Oakland Raiders Week 17 Stock Report
The Oakland Raiders’ final stock report recognizes some unsung heroes who made safety Charles Woodson’s farewell a victorious drop-the-mic moment.
Two players who didn’t perform particularly well throughout the game but made critical plays deserve honorable mentions.
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers targeted linebacker Malcolm Smith in pass coverage with success. However, Smith forced a fumble on Chargers tight end David Johnson, which led to defensive lineman Benson Mayowa’s 40-yard fumble return to San Diego’s 3-yard line.
Smith and Mayowa put the Raiders in position to earn a victory, but which players excelled throughout the entire contest in solid performances from start to finish?
Who deserves credit as unheralded top performers in Week 16? Which player failed to solidify his case for a contract extension? We’ll discuss a milestone and a few solid contributors flying under the radar.
Stock Up: Latavius Murray
There’s debate over running back Latavius Murray’s importance to the offense. However, no one can dispute his production. He eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards Thursday night in a solid performance, averaging 4.1 yards per carry on 19 carries for 79 yards.
Murray reached a milestone last accomplished by running back Darren McFadden in 2010 (1,157 rushing yards). The third-year running back also ranks as the league’s fourth-leading ball-carrier and the AFC’s top rusher (1,035 rushing yards).
The Raiders don’t have a solid No. 2 running back, which hurts the team’s total rushing offense, ranking No. 25 in the league. Nonetheless, Murray has pulled his weight as the featured tailback.
On Sunday, he accumulated 117 total yards from scrimmage as the team’s most productive offensive skill player.
Stock Up: Taylor Mays
Safety Taylor Mays didn’t make any eye-popping plays and dropped an interception that could’ve sealed a victory in the fourth quarter.
However, he played 52 snaps and put the clamps on the Chargers tight ends throughout the game. Rivers targeted Mays four times; he surrendered one catch for three yards, per Pro Football Focus.
The Chargers’ four tight ends logged six catches for 51 yards. Antonio Gates left the field quietly with only two catches for 11 yards.
Mays has found a niche within the Raiders defense. He's defended tight ends and the slot on occasion with success.
As Woodson eyes retirement, Mays could provide solid depth behind a starter in nickel or dime packages as an extra defensive back or undersized linebacker.
Stock Down: Donald Penn
The Chargers linebackers overpowered and outmaneuvered Donald Penn on a handful of snaps.
The Chargers shot through gaps on quarterback Derek Carr's blind side with ferocity, and the veteran tackle couldn't handle aggressive pressure. Penn surrendered a sack and blatantly held a defender to avoid giving up another sack in overtime.
Penn hopes to re-sign with the team in the offseason. He started the season as a solid component to a stout offensive line but hasn't generated fond memories on film down the stretch.
In Week 17, Penn will have another opportunity to impress his bosses and sway general manager Reggie McKenzie toward extending his contract.
Stock Up: Denico Autry
Defensive lineman Denico Autry strip-sacked Rivers in the end zone for a safety, which resembled Khalil Mack's strip-sack on Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler in Week 14. Mayowa recovered the football in the end zone, which also resulted in a safety.
In both instances, the Raiders offense failed to perform on a high level and needed a boost from the defense.
On Thursday, Autry's safety helped the Raiders slowly crawl out of a small deficit in the second half. After the score on defense, Oakland's final touchdown in regulation provided a slight lead—though short-lived.
Autry has filled in admirably to compensate for injuries on the defensive line. His game-changing safety puts an exclamation point on a solid season as a part-time starter.
Stock Up: Sebastian Janikowski
After some intermittent struggles through the season, kicker Sebastian Janikowski ends on a high note. He put his iron leg on display once again for the Raiders fans in attendance.
According to Associated Press writer Josh Dubow, Janikowski tied Jason Hanson for the most successful field-goal attempts (52) from 50-plus yards. He also drilled the game-winning field goal in overtime to seal a 23-20 victory.
The sixteen-year kicker still has power in his leg and maintained an 80 percent field-goal percentage through 15 games. No, he’s not washed up just yet. Expect Janikowski to kick for the Silver and Black in 2016.
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Raiders' Week 16 play-by-play provided by NFL.com.