CAR-OAK grades: Carr, Mack lead win over Panthers
Oakland Raiders 35, Carolina Panthers 32
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Raiders’ 35-32 Week 12 win over the Panthers:
Quarterback grade: Derek Carr, 66.3
Carr bounces back from injury to lead game-winning drive
Derek Carr’s overall grade is hurt by the pinkie-dislocating fumble and bad decision to keep on a zone read option, but as a passer, Carr was fantastic outside his interception to LB Thomas Davis with a pass grade of 77.7. The third-year signal caller did struggle under pressure completing just 44.4 percent of his passes for 86 yards and the TD but when given the clean pocket, Carr picked apart the Panthers’ secondary to the tune 23-30, 238 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 121.4.
Top offensive grades:
TE Clive Walford, 82.2
RG Gabe Jackson, 81.2
C Rodney Hudson, 80.3
WR Michael Crabtree, 79.4
LT Donald Penn, 79.2
OL wins battle against stout Panthers front-seven
Outside of RT Austin Howard, the Raiders big men upfront won in the trenches against the Panthers. If the top grades list was six players long, LG Kelechi Osemele would be right there at 78.9. Led by RG Gabe Jackson, the unit combined to allow just one hit and eight hurries with backup OT/TE Menelik Watson giving up the lone sack. Clive Walford was fantastic in run blocking while hauling in a few key passes including the game-tying TD while Michael Crabtree took advantage of coverage mismatches in the fourth-quarter on the game-winning drive. Second-year WR Amari Cooper surprisingly struggled against the rookie CBs of Carolina finishing with a game grade of 51.1.
Top defensive grades:
ED Khalil Mack, 92
S Reggie Nelson, 81.2
ED Bruce Irvin, 80.6
CB Sean Smith, 79.5
DI Dan Williams, 78.1
Mack dominates and Irvin puts the pressure on
Anyone watching this game knows the impact Khalil Mack had as he made one of the more impressive athletic plays of the season snatching a screen passes out of the air and returning it for a touchdown. He may have topped that with the game-winning strip-sack-recovery as he finished with one sack, five hurries, and five additional stops. Bruce Irvin wasn’t as flashy but was almost as productive recording a sack, two hits, two hurries and a batted pass as the duo is really coming into form the past four games as Mack grades as the No. 1 edge defender in that timeframe and Irvin as the fifth-best.
Quarterback grade: Cam Newton, 48.4
Newton inconsistent in defeat
The 2015 MVP had a couple of beautiful passes but was wayward on far too many as he tends to overthrow his receivers. His pick-six was costly and struggled with accuracy under pressure completing 40 percent of his passes for just 40 yards and a passer rating of 52.1. Beyond 10 yards, Cam completed just six of 14 but did connect with Ted Ginn on an 88 yard TD to inflate his overall numbers. Cam only ran three designed runs for six yards and a touchdown.
Top offensive grades:
WR Ted Ginn, 78.8
FB Mike Tolbert, 74
LG Andrew Norwell, 72.7
HB Jonathan Stewart, 72.7
RG Chris Scott, 69.2
Injuries to OL catch up to the Panthers
Losing RT Daryl Williams to injury after just 23 snaps hurt the success the OL was having as RG Trai Truner kicked out to fill the spot and Chris Scott filled in Williams was on his way to a solid game grade and Turner had to deal with the monster that is Khalil Mack. Turner is one of the best guards in the NFL but operating in space against arguably the best defender in the NFL right now is an extremely tall task. Turner allowed one sack and three hurries to Mack, all in the final quarter. Panthers’ C Gino Gradkowski also left the game and his replacement Tyler Larsen struggled in run blocking in his stead.
Top defensive grades:
ED Charles Johnson, 83.9
LB Thomas Davis, 83.9
S Tre Boston, 81.5
CB Daryl Worley, 80.9
ED Kony Ealy, 73.8
Panthers miss Kuechly as Davis tries to make up for his absence
LB Thomas Davis intercepted a bad Derek Carr pass and potentially turned the tide of the game while recording six tackles and three stops but it wasn’t enough to hold back the aerial attack from the Raiders. LB A.J. Klein tried filling in for the concussed Luke Kuechly but couldn’t match the PFF 2015 top coverage defender level of play as Klein was targeted nine times, allowing six catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Charles Johnson and Kony Ealy each recorded four pressures with Johnson getting the lone sack on Carr. Rookie Daryl Worley held Amari Cooper in check allowing just three catches for 19 yards and notching two pass defenses.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Raiders’ ED Khalil Mack
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