What We Saw: Week 16

It was a big week for young WRs

Broncos @ Raiders

Final Score: Raiders 17, Broncos 13

Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)

 

This game comes down to one stat: The Raiders were 6/12 on third down while the Broncos were 1/10. Because of this, the Broncos really struggled to establish the ground game while the Raiders scored on two long drives that featured their franchise RB, Josh JacobsJavonte Williams was able to punch in a one-yard TD after an incredible interception by Bradley Chubb with under 30 seconds to go in the 1st half, but that was really the only positive thing for either Williams or Melvin Gordon on the day.

Despite dominating the turnover game, Denver still lost thanks to their offensive limitations and their inability to stop Josh Jacobs on the ground.

 

 

Denver Broncos

 

Quarterbacks

 

Drew Lock: 15/22, 153 yards, 2 Sacks | 2 carries, 10 yards

 

Drew Lock made his first start of the season for the Broncos and he played mistake-free football for the entirety of the game. He showed off his trademark arm strength for much of the game and threw some dimes down the field, though his receivers struggled to come down with catches. He threw deep balls to both Courtland Sutton and Albert Okwuegbunam that couldn’t be corralled, with Sutton being unable to get his feet inbounds while Albert O had the ball bounce off his facemask. Both were big plays that should have been converted and put Denver in a good position to score.

I was impressed by Lock in this game. He clearly wanted to win the game and earn the job moving forward, and he did what he did while facing constant pressure from Maxx Crosby. I would have liked to see fewer downfield shots and more dink and dunk to help move the sticks and keep their drives going, but that was likely a result of poor play calling. Drew Lock didn’t lose the game for the Broncos.

 

Running Backs

 

Javonte Williams: 7 carries, 12 yards, TD | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards

Melvin Gordon III: 7 carries, -4 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards

 

Woof. This was… bad. When you’re getting stuffed on 1st down and not converting on third and long it’s tough to get anything going on offense, but I really would have liked to see Denver try to utilize these backs more than they did. Williams was lucky to get his touchdown at the end of the 1st half, and he did have a 12-yard reception called back, but otherwise, it was a brutal day for both him and Melvin Gordon III. Both players should have been more involved in the passing game but they simply weren’t even a consideration. It really just didn’t make any sense. Hopefully, you were able to survive this performance if you started either player because the Broncos have a much easier opponent next week against their division rival in Los Angeles.

 

 

(they didn’t feed him)

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Jerry Jeudy: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 60 yards

Tim Patrick: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards

Noah Fant: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards

Courtland Sutton: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 33 yards

Albert Okwuegbunam: 2 targets

 

None of these guys did much to help their team on offense today. I saw bad drops by Jerry Jeudy, and Albert O which would have extended drives, and Courtland Sutton had a catch on the sideline where he should have gotten his feet down in bounds but didn’t. Denver’s longest play on offense was a play-action throw downfield to Jeudy, who found open space in the defense and turned a 15-yard catch into a 40 yard gain with his legs. He’s still a dynamic player with the ball in his hands, but he still struggles to get the ball successfully into his hands. With a struggling run game for much of the day, Denver needed these guys to step up and they couldn’t do it. This receiving corps lost the game for Denver on Sunday.

 

Las Vegas Raiders

 

Quarterback

 

Derek Carr: 20/25, 201 yards, TD, INT, 2 Sacks, Fumble (Lost) | 7 carries, 5 yards

 

I don’t want to say that Derek Carr played the game manager role today because he did take some shots downfield and didn’t shy away from making plays, but with the way Josh Jacobs was running the ball Carr tried his base to just help guide Las Vegas to a victory. He was responsible for two turnovers on the day – a fumble on a strip-sack where his lineman missed a block, and a crazy interception at the end of the first half that was a combo of bad play calling (they probably should have just taken a knee) and a ridiculous play by linebacker Bradley Chubb for Denver.

 

 

 

 

After the strip sack, Carr got up grimacing and holding his shoulder. He went straight to the blue medical tent and, with backup Marcus Mariota on the COVID list, Nathan Peterman started warming up on the sideline. Twitter started buzzing for about five minutes with the thought of Peterman under center, but Carr toughed it out and returned for the Raiders’ next series and wouldn’t miss a snap. He even injured his leg at one point and was noticeably limping on the field, but nothing kept him out of this game.

My favorite play of the day from Carr was actually a sack. On third and short in the red zone, Carr took the snap and had some time to scan the field and find an open receiver. The only problem was that Denver’s coverage was perfect, and when Carr jumped to throw the ball he quickly realized he had nobody open and held onto the ball. He would get dragged down for the sack a moment later, but had he forced a throw instead of taking the sack he likely would have been picked and three points would have come off the board. It was a really good decision by Carr that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

 

Running Back

 

Josh Jacobs: 27 carries, 129 yards, Fumble (Lost) | 3 targets, 1 reception, -5 yards

Peyton Barber: 5 carries, 22 yards, TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 0 yards

Jalen Richard: 1 carry, 4 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards

 

Josh Jacobs had himself a day. He had no problem finding lanes to run against this Denver defense and consistently broke off chunk plays of 5+ yards. He had one bad mistake, however, a fumble while getting too cute with the football in his hands instead of tucking it away.

 

 

He also fumbled the ball later in the game while getting dragged down on a long run, but luckily for him he was ruled down by contact after review. This happened in the midst of the Raiders’ second touchdown-scoring drive, a drive where Jacobs carried the rock for 57 yards. Surely he was rewarded for all of his hard work with a carry at the goal line, right? Nope.

 

 

Peyton Barber vultured the touchdown on one of his five carries on the day. Hopefully, Jacobs was just gassed and needed a breather rather than Barber being the goal-line back, but Jacobs’ huge day could have been even bigger.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Zay Jones: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 50 yards

Foster Moreau: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 67 yards

Hunter Renfrow: 3 targets, 3 catches, 40 yards, TD

DeSean Jackson: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 44 yards

 

I really liked what I saw out of Foster Moreau today, who started at TE with Darren Waller still out. He caught all four of his targets, including a couple to extend drives as well as the game-sealing catch at the end of the game. This offense works much better with a capable tight end in the starting lineup, and he showed today that he can be that guy if needed.

 

 

Zay Jones looked explosive at times and also looked like he was running in molasses at times. It’s strange to see such a Jekyll and Hyde split in the same game from the same player, but that’s just the type of player he is. He made a nice catch on a slant across the middle where he slid to avoid a hit as he grabbed the ball, and for the most part he did what they asked him to do. The same goes for DeSean Jackson, who caught a few balls and didn’t do anything stupid to hurt his team. That’s always a positive. Neither player is fantasy relevant.

The one fantasy-relevant player in this group, Hunter Renfrow, had a quiet game by his recent standards, but he did have two phenomenal catches that should be on all the highlight reels this week.

 

 

 

Renfrow was double covered at times and simply didn’t find enough open space for Carr to get him the ball more than the few times he did.

 

Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)

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