Today we get to see the Houston Astros host the New York Yankees in the game one of the ALCS. Sunday we get to see Dameon Pierce and the Houston Texans travel to the strip to face the Las Vegas Raiders.
Pierce, who has catapulted himself from NFL Draft footnote to Top 10 running back, is already drawing comparisons to former Raider running back Marshawn Lynch.
While Texans quarterback Davis Mills isn’t giving opposing defenses anything to worry about, Pierce has put the league on notice.
Riding into this matchup, Pierce has carried the rock 86 times for 412 ground yards, a 4.8 yards per attempt average, three touchdowns, 13 catches for 57 yards and a 4.4 yard receiving average. He’s third highest among eligible backs in yards per carry.
Oh, and there’s this:
Dameon Pierce: 17 missed tackles forced on runs vs the Jaguars— PFF (@PFF) October 10, 2022
That’s the most PFF has EVER recorded in a single game pic.twitter.com/wXC8LZnEz8
Dameon Pierce: 33 missed tackles forced this season— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 14, 2022
Second most among all Running Backs pic.twitter.com/0kwW1oHexe
If Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton can gameplan this one right, expect Pierce to run those numbers higher once he faces the Raider defense.
Houston Texans vs the Las Vegas Raiders
Currently the Raiders hold the third spot in rushing yards surrendered with 512. They’ve averaged four yards per carry given up, allowed five rushing touchdowns and 34 rushing first downs.
Las Vegas currently has a middle of the road pass defense, coughing up 1,280 air yards so far, with 11 touchdowns against and only two interceptions.
Having faced off against the Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, it makes sense the Raiders defensive stats would tip towards the passing negatives. All five of those opponents have above average quarterbacks and more passing oriented attacks.
Derrick Henry, the best tailback they’ve faced so far, gained 85 yards and a touchdown. So far in 2022, Pierce > Henry.
The Houston Texans demand a different sort of gameplan than Vegas has employed so far this year. Instead of trying to shut down a high flying passing game (last week Patrick Mahomes threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns against the Raider D), they need to break out the strength and conditioning plan. It’s one thing to chase Travis Kielce all the field, it’s another to get run over by Dameon Pierce all day.
Will the Raiders continue to put up a statistically dominant run defense?
Or will Dameon Pierce continue to plow through opponents like a freight train?