The Oakland Raiders’ 17-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was not pretty at times as the offense couldn’t get going and they found themselves trailing to the only winless team in football.
Although the Bengals struck first, it really was the Raiders defense that kept them in the game. With rookie quarterback Ryan Finley manning Cincinnati’s offense, the Raiders defensive line was able to frustrate him all game.
No one frustrated Finley more than fellow rookie Maxx Crosby. He has been one of the Raiders’ numerous breakout players this year and he did not fail to impress in Week 11. He finished the game with four sacks, which according to Field Yates of ESPN, hasn’t happened very many times:
Raiders DE Maxx Crosby is just the fourth rookie in NFL history to record 4.0 sacks in a single game. Unblockable today.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 18, 2019
Crosby has clearly become yet another Raiders rookie to build around heading forward. He started the game sacking Finley on the Bengals’ first drive while also forcing a fumble, and helped to seal the game by sacking him with under two minutes left. With Crosby bookending his performance with a pair of sacks, he could not have left his mark on the game in any better way.
His four sacks bring him to 6.5 on the season which is good for third-best amongst NFL rookies in 2019. It will be interesting to see how much more damage Crosby can do this season as he has only picked up steam with each passing game.
While the sack numbers may not look that high, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden knows the impact Crosby has been making every week and is happy to see him finally being rewarded for it, via Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
“We’ve been talking a lot about the factor grade here,” Gruden said of Crosby’s impact. “Finally someone will count the sacks and write a nice story about him.
“He’s been near the quarterback. He’s been hitting the quarterback. He’s been batting balls down from the quarterback and today, he got to the quarterback. … He’s gotten stronger, he’s gotten better and he’s got a great future here.”
Clelin Ferrell had a quiet game for the Raiders, picking up just one tackle after his career game last week. He and Crosby made it known that their dynamic duo known as “Salt and Pepa” was coming for the rest of the league.
Trayvon Mullen had a great game along with the rest of the Raiders defense. The Bengals aerial game came to a standstill, especially thanks to Mullen’s interception during the final drive to seal the victory. Mullen finished the game with an impressive five solo tackles.
The Raiders’ young defense has made their share of mistakes throughout 2019. However, there is no denying that there has been visible improvement each and every game. The future should be exciting with players like Crosby, Ferrell and Mullen on board for years to come.