CIN-OAK grades: Raiders D-Line strong in loss
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Bengals-Raiders game, including the highest graded players from each team:
– DT Geno Atkins appears to have returned to his pre-injury form. His +6.6 overall grade (one sack, four hurries, and a +2.1 run defense grade) was his best since his ridiculous 2012 campaign, when he earned a +73.6 cumulative grade. Gerald McCoy ranked second among defensive tackles that season with a +24.2.
– QB Andy Dalton (+2.6) took full advantage of the protection that his offensive line afforded him with an efficient performance. Dalton was pressured just six times, and was 25-30 on passes thrown less than 20 yards. WR A.J. Green (-0.3) also dropped a touchdown that would have made Dalton’s stat line look even better.
– TE Tyler Eifert earned a career-best +3.1 grade after missing nearly all of 2014 with an elbow injury. Eifert caught nine of 10 passes thrown his way for 104 yards and two touchdowns. A dropped pass was the only blemish on an excellent start to the season, as the Notre Dame product forced a pair of missed tackles after the catch and earned positive grades as a blocker.
DT Geno Atkins (+6.6)
CB Adam Jones (+4.1)
LG Clint Boling (+4.5)
TE Tyler Eifert (+3.3)
LT Andrew Whitworth (+2.8)
– While OLBs Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith have the talent to form one of the best tandems in the NFL, it was a quiet start for each as pass rushers. Mack (+2.1) earned positive grades in run defense and pass coverage, but finished with just two hurries in his 28 pass rushes. Smith played 30 total snaps to Mack’s 60, picking up one QB hit in 21 rushes.
– QB Matt McGloin replaced Derek Carr after the starter suffered a hand injury, earning a -3.3 grade as the Raiders struggled to move the ball. McGloin was one-for-five for 14 yards on passes thrown more than 10 yards, including an ugly interception. The Bengals did a nice job bottling up rookie WR Amari Cooper (-2.7), who finished with five catches for 47 yards and a dropped pass on nine targets in his debut.
– NT Dan Williams (+7.1) and DE Justin Tuck (+8.2) were absolutely dominant throughout the game. Williams had Bengals C Russell Bodine (-1.6) on skates for most of the game, and Cincinnati RT Andre Smith (-4.2) was no match for Tuck, who recorded two batted passes at the line and a +5.0 run defense grade.
DE Justin Tuck (+8.2)
NT Dan Williams (+7.1)
LB Khalil Mack (+2.1)
HB Taiwan Jones (+2.1)
HB Latavius Murray (+1.3)