Photo credit: @Raiders
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
After five weeks of NFL games, the Raiders find themselves on a bye week entering Week 6 of the 2019 schedule.
The Raiders (3-2) shook off a 1-2 start and are riding a two-game winning streak heading into break thanks in large part of a efficiency on offense, and aggressive defense.
Quarterback Derek Carr has gotten off to a good start, completing 118 of 161 passes for 1,117 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions while sporting a 96.7 passer rating through five games.
In a season that was expected to feature superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown to be a key weapon for Carr after acquiring the mercurial Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers in an offseason trade before Brown would force his way out of Oakland, the Raiders signal-caller has spread the ball around field most notably to tight end Darren Waller.
Waller, who is in his second season with Oakland, leads the team in receptions (37) and receiving yards (359) this season. Even though wide receiver Tyrell Williams leads the team with four touchdown catches, Carr looks for Waller on almost every passing play.
Oakland ranks 18th in total offense, averaging 20.6 points per game.
But the true weapon for Oakland’s offense is rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who is the engine that powers Oakland’s ninth-ranked rushing attack.
Through five games, Jacobs is easily the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year with 88 carries for 430 yards and four touchdowns to lead all rookie rushers. His 430 yards on the ground are more than Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen through Allen’s first five games in Silver and Black per the Elias Sports Bureau.
Throw in six catches for 77 yards as an added bonus, and Jacobs is a complete running back who fits in today’s NFL where running backs must be reliable in the passing game.
Defensively, linebacker Tahir Whitehead paces the team with 31 total tackles (25 solo, 6 assisted); while defensive end Benson Mayowa leads the Raiders with 4.5 sacks this season.
Oakland ranks 16th in the NFL in scoring defense, surrendering 24.6 points per game.
Safety Erik Harris has Oakland’s biggest play on defense this season, cementing Oakland’s 31-24 win in Indianapolis in Week 4 with a pick-6 interception in the fourth quarter.
Following Oakland’s Week 6 bye, the Raiders continue their five-game road trip (even though last week’s 24-21 victory over the Chicago Bears in London was considered a “home” game), with a trip to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 7 before finishing up against the Houston Texans in Week 8.