Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 31-24 win over Lions


OAKLAND – The Raiders snapped a two-game losing streak on Sunday with a 31-24 victory over the Detroit Lions. It was an important win, one that started a three-game home stand off well. They have a chance to get hot, with winnable games against the L.A. Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals coming up here in Oakland.

This one hung in the balance all afternoon, until the Raiders surged ahead on Derek Carr’s touchdown strike to Hunter Renfrow. Defense made it stick, with a Karl Joseph pass breakup keeping Detroit from tying it with three seconds left.

The Raiders moved to 4-4 on the season thanks to a gritty performance that was far from perfect but just good enough to come away with a win.

Here’s how they graded out in this week’s Raiders report card.

Rushing offense

Josh Jacobs had another banner day at the office, totaling 120 yards and two touchdowns. The rookie running back was awesome while breaking Marcus Allen’s Raiders rookie rushing record, making excellent runs seem ho-hum with their frequency.

Jacobs should be recognized among the NFL’s best backs, even at this early stage in his career. He paced a balanced attack where the Raiders ran more than passed, working behind a line that remained productive without Rodney Hudson or Trent Brown.

Alec Ingold had another good day. Jalen Richard had some big runs on the game-winning drive. The Raiders totaled 171 yards on 36 carries. Another excellent showing for a consistently strong ground game.

Grade: A

Passing offense

Carr was awesome in the clutch, as he has been so many times in his career. He completed his 18th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter to beat the Lions but was solid all day. He connected with nine different receivers, including touchdown strikes to rookies Renfrow and tight end Foster Moreau.

Richard made two key catches on the final drive. Darren Waller and Tyrell Williams were active. Zay Jones is starting to make plays. Carr was sacked for the first time since Week 4, but the offensive line generally held strong. The air attack has struggled at times, but Carr has clearly found a rhythm in recent weeks that was evident throughout this game.

Grade: A-minus

Rushing defense

The Lions are committed to the run game even though they aren’t very good at it. They were OK on Sunday, averaging 4.5 yards per carry despite having little talent in the backfield with Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve. The Raiders defense has to be better up front, but 90 yards on 20 carries wasn’t a killer by any stretch.

Grade: C

Passing defense

The whole operation is a team weakness and a real liability, from the Raiders pass rush to the secondary. The Silver and Black gave up 406 yards to Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, a pocket passer rarely under pressure who was able to pick the Raiders secondary apart. Kenny Golladay had 132 yards and a touchdown and Marvin Jones Jr. had 126 and a score, dominating Raiders defensive backs.

The Lions picked on Daryl Worley in particular, though the cornerback made an excellent interception that kept points off the board. And, when it mattered most, the second came through. Karl Joseph’s pass defensed in the end zone with three seconds left, on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line sealed a Raiders victory.

Grade: D

Special teams

The Raiders successfully dialed up another fake punt, a run from Dallin Leavitt and handed quickly to Derek Carrier for a 27-yard gain. That didn’t produce points, however, as Daniel Carlson missed his field-goal attempt just wide left. A.J. Cole barely punted. Trevor Davis added some juice to the return game, but never broke a big one.

Grade: C

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The Raiders missed a golden opportunity to beat the Houston Texans last week. They didn’t let the same thing happen Sunday against Detroit. They kept the points coming and did just enough on defense to hold their lead late. This was game wasn’t pretty, but it was hard-fought.

The Raiders proved resilient yet again and showed that they are making significant progress this season under Jon Gruden. This was a big moment in the season, and the Raiders gutted out a win. Impressive stuff.

Grade: A

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