Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Bartell's feeble attempt at stopping Gordon on his TD carch.
CB Michael Huff — B+
The No. 1 corner for the Silver and Black actually played up to that standard.
Huff had four tackles (three solo) and made multiple stops on first-down passing attempts. Josh Gordon’s 22-yard catch was the only instance where a Browns receiver beat him for a significant gain.
He represented a source of reliable play that has proved nonexistent in the Raiders secondary.
CB Ron Bartell — F
Enter Ron Bartell for the complete other side of the spectrum.
Bartell surrendered three double-digit completions, including the ultimate back-breaker in the form of Gordon’s 44-yard touchdown catch. The rookie receiver absolutely burned the eight-year veteran. It was a play that exemplified Oakland’s shortcomings in the secondary.
Bartell appeared more like an emergency practice-squad player rather than a franchise’s No. 2 corner.
CB Phillip Adams — A-
The Raiders nickel cornerback made an incredible play on a pass intended for Gordon at the 8-yard line. His interception stopped what would have otherwise been a Browns scoring drive. The deficit remained at one score.
Unfortunately, Adams sustained a concussion when he landed on the sideline with the ball. It was one of many strange and devastating injuries to Oakland defensive backs.
Concussion or not—there was no way we could give this poor guy anything less than an “A-.” Definitely a solution-oriented player in our books.
CB Joselio Hanson — D
Hanson played in a hit-or-miss-like fashion in Week 13.
On the one hand, he ranked second among Raiders defensive backs with five tackles and generally kept Browns receivers in front of him.
On the other hand, Greg Little took him for 13 yards, while Mohamed Massaquoi torched him for 54.
So, on second thought, it was more hit than miss with Hanson. He formed part of the problem—and not solution—with his performance in coverage.
SS Tyvon Branch — D+
Oakland’s strong safety led the team in tackles with 12 (eight solo).
He wasn’t directly involved with any big play in the Browns’ passing game, but really failed at providing coverage over top. A safety generally isn’t doing his job any time an opponent’s tight end racks up nearly 100 yards and when five plays go for 20-plus through the air.
Branch’s performance wasn’t Bartell-bad—he defended the run quite well—but it certainly deserves something less than a passing grade.
FS Matt Giordano — A-
Even though Giordano played just one of four quarters, it was a damn good frame at that.
The free safety tracked down a ball intended for Watson at the 3-yard line. His interception—like Adams’—prevented Cleveland from putting up points on the scoreboard.
And again like Adams, Giordano suffered a concussion that knocked him out of the game.
At least he made a clutch tackle on Watson in the process.
S Mike Mitchell — D-
Mitchell’s five tackles (three solo) definitely went for naught.
The fiery safety perhaps played a bit too aggressively against Cleveland’s weapons in the passing game. Mitchell found himself on the wrong end in coverage of three 20-plus-yard completions.
He facilitated plays of 20 and 22 yards to Gordon, only to later take a blow to the helmet while tackling Richardson on a 21-yard gain in the third quarter.
Merely another source of problems in a thoroughly problematic Oakland Raiders secondary.
Concussions 3, Raiders 0
DB Brandian Ross — D+
Ross being extensively used revealed just how devastated the Raiders’ corps of defensive backs was due to injury.
The man officially listed as a cornerback replaced the injured safety Mitchell who had already replaced the injured Giordano. This crazy scenario began with Huff (also a safety) moving to corner when Shawntae Spencer went down with an injury of his own.
CSN Bay Area’s Paul Gutierrez really puts it all in perspective—complete with a comedic tone that does justice to the zany situation.
On Sunday, however, Ross recorded three tackles and a QB hit, but also helped surrender an 11-yard first down to Gordon and 23-yarder to Cameron. He wasn’t much help to the Raiders’ depleted unit.
Well, guess he deserves some credit by serving as yet another placeholder…