Oakland Raiders: A Few Notable Numbers Through Two Weeks Of Play

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Michael Crabtree
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Michael Crabtree /
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Oakland Raiders
OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 17: Matt Forte /


Last season, Oakland’s defense was – to put it kindly – sort of a dumpster fire. They didn’t play the run or the pass particularly well in giving up a ton of yards and a ton of points. Overall in 2016, the defense ranked twenty-sixth on the year in yards allowed, twentieth in points allowed.

While certain aspects of Oakland’s defense have definitely improved – and the unit overall seems to be better – there should still be some concern over the state of the run defense.

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Last year, the Raiders ranked twenty-third against the run, giving up roughly 117.5 yards per game. The thought was that by getting Mario Edwards Jr. back into the lineup and adding Eddie Vanderdoes – as well as shedding underperforming players like Dan Williams – the line would benefit and the run defense would be stout.

And to be fair, the run defense has been better this season. There have been fewer big impact runs in the two games thus far. The defense limited the Tennessee Titans – a team with one of the league’s better offensive lines and a pair of powerful running backs in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry – to a total of 95 yards in week one.

And 26 of those yards came from quarterback Marcus Mariota. Murray chipped in 44 and Henry 25. Oakland’s run defense was indeed stout and controlled much of Tennessee’s ground game.

Against the Jets though, Oakland’s run defense allowed 126 yards on the ground. And when you’re facing a team with an offensive line as porous as New York’s, that’s not good. To be fair, 31 of those yards came via Josh McCown scrambling – 22 yards on one play alone. But they still allowed Matt Forte to net 53 yards on nine carries (an average of 5.9 yards per carry), 29 yards on six carries to Elijah McGuire, and 13 yards on six carries to Bilal Powell.

As a whole, the Raiders are giving up 110.5 yards on the ground per game – only slightly down from the 2016 incarnation of the team’s run defense.

While they’ve done a good job overall in limiting the effectiveness of the opposing team’s running game, the Raiders need to tighten up their run defense all the same.