ALAMEDA – Raiders left tackle Donald Penn allowed just one quarterback pressure during Sunday’s 37-33 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, and he was upset about it.
His defender got enough depth to hit quarterback Derek Carr’s arm following through on a pass that was intercepted by Will Hill in the fourth quarter. It didn’t matter than the Raiders came back and won the game with a two-minute drive where Carr had all day to throw.
“I’m glad he came back and saved me,” Penn said. “It was the only time all day I allowed a little pressure. I was glad we were able to come back and win the way we did. That makes everything sweeter.”
Penn and the Raiders’ front five should’ve had fun watching the game tape. The offensive line was near perfect against the Ravens. It allowed four quarterback pressures. The one sack was Derek Carr running out of bounds just before the line of scrimmage, not a crushing hit in the pocket. The Raiders ran 19 times, all but one went for positive yardage.
Not a bad day at the office for the big fellas.
“They’re doing a great job communicating, identifying, getting the point right and executing together,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “It gives us a chance. There are still some things we know we need to clean up, and we will. But it was a good second week. You saw a marked improvement Week 1 to Week 2.”
Penn was solid on the left flank. Center Rodney Hudson performed to his par after a rough start to his Raiders tenure. J’Marcus Webb showed some improvement at right guard. Left guard Gabe Jackson was a road grader as usual – did anyone see him blow linemen off the ball and clear a path for Latavius Murray’s touchdown? – in a dominate performance.
Right tackle Austin Howard also had a solid game and did not allow a pressure from the right tackle spot.
“We did a good job preparing for that test, and I thought we executed well as a front,” Howard said. “You have to build on what you’ve done and continue to get better. Things went well for us, but it was far from a perfect game. There’s plenty of work left to do, but I think we’re going to get better and better every week.”
The line got better from one game to the next, and will try to take another step on the road against the Cleveland Browns. The Raiders rank No. 7 among pass-blocking offensive lines, according to Pro Football Focus, which should help quarterback Derek Carr progress in comfort this season. Assuming, of course, the Raiders can keep up solid line play.
“We know what we can do, and what we need to stay away from doing,” Howard said. “The progress must keep coming, and it should because the work won’t stop. We’re never going to have a perfect game, but we’re going to strive for it.”