The weather played a huge part in this Week 8 game, as the Las Vegas Raiders were able to pull off an upset victory on the road over the Cleveland Browns. At one point in the game, there was a downpour of every wintery form of precipitation known to science — seemingly all at the same time — and that goes a long way toward explaining the low scores overall.
Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.
STORY OF THE GAME
Ultimately, the Raiders made fewer mistakes in the bad weather conditions, which was a vital difference in a low-scoring game.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield saw three key passes dropped by his receivers and had a touchdown taken off the board as Jarvis Landry was unable to come up with it absent of the ground helping him secure the football.
Mayfield wasn’t alone in being a little unlucky, and Derek Carr also had a touchdown ruled out on review, despite replays seeming to suggest Henry Ruggs III did, in fact, get both feet in on the play.
With ugly weather conditions, the focus was shifted toward the run game for both offenses. And on that front, the Raiders were both significantly more committed and more successful than the Browns. The Raiders had 45 rushing attempts that generated .216 EPA per play, significantly better than the Browns were able to manage, despite the best efforts of Kareem Hunt.
The other big difference between the teams was finishing their red-zone appearances with points. The Raiders made four trips inside the red zone and scored all four times, with three field goals and a touchdown. The Browns had three trips but came away with just one field goal, and in a game like this, that’s a terminal failing.
The Browns had a lot more in the way of rookie contributions than the Raiders did in this game. On offense, top pick Jedrick Wills Jr. was again a steady presence at left tackle, as he has been all season. Wills didn’t allow any pressure at all from 29 pass-blocking snaps, aided by the sloppy conditions making life tough for pass-rushers trying to maintain traction and footing around the edge as they attack the quarterback.
Tight end Harrison Bryant backed up last week’s big performance with another significant role — at least in terms of playing time — as he played 38 snaps on offense. He didn’t quite match the receiving output, but he caught all three passes thrown his way for 27 yards, bringing up one first down from the three catches. Donovan Peoples-Jones saw four snaps but wasn’t targeted.
On defense, Jordan Elliott played 24 snaps on the interior of the defensive line but was largely without a major impact. He had one defensive stop and didn’t generate any pressure on the four tries he had at rushing the passer.
For the Raiders, their only real rookie contribution of significance came from Ruggs. As mentioned earlier, he was arguably robbed of a touchdown by the officials, and because that play didn’t end up his way, he caught just two of four targets for only eight yards. Cornerback Amik Robertson played just two snaps as the only other rookie to see time on offense or defense.
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