Grading the Oakland Raiders' Week 3

By Josh Walfish




The game may have ended 24 hours ago, but the professor is finally handing out his grades from Week 3. The Oakland Raiders finally got into the win column with a 34-31 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. So how did everyone stack up this week after getting embarrassed last week?

Quarterbacks- Carson Palmer did not get off to such a great start, throwing an interception on his first pass attempt of the game. He did improve, but only threw for 209 yards. Not that it mattered though because Palmer threw for three touchdowns and completed 70 percent of his passes in the win. A-

Running Backs- It’s about time someone kicked these running backs into gear especially Darren McFadden. The back out of Arkansas finally lived up to his potential, breaking through for 113 yards on 18 carries and a 64-yard score against the Steelers. His 6.3 yards per carry is impressive and will need to continue if the Raiders want to continue to succeed this season. A

Wide Receivers- Palmer may have had three touchdown passes, but the receivers caught two of them. The group came to life Sunday with Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore having good games along with Derek Hagan. The injury to Heyward-Bey will be the talking point and could be a crippling blow to the unit. B

Offensive Line- One sack is forgivable in the NFL and the Raiders’ offensive line found ways to open up holes for the running game and keep Palmer safe. It’s a major step up from last week and it looks like the line did not miss Khalif Barnes at all on the right side. B+

Defensive Line- After giving up more than 250 yards on the ground last week, anything was going to be an improvement. However, no expected Oakland to shut down the Pittsburgh rushing attack to 54 yards on 20 carries. Isaac Redman only got 27 yards on the ground in what was a exponentially better performance from the Raiders’ front line. B+

Linebackers-  Phillip Wheeler was an animal Sunday with 11 tackles including seven solo stops. The rest of the linebackers had a great game especially Rolando McClain with his nine tackles. This unit is in no way consistent enough, but Wheeler is starting to get there. The big issue is Heath Miller tore up the Raiders for eight catches and 60 yards with two touchdowns. B-

Secondary- This unit was by far the worst of the entire team. While Tyvon Branch did have 10 tackles, Ben Roethlisberger tore up the secondary for 384 yards while completing 73 percent of his passes. Oakland won, but its pass defense did not show up. That could be a major problem in the future especially with Peyton Manning coming up next week. C-

Special Teams- A game-winning field goal automatically boosts this unit’s grade up, but it really didn’t need any help. Sebastian Janikowski continued to be a reliable and clutch kicker and Shane Lechler boomed a 60-yard punt and ended the day with a 51.7 yards per punt average. This is the type of performance Oakland should expect from it’s specialists. A

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