OAK-CHI Grades: Cutler’s return dooms Raiders
Here are the top takeaways from Sunday’s Oakland-Chicago game, including the highest-graded players from each team:
– As long as OLB Aldon Smith can keep his act together off the field, the Raiders have one of the best tandems of edge defenders in the entire league. Smith earned the highest overall grade (+3.6) of anybody on Oakland’s defense Sunday, largely from a dominating performance against the run (+4.0 run defense grade). Smith set the edge very well and constantly stood up the outside man (he owned Martellus Bennett, who finished the day with a -3.3 run blocking grade) on the line. He also had five defensive stops for the game, including two sacks.
– QB Derek Carr finished Sunday with an overall grade of +1.2, which meant that it was the first time in his career that he posted overall grades of at least +1.0 in back-to-back weeks. His second quarter touchdown throw to Amari Cooper (-0.3) was a thing of beauty, and he should have had a third touchdown throw on a perfectly placed ball in the third quarter, but Seth Roberts (-0.9) was unable to get both feet down in bounds. Carr still has plenty of room for improvement, though. His 69.7 accuracy percentage was below his season average of 71.7 percent (currently 19th among QBs).
– LB Curtis Lofton (-3.9) had a brutal day—to add to what has been an abysmal year so far—in pass coverage. He finished Sunday with a -5.3 coverage grade, and he allowed all six targets thrown his way to be caught for 77 yards and a touchdown. Quarterbacks are now 16 of 16 for 161 yards, two touchdowns and a 148.2 QB rating when targeting the receiver being covered by Lofton. This poor showing gives him a -6.6 coverage grade for the year.
P Marquette King (+3.7)
OLB Aldon Smith (+3.6)
NT Dan Williams (+3.1)
OLB Khalil Mack (+2.5)
DE Stacy McGee (+1.6)
WR Michael Crabtree (+1.6)
– LB Pernell McPhee had an overall grade of +6.4 on Sunday, making it his third consecutive game at +5.2 or better. McPhee had a fairly quiet day as a pass rusher (0.0 pass rush grade, one hurry), but he more than made up for it by dominating against the run. The fifth-year player out of Mississippi State finished the afternoon with a +5.6 run defense grade to go with a 21.1 run stop percentage, the highest percentage posted by any 3-4 outside linebacker so far this season.
– QB Jay Cutler returned from injury and had a solid game. He had a +0.8 grade for the day (+2.2 passing grade) and he made three big throws (including one on fourth down) during a very impressive, game-winning fourth quarter drive. Cutler was especially good in the short-passing game, completing 24 of 29 throws that traveled 10 yards or fewer through the air.
– Rookie NT Eddie Goldman had his best game of the season on Sunday, posting a +2.5 overall grade. Goldman recorded the first sack of his career, but where he really shined was in run defense, where he had a +3.0 grade. Goldman had one stop against the run, and he consistently ate up blockers in the middle of the line of scrimmage, forcing Raiders’ running backs out of their intended running lanes.
OLB Pernell McPhee (+6.4)
NT Eddie Goldman (+2.5)
RT Kyle Long (+1.6)
LB Shea McClellin (+1.5)
FS Antrel Rolle (+1.4)