Oakland Raiders Week 3 Stars: Dennis Allen and Phillip Wheeler

For the first time this season, the Raiders won. Not coincidentally, it’s also the first time the Raiders have two stars of the week. (Click here for Week 1 and Week 2 stars).

For starters, new head coach Dennis Allen deserves a whole lot more credit than he has gotten this week for a number of reasons. Through a barrage of criticism following the Week 2 blowout, Allen reinforced the troops and got himself his first career win.

As I’ve already noted in another piece, a big part of the Oakland win was their ability to limit penalties (they currently sit at third in the league in penalty yards pregame). In Week 3, Oakland committed just three penalties for 25 yards, and none of them ended up being too costly.

The second reason for praising Allen is his incredible game management abilities this week. There’s nothing worse as a fan than watching your team come down the stretch in a close game and realizing that your coach has stupidly burned a timeout or two, leaving the team out to dry in the waning moments.

In this weekend’s game, however, Allen held on to all three timeouts throughout the second half, and while it didn’t end up mattering a whole lot, he deserves credit for doing so.

In another first for Allen, he was also successful on his first career challenge in the first half of Sunday’s win—and it came at a huge point in the game. Facing a 3rd and 9 in their own territory, Pittsburgh appeared to complete a 22-yard pass to Heath Miller downfield for a first down.

Upon further review, however, it was determined that the ball hit the ground and the Steelers were forced to punt.

The final feather in Allen’s cap this Sunday was a pair of brilliant play calls that worked in varying degrees.

The first took place with just over four minutes remaining in the first half and Oakland trailing 14-7. Facing a fourth and two from the s...

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