Raiders Stats and Storylines: Week 11 Edition

Week 11 will pit the Raiders against the Bengals in a matchup of two teams who desperately need a win to stay in playoff contention.

Much like the Raiders, the Bengals started the season hot but have cooled down considerably of late. Also, much like the Raiders, the Bengals have lost their last two games, one against an inferior team from New York and the other at the hands of a division rival.

Let’s take a look at the storylines surrounding the Raiders as they enter this pivotal game.

1. Raiders Free-Falling Playoff Hopes

Entering Week 11, the Raiders have a 29% chance of making the playoffs, according to The Upshot. Contrast that to two weeks ago, when they were one win away from being 76% favorites.

Now, they need to upset the Bengals just to avoid plummeting to below 20%:

The playoff race is extremely tight in the AFC and the Raiders badly need a win to keep pace.

2. They Are Who the Sportsbooks Thought They Were

After the hot start, it appeared that the Raiders would wildly exceed expectations this season. After their two-game skid, this is becoming less likely, with their current odds inching closer to their preseason expectations:

There is still plenty of time to turn things around, but another late-season collapse has the Raiders trending in the wrong direction.

3. Can the Raiders Get Five More Wins?

It will likely take a minimum of ten wins to make the playoffs in the AFC. The Raiders currently have five, putting them halfway there. When looking at their upcoming opponents, it’s unclear whom the other five wins would come against:

With Washington upsetting Tampa Bay, that game is no gimme. Therefore, not only is it imperative that the Raiders defeat the Bengals, they also must fix the team’s deficiencies in order to have a chance in their upcoming of slate of games against playoff-bound teams.

4. Bisaccia’s 4th-Down Struggles Continue

One of the biggest deficiencies continues to be the fourth-down decision making, with interim coach Rich Bisaccia making another bad decision in the game against the Chiefs. Faced with a 4th and 5 near midfield, Bisaccia chose to play the field position game by punting. The Chiefs proceeded to go 89 yards in under 8 minutes for a touchdown.

In their games with Bisaccia at the helm, the Raiders are below average in this category:

Bisaccia’s job is to put the Raiders in a position to win. And his fourth-down decisions are doing the opposite. To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the decisions he’s faced, categorized by choice:

Went For it (2 Conversions, 7 points)

  • 4th and 1 in Eagles Game: Successful conversion. Carr passes short left to Bryan Edwards for a touchdown.
  • 4th and 1 in Giants Game: Successful conversion. Mariota runs for a six-yard gain.

Did Not Go For it (6 points, 1 missed FG, 1 punt)

  • 4th and 1 in Eagles game: Carlson 28 yard field goal is good.
  • 4th and 6 in Giants game: Carlson 25 yard field goal is good.
  • 4th and 3 in Giants game: Carlson 25 yard field goal is no good.
  • 4th and 5 in Chiefs game: Cole punts for 40 yards to KC 11. The Chiefs score TD on ensuing drive.

Other (Alex Leatherwood Penalty)

  • 4th and 1 in Chiefs Game: Alex Leatherwood false start enforced at KC 47, Raiders then punt.


On the two plays Bisaccia went for it, the Raiders converted both and scored one touchdown. On the plays he was conservative, the Raiders made two fields goals, missed one field goal and punted to a Chiefs team that quickly scored. It couldn’t be more clear that Bisaccia needs to be more aggressive.

5. The Need for Speed

Another notable deficiency: The post-Ruggs offense. With more practice time, one can hope that DeSean Jackson gets more snaps this week. Before looking ahead, though, let’s look at how Carr’s post-Ruggs targets have been distributed:

In the two games without Henry Ruggs, the Raiders continue to increase the usage of the backs in the passing game. To put it mildly, the result has been lacking, with the Raiders having the seventh-worst dropback EPA over the last two weeks:

The Raiders offense desperately needs DeSean Jackson — or another athletic player — to step up.

6. Where Art Thou Foster Moreau?

Notably missing from the above target-distribution chart is one Foster Moreau. The tight end was a major red zone threat in his rookie season, when he scored five touchdowns, but has been mostly absent from the passing-game this year.

In fact, in the two games without Henry Ruggs, here were his target numbers:

  • Week 9: 0
  • Week 10: 0

I’m no mathematician, but even I can do that arithmetic. And the sum of zero makes no sense. For his career, Moreau has shown superb hands, catching 38 of his 45 targets with zero drops. Furthermore, his lack of involvement is even more perplexing when you consider his elite athleticism:

With Alec Ingold now on injured reserve and out for the remainder of the season, one would hope that offensive coordinator Greg Olson would involve one of his most athletic players.

7. Alex Leatherwood Penalties — And Play — Continue to be a Problem

Speaking of athleticism, fewer players in the league are more athletic than this year’s first round pick. Unfortunately, few players are having as poor a season, either. His false start on 4th-and-1 was a drive-killer and, unfortunately, continues to be a theme:

CategoryStatNFL Rank
Sacks Allowed5Sixth Worst
QB Hits Allowed12Second Worst
Total Pressures Allowed36Fourth Worst
Penalties11Second Worst
PFF Grade40.7Second Worst

A career is not judged by a rookie season. That said, Leatherwood appears to be headed down the same path as Clelin Ferrell and Damon Arnette: players who were overdrafted and underproduced.

8. Josh Jacobs’ Disappointing Season

With the early returns on Leatherwood being disastrous, it’s a fitting time to check in on another former first-round pick from Alabama.

Of running backs with a minimum of 75 carries this season, only two (Alexander Mattison and Myles Gaskin) have a lower EPA/rush than Josh Jacobs’ -0.22:

Certainly some of that can be attributed to the Raiders below-average run-blocking. That said, Jacobs’ rushing yards over expected is a meager 0.36 yards and Kenyan Drake — behind the same offensive line — has outperformed Jacobs in yards per carry and EPA:

Finally, among runningbacks with at least 75 carries, here’s where Jacobs ranks:

CategoryStatNFL Rank
Yards Per Attempt3.7Tenth Worst
Avg. Yards After Contact2.48Fifth Worst
15+ yard rushes1Second Worst
Longest Run15Second Worst

Having also missed time due to injury again this year, Jacobs is proving to be neither explosive nor durable. Next year, when it’s time to exercise his fifth-year option, the prudent move would be to decline it. Which would leave Kolton Miller as the lone first-round pick selected under Jon Gruden to receive an extension.

9. Raiders/Bengals: Blitz at Your Own Peril

The Raiders upcoming game will feature two of the best quarterbacks against the blitz. In fact, based off passing yards thrown against the blitz, Derek Carr and Joe Burrow are the two best:

  1. Derek Carr: 884 yards
  2. Joe Burrow: 859 yards

In a game that both teams badly need to remain in the playoff hunt, it’s probably safe to expect a shootout, with these two quarterbacks leading the way. Bettors certainly are. The Vegas point total is the second-highest of the week at 50.5 and 83% of the cash has been wagered on the over.

10. Maxx Crosby Continues Elite Play

There was one bright spot in the Raiders disappointing and embarrassing loss the Chiefs: Maxx Crosby’s continued excellent play. And he did so in the face of uncalled penalties like the one below:

Chris Reed on Twitter: “”This Raiders pass rush hasn’t gotten there” #RaiderNation / Twitter”

“This Raiders pass rush hasn’t gotten there” #RaiderNation

Despite the constant holding, Crosby recorded 13 total pressures, which was the most in Week 10 by a comfortable margin. Per PFF, his 63 pressures on the season are the most in the NFL, 13 more than runner-up Myles Garrett’s 50.

No matter the outcome for this season, Crosby is a building block for the future and, hopefully, one the next head coach won’t trade away.

Twitter: @TravisGilkeson


6 thoughts on “Raiders Stats and Storylines: Week 11 Edition

  1. I absolutely love this article and it’s breakdown of the Raiders woes. Details do matter and that’s exactly why the New England Patriots have risen, once again, to become contenders for the AFC Eastern Division title after being just one year removed from it. On the other hand, the Raiders woes are self inflicted from management, or more precisely the lack thereof, all the way down to players not being effective due to managerial malfeasance. In my opinion, the best possible news, for the Raiders, is that these inequities are front and center for the world to see. With these glaring weaknesses on center stage, it is impossible for the ownership to ignore them. The ineptitude of the “leadership” of this franchise has a white hot spotlight shining on it and the brand new 2 billion dollar stadium, in Sin City, makes management’s shortcomings even more readily apparent. Therefore, I have never been more optimistic that inevitable change is coming to this franchise and the sooner the better, for every Raiders fan that has ever lived. In other articles, I have talked about Foster Moreau’s lack of being targeted. Further, I have addressed that every receiver other than Darren Waller, Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfrow should be targeted at least twice a quarter, to prevent predictability should be part of Greg Olsen’s and Derek Carr’s objective, even if they don’t make the catch. The value of targeting Dillion Stoner, Marcell Ateman and Zay Jones at least twice per quarter cannot be underestimated. Currently, every defensive coordinator, in the league, knows that the Raiders only target three guys so they sit on those receivers. Even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder can see that so why can’t Greg Olsen and Derek Carr and YES it IS time to play Marcus Mariota.

    So, with the well document shortcomings, of this team, on full display, for the world to see, the ONLY question that remains is; WHEN does ownership address it?

  2. Great article. Excellent analysis. I concur with everthing you stated but would like to add one addtional comment/thought. Derek Carr IS NOT an elite NFL quarterback. He may be slightly above average but thats only between the 20 and 20. When it comes to standing in the pocket and NOT worrying about being hit, he’s horrible. Far too any check downs for little or no yards. Too quick to dump off rather than make a play with his legs. He becomes (two) dimentional in the red zone, either hand the ball off or try to throw a pass. There is NO threat by him to run any type of RPO, naked bootleg or take the ball in after buying himself time.
    I would be a happy camper if they traded Carr for DeShawn Watson. After 7 years of mediocre play (lots of stat yards but NO playoffs wins) it’s time to cut bait and bring in a multi-dimensional qb.

  3. The Raiders, since Tom Flores, have had lousy coaches. And even Tom Flores couldn’t keep up with the rest of the NFL after the 1985 season. Like Al Davis, Flores had his time to shine. But the NFL passed both men. And ever since, with very few exceptions, the Raiders have floundered as one of the worst teams in the NFL. Such a shame, really, since at one time the Raiders were one of the best teams. Those days are past, however, and the Raiders seem destined to be the NFL’s bottom feeder, for 36 years running, now, and the end of that does not seem near. So with that in mind, it’s a good thing they moved away. Las Vegas can have this crappy excuse for an NFL team.

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