ReFo: Raiders @ Browns, Week 8
A week after giving the Jacksonville Jaguars their first win of the season, the Cleveland Browns needed a bounce-back game against the Oakland Raiders in order to keep pace in the suddenly competitive AFC North. They got just that as they came away with the 23-13 victory, though it wasn’t always pretty.
Neither offense moved the ball with much efficiency, as the three-quarter battle of field goals turned in Cleveland’s favor in the fourth quarter as they took advantage of a couple of Oakland fumbles to put their only two touchdowns on the board.
For the Browns, they move to 4-3 to remain in the hunt in the AFC North, while the Raiders continue their all too familiar mid-season voyage into planning for the future. Here’s a look at the key performances from Sunday’s AFC showdown.
Oakland Raiders – Performances of Note
Khalil Mack, OLB: +7.1
Breakdown: Seems like we are praising Mack on a weekly basis, but he deserves it. He’s a game-changer in the running game and that was evident just by watching the Browns tight ends trying to block him. More often than not, they were knocked a few yards into the backfield, leaving the running back with little room to run and Mack with one of this team-high six stops. He also had two hits and four hurries on 24 rushes.
Signature Plays: It’s Mack’s power in the running game that shows up every week. Whether it was his domination of TE Jordan Cameron at the 6:51 mark of the first quarter or his blowing up the Browns’ toss play by manhandling TE Jim Dray with 8:13 to go in the third quarter, Mack was living in the Cleveland backfield all afternoon.
Charles Woodson, S: +2.4
Breakdown: Just as fellow 1998 draft alumnus Peyton Manning is still going strong, Woodson is proving that he still has something left in the tank every week. He was all over the field again, grading at +1.3 in the running game and +1.0 in coverage. He finished right behind Mack with five stops on the day.
Signature Pays: The Raiders were aggressive with their safeties in the running game and Woodson took advantage by beating LT Joe Thomas’ block at the 8:17 mark of the second quarter to make the tackle for no gain. He nearly had an interception with 1:06 to go in the first quarter as he did a nice job of staying on top of WR Travis Benjamin’s deep crossing route and ultimately knocked the pass away.
Austin Howard, RG: -2.1
Breakdown: The transition to guard hasn’t gone smoothly for Howard who struggled again this week. He was solid in pass protection, finishing at +0.9 – his highest grade since Week 2 – but it was his -3.2 grade in the running game stood out.
Signature Plays: Howard struggled when asked to pull, being either a little too slow to the hole or failing to block anyone altogether once he got there. Throw in his holding penalty at the 10:42 mark of the third quarter and it wasn’t his finest game.
Cleveland Browns – Performances of Note
Andrew Hawkins, WR: +3.0
Breakdown: In an otherwise weak offensive performance for Cleveland, Hawkins made big plays throughout the afternoon. He finished with seven catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, with six of those catches going for first downs. QB Brian Hoyer had a passer rating of 152.1 when throwing his way.
Signature Plays: Hawkins’ shiftiness in the slot was on display on the first play of the game as he shook LB Sio Moore to pick up 14 yards. His biggest play came with 23 seconds to go in the third quarter as he slipped in between CB Carlos Rogers and Woodson to pick up 32 yards on a corner route.
Barkevious Mingo, OLB: +2.4
Breakdown: A hot-button issue for Cleveland fans, Mingo is transitioning into a new role this year, playing a lot more in coverage and taking away some of the pass rushing snaps for which he was drafted in the first round in 2013. He was strong in the running game (+2.2) in this one, often beating blockers and re-directing runs. He did have some blips in coverage and he only rushed the passer 14 times, picking up one QB hit. He played a career-high 23 snaps in coverage.
Signature Plays: While Mack was using power to set the edge for the Raiders, Mingo use his athleticism, as evidenced by his quick move around RT Menelik Watson to take out fullback Jamize Olawale’s lead block at the 9:51 mark of the first quarter. He then got inside TE Michal Rivera to make the tackle with 12:08 to go in the second quarter. In coverage, his missed tackle on RB Darren McFadden stood out, as he whiffed in the flat with 6:56 to go in the third.
Nick McDonald, C: -4.4
Breakdown: Center is a major issue for the Browns with Pro-Bowler Alex Mack on the shelf and it was a rough first impression for McDonald. He graded at -2.2 in the running game and -1.8 in pass protection, to go with a false start penalty.
Signature Plays: McDonald allowed DE Antonio Smith to get around him easily for the pressure at the 4:51 mark of the first quarter on a play that was nullified by a penalty. He didn’t add much in the running game as evidenced by his bullying at the hands of NT Justin Ellis with 6:51 to go in the first. Throw in the false start penalty and a high shotgun snap and it all amounted to poor grade for McDonald.
PFF Game Ball
Even in a losing effort, Khalil Mack’s dominating performance against the run earns him the game ball for this week.
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