OAK-CLE Grades: Woodson seals win, but Mack is star
Here are the top takeaways from Sunday’s Oakland-Cleveland game, including the highest-graded players from each team:
— The Oakland offensive line had a very nice outing against the Browns as they allowed only three quarterback hurries. Left tackle Donald Penn (+3.4) led the unit and his overall grade was the highest on the Raiders offense. He allowed one pressure on 36 pass block snaps and he finished the game with a team-high run block grade of +2.4.
— Cleveland tried blocking Khalil Mack (+4.6) with tight ends and fullbacks on some occasions and the second-year player punished the Browns for it. He picked up five total pressures on 47 pass rush snaps, including two sacks and two hits. He also recorded four run stops and blew up several run plays from the edge on his way to a team-high run defense grade of +2.3.
— While Aldon Smith (-3.9) graded out positively against the run due to a couple nice plays, his overall grade was the lowest on Oakland’s defense. This was partially due to the two penalties he committed and also because he had to go up against one of the best left tackles in football in Joe Thomas, who successfully kept him in check for most of the afternoon. Consequently, he recorded only one quarterback hurry on 46 pass rush snaps.
— Safety Charles Woodson (+1.1) cannot make great plays as consistently as he once could and this showed in the first 59 minutes of yesterday’s matchup. Woodson allowed three receptions on six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown up to that point. He also graded negatively against the run and missed a tackle. However, he certainly made up for it on the last defensive play as he baited quarterback Josh McCown into a seemingly easy pass before making a great break on the football to seal the win for the Raiders.
LB Khalil Mack (+4.6)
LT Donald Penn (+3.4)
QB Derek Carr (+2.9)
RT Austin Howard (+2.9)
LB Malcom Smith (+1.6)
— It is a recipe for allowing big plays if your safeties miss the most tackles on defense, and this is what happened to the Browns yesterday. Out of the 14 missed tackles recorded by Cleveland, eight came from the trio of Jordan Poyer (-3.7), Donte Whitner (-3.1) and Tashaun Gipson (-1.5). With the exception of Poyer, the trio also struggled in pass coverage.
— The duel of cornerback Joe Haden (-2.7) and wide receiver Amari Cooper was one of the more anticipated aspects of yesterday’s game. While Cooper may still be a rookie he won the matchup, and it wasn’t close. Haden allowed a reception on all six targets when he was in coverage on Cooper. Overall, he gave up 87 yards and also missed two tackles on the former Alabama standout. Derek Carr had a passer rating of 118.8 when targeting Haden, which is tied for the highest figure on the Browns defense.
— While quarterback Josh McCown (-2.5) did have some good throws on the two final drives for the Browns, he struggled most of the afternoon, especially when he was blitzed. His completion percentage dropped from 69.2 to 43.5 when being blitzed and his passer rating dropped from 90.9 to 64.3 when he was pressured. In addition, he managed to complete only 2 of 6 passes that traveled more than 20 yards.
— Tight end Gary Barnidge (-2.0) did have some success in the pass game as he caught 6 of his 10 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. McCown also had a passer rating of 129.2 when throwing his way. However, most of these receptions and yards came due to rather poor coverage from the Raiders rather than spectacular plays from Barnidge. In addition, he often had the tough task of going up against Khalil Mack in the run game where he failed to impress, which led to a team-low run block grade of -2.7.
C Alex Mack (+3.5)
LT Joe Thomas (+3.0)
RG John Greco (+2.2)
WR Brian Hartline (+1.6)
DE Jamie Meder (+1.5)