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Hanson gave reason for the Raiders secondary to celebrate for basically the first time all season.
CB Michael Huff — B+
Remember when your mom used to tell you that sometimes not saying anything is better than saying anything at all?
Like that old adage, cornerbacks that operate unnoticed often have better overall performances than ones that do the opposite.
Michael Huff, the Raiders No. 1 corner, did not hear his name called at all on the television broadcast until the fourth quarter. And that was only when he broke up a deep sideline pass intended for Jon Baldwin.
Huff all too often serves as the biggest liability in Oakland’s egregiously bad secondary.
His work in coverage on Sunday showed that he’s capable of helping shut down at least one opponent’s passing game.
CB Joselio Hanson — A
The Raiders’ former nickel defensive back stepped up in commendable fashion as the team’s No. 2 corner.
Joselio Hanson cut off a Quinn pass thrown deep middle to McCluster en route to his second interception of the season. The pick led directly to Janikowski’s second field goal and a 6-0 advantage for Oakland in the second quarter.
He later flexed some big-time Raiders muscle by wrapping up McCluster on 4th-and-1 for no gain. The tackle for loss quashed the Chiefs’ last-ditch efforts at a comeback.
Hanson was an exceptional force in both pass and run defense.
CB Phillip Adams — A-/INC
So, what does an “A-/INC” even mean?
Fortunately and, well, unfortunately, Phillip Adams stuffed Charles for his biggest loss of the game (negative-three yards), but knocked himself out in the process.
His day was over with an apparent head injury at just the 13-minute mark of the second quarter.
A- for effort, INC for playing in just one of four quarters—we believe that about sums up Adams’ performance on the afternoon.
CB Brandian Ross — A
Just when Raider Nation underwent a collective shudder as its team’s most promising corner left the field, Brandian Ross wasted no time in restoring peace of mind.
Ross, a first-year DB, wrapped up McCluster in the open field before the slippery wideout could break free. He made the tackle on the play immediately following Adams’ departure.
He ranked second on the team with four tackles and combined forces with Wheeler on a pass breakup in the end zone on fourth down.
CB Coye Francies — F
Francies did not register any stops. His only contribution was a 27-yard Christmas gift via a pass interference of Jamar Newsome streaking down the left sideline. He made far too much contact and did not look back for the ball.
It was a rookie-level mistake by a second year player.
SS Tyvon Branch — B-
Tyvon Branch bucked a serious trend in surrendering big plays to opposing offenses on a near weekly basis. The strong safety kept everything in front of him and ranked second on the team with four tackles.
He also was a thumper against Charles in run defense. A 3rd-and-1 stuff of the Chiefs running back showcased as much.
In a bang-bang play in the second quarter, though, Branch led with his head against tight end Tony Moeaki. The refs did not hesitate in calling a 15-yard pass interference.
Branch’s mistake facilitated the Chiefs advancing into Oakland territory. He wasn’t the Raiders most productive defensive back in coverage.
SS Mike Mitchell — B-/INC
Mitchell took a great angle and instantly dropped RB Shaun Draughn on a third-down pass play in the first. He left the game in the opening minutes of the second quarter with an injury.
FS Matt Giordano — B
The Raiders’ newfound defensive prowess was near the peak of its dominance on safety Matt Giordano’s stop of Charles in the flat. It prevented the Chiefs from scoring in the red zone on fourth down.
Like Adams and Mitchell before him, Giordano left the field before the game was over. He sustained the injury in an attempt to take down McCluster on his 31-yard catch-and-run.