.
The second half was a bit different. The Raiders’ defense stepped up and shut the Rams’ offense down for most of the second half, to only 6 points. In part of that shutout, they forced a turnover, had multiple sacks, and blocked a field goal.
Key Notes from the Game
Nate Hobbs continued to flash superstar potential for the Raiders. Hobbs got the first interception of his young career on a beautiful play in which he was in a Cover-3 zone, playing as the outside corner. The quarterback threw the ball into triple coverage, and Hobbs intercepted the pass.
That wasn’t the only play Hobbs made. On the first 3rd down play of the game, Hobbs beat the blocker and destroyed the play for a loss. A few possessions later, Gus Bradley called up a blitz. He once again pressured the quarterback. He couldn’t bring the QB down, but his disruption of the play was enough to force the QB into throwing the pass away.
Hobbs finished the game with 4 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 2 passes deflected.
Alex Leatherwood was another player who had himself a solid game. Like last week, he only played the first quarter. Against the Seattle Seahawks in week one, Leatherwood made a few mental mistakes. This week, the Rams tested him by blitzing their slot cornerback. They tried it twice, and Leatherwood saw it both times and was able to pick it up.
Before his injury, Javin White was having himself an impressive game. White made a few big plays, including two pass breakups that were big-time plays for the Raiders. The first pass breakup came on a play in which he was in man-to-man coverage on a TE in the slot. White pressed the TE who ran a quick slant, and White undercut the pass and forced an incompletion.
In the 2nd quarter, he was playing the mid hooks and broke up another pass on a separate play. The offense play-actioned, a Rams offensive player got behind the defense, and White quickly recognized this and sprinted towards the player and was able to break the pass up. He saved the Raiders from conceding a big gain.
Solomon Thomas had a game in which he had multiple disruptive plays. On the first 3rd down of the game, he beat Bobby Evans on an inside move. Evans held him, and the play came back. He also pressured the quarterback on a separate play. Thomas is competing with Quinton Jefferson and Darius Philon to be the primary backup to Gerald McCoy.
Tanner Muse saw his time on the field increase this week after the injuries to Javin White, Nick Kwiatkoski, and Nicholas Morrow. He had a pretty good game that included him making multiple plays.
On one play, he lined up in the A-gap (between the guard and center), faked like he was dropping back in coverage, and came on an inside delayed blitz. He went unblocked and sacked the quarterback.
On a separate play on special teams, the punt returner found a small crease. He was able to pick up roughly 15 yards and running. Tanner Muse was able to fight through the blocker, contain the edge, and push the returner out of bounds. The play ultimately came back because of a hold, but Muse was there to make a solid play.
On a different play, Muse was playing the Otto role, lined up about one yard off the line of scrimmage over a tight end, and the Rams ran it his way. Muse set the edge really well and reset the line of scrimmage, forcing the play back to the inside. Inside linebacker, Max Richardson was there to tackle the ball carrier for no gain.
The Raider’s depth in the secondary is deep. Roderick Teamer and Amik Robertson also had good games. Teamer had a pressure on the QB and a tackle for a loss. He also made a few excellent plays on special teams. Robertson had a couple of pass breakups in coverage. It’ll be interesting to see which of these two players can separate themselves and find a roster spot in the secondary.
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