In a game with significant AFC playoff implications, it was the Las Vegas Raiders who kept their hopes alive, coming away with a 17-13 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 16.
A close game the entire duration, the Raiders needed a critical pass late in the game to extend their final drive and prevent Denver getting a chance to mount a final comeback attempt.
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Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr didn’t have it easy against a formidable Denver defense, but he did land the only big-time throw of the game. He connected on significant plays to Zay Jones and Hunter Renfrow throughout the day. When kept clean in the pocket, Carr passed for 8.7 yards per attempt and completed 81.8% of his passes.
Josh Jacobs had an impressive game despite putting the ball on the ground with a fumble. He had 27 carries for 129 yards, 82 of which came after contact. Jacobs made multiple plays in the game where an impressive cut sprang him into open space and turned a dead play into something productive for the Raiders.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Hunter Renfrow opened the scoring with a spectacular diving catch in the end zone on a well-thrown pass from Carr, tipping the cap to John Madden by getting a knee down rather than two feet before going out of bounds. Renfrow caught all three passes thrown his way for 40 yards with an average depth of target 15.7 yards downfield (one was behind the line of scrimmage).
As has been customary this season, Alex Leatherwood struggled on the offensive line and was back to being a liability as a pass-blocker against Shelby Harris in particular. Leatherwood didn’t give up that much pressure because the ball was coming out of Carr’s hands quickly, but he was beaten as many times on reps that didn’t become pressure as the ones where he did, and he had a rough pressure rate of 13.3%.
Maxx Crosby continued his elite season for the Raiders' defensive front. Crosby showed well against the run and as a pass-rusher, even if he didn’t lead the team in pressures this week (Quinton Jefferson did inside). Crosby had a pass-rush win rate of 40%, racking up a huge volume of winning reps.
Four different linebackers saw snaps for the Raiders, but the majority of the work came from Divine Deablo and Denzel Perryman, who each played at least 30 defensive snaps. Both players were better in run defense than in coverage, with Perryman making a pair of defensive stops in the run game.
Desmond Trufant was the player who Drew Lock went after the most, sending the ball into his coverage 10 times and completing seven of those passes. Lock only attempted 22 passes, so Trufant’s targets represented 45% of his attempts. Those passes resulted in only 60 yards, and Trufant had more defensive stops in coverage (three) than first downs allowed (two).
|Casey Hayward Jr.||25||2||2||27|
Drew Lock started the game for Denver and had to do some significant lifting with Denver’s run game virtually eliminated by the Raiders. Lock attempted 22 passes while the Broncos running backs combined for 14 carries. The Broncos had just eight first downs on offense and converted only a single third down.
Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon have split the load relatively evenly all season, and that happened again but this time with far less success. Both players carried the ball seven times, but Williams was the only one who actually finished with positive yardage, gaining 12 yards and a touchdown compared to -4 yards for Gordon. Each player gained more after contact than the net yardage they finished with.
|Player||Snaps||Carries||Targets||Yards After Contact|
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Jerry Jeudy had been the primary target with Bridgewater at quarterback, but the targets seemed more evenly spread out in this game. Jeudy, Tim Patrick, Cortland Sutton and Noah Fant each had between four and five targets, with Jeudy’s 60 yards leading the team. He was the only Broncos receiver to average more than 2.0 yards per route run.
Denver’s offensive line was handled in the run game by the Raiders' defensive front. None of their starting five earned good grades in that facet, though the range in pass protection was far wider. Austin Schlottmann and Garett Bolles represented the two ends of the spectrum in that area, with Bolles surrendering just two hurries while Schlottmann gave up twice that at a position typically far more difficult to allow pressure in.
One of the biggest plays in the game came from Bradley Chubb, who managed to bat a pass in the air and then intercept it himself and return it to the Raiders' 1-yard line, allowing the team to punch in a touchdown on the next play. Chubb had a solid day as a pass-rusher with a pass-rush win rate of 15.0%.
|Player||Pass Rushes||Stops||Pass-Rush Win Rate|
Baron Browning and Jonas Griffith were the only linebackers to see any snaps for Denver, with Griffith doing the most to stand out. He had six tackles (five of which were defensive stops) in the run game and an average depth of tackle in that area just 1.8 yards downfield.
Derek Carr completed 83.3% of his passes, so the coverage numbers won’t look fantastic. Patrick Surtain allowed a catch on all five targets thrown into his coverage, giving up 55 yards and a passer rating of 112.5. Three of the five catches he allowed went for first downs.