After all the theatrics plaguing the Oakland Raiders this off-season, they proved to be more than the narrative surrounding them. From whistle to whistle, the Raiders beat the Denver Broncos in all three phases of the game. While the defense and running back Josh Jacobs will be rightfully praised, the offensive line is the unsung hero.
This offensive line was showing shades of 2016, back when the Raiders last made the playoffs. The tandem of Trent Brown and Kolton Miller led the line, and not only surrendered zero sacks, but didn’t allow Derek Carr to get hit once the whole game. In fact, Carr didn’t often have to scramble away from pressure in the pocket. Carr stood his ground in the pocket and delivered laser after laser to his receivers.
This great offensive line work was done, remarkably, against a defensive front that features Bradley Chubb and former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. Even more remarkably, the play that sealed the game couldn’t have been done without their O-line stepping up. Miller initiated a huge block that allowed Tyrell Williams to get the first down and seal the victory.
Oakland Raiders Offensive Line Plays a Huge Role in Week One Win
Backing Up the Run Game
The offensive line play opened up the Raiders’ playbook to its full capabilities. Coach Gruden seamlessly transitioned from run to pass plays, and the Broncos just couldn’t keep up. This balanced attack allowed the Raiders to march down the field with relative ease and secure an early 14-0 lead. Jacobs was frequently able to find the open hole and give his team short-yardage situations on second and third down. The Raiders were 10 of 14 on third down, and eight conversions came on rushes. The O-line’s ability to open up the line of scrimmage was crucial in sustaining long drives and winning the time of possession battle.
Giving Derek Carr a Break
When the Raiders weren’t pounding it up the middle, Derek Carr was cutting up the defense like arts and crafts. The formidable Broncos defensive front was completely neutralized and Carr took full advantage. With ample time to survey the field, Carr put together an impressive 22-26 for 259 yards and one touchdown. After two rough seasons, his biggest successes are just going to start now. This improved line has helped breathe new life into the Raiders’ passing and rushing attack. If last night was any indication of how this season will be, things are looking bright for the Raiders thanks in big part to their flashy new offensive line.