It didn’t come easy, but the Oakland Raiders were able to pull off their fourth win of the season versus the Detroit Lions. The game was close to the very last play and a couple of plays could’ve easily changed the outcome of the game. One play that was a difference-maker was a big reception by running back Jalen Richard on a pass from Derek Carr that came on the game-winning drive. Carr took a chance to take a playful jab at Richard after the game.
“We were hoping that he was so short that [the Lions] wouldn’t see him,” said Carr to the media about Richard’s big play in the fourth quarter. “We’ve seen over the years how good Jalen and DeAndre [Washington] are, they’ve just always been stuck behind somebody. But they don’t look at it that way, they look at it like a three-headed type of thing… I think Jalen did a great job of making some of those plays for us.”
At 5’8, Richard is one of the shortest players in the NFL. That hasn’t stopped him from being one of the most effective pass-catchers out of the backfield in the entire NFL. He came in clutch for a Raiders team that needed a big win after losing two in a row.
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Analysts Show the Raiders Some Love
Due to the fact the Raiders have been among the NFL’s worst for many years now, they don’t typically get much love in the media. Now at 4-4 with a very easy schedule the rest of the way, Oakland has a real shot at making the playoffs. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd has been among the biggest Raider naysayers and now even he’s starting to come around.
Oakland just came off a devastating loss to a very talented Houston Texans team and that was their second in a row. Sunday marked the first time the Raiders had played in their home stadium since Week 2. The Detroit Lions are a tough team, but Oakland needed the win. It got really close towards the end and Matthew Stafford was could have easily forced overtime. However, the defense was able to do something that it hasn’t all season: it stood strong and got the stop.
While the Raiders are trending upwards and have a real chance at getting to the playoffs, it’ll probably take another year before they’re ready for Super Bowl contention. They are very young and need to add some talent at wide receiver and all over the defense if they’re going to compete with the best the NFL has to offer.
As ESPN’s Field Yates noted, the Raiders haven’t had an easy ride to this point in the season. The fact that they’ve already matched their 2018 win total is very impressive. It also needs to be noted that all four of Oakland’s touchdowns in Week 9 came from rookies. General manager Mike Mayock put together an impressive draft class and those players should just keep getting better.