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The Oakland Raiders have won their first game of the 2017 season, traveling to Tennessee to take down the up and coming Titans. It was an up and down, back and forth game with lots to talk about, but above all else, there is one major reason the Raiders won this game: Marshawn Lynch.

Last season, the Raiders had a top ten run game going by the numbers, but it wasn’t elite by any means.

The run game was missing two BIG things, consistency and the ability to put a game away in the second half. Both of those problems look like they’ve been put to rest with the addition of Marshawn Lynch. He may have only gained 76 yards but he did it while not playing for the entire second quarter. And more importantly, he put up 40 of those yards in the fourth quarter.

That’s right, more than half of Lynch’s yards came in the fourth quarter when the Raiders were nursing a lead and needed him the most.

That’s something the Raiders weren’t able to get from Latavius Murray last season. Because of that, the Raiders often found themselves needing Derek Carr to fight right down to the last snap after giving up leads late in the game. This year, the Raiders have a finisher. They have a guy who can lineup with the defense KNOWING the Raiders will hand him the ball and yet still can’t stop him.

There were a lot of players who did a lot of things right for the Raiders in getting the win this week. Clearly the performance of Giorgio Tavecchio stands out, as does another great game from the team’s leader, Derek Carr. Even the defense performed much better than expected. But at the end of the day, Marshawn Lynch was as big if not a bigger factor than anyone else in the Silver and Black.

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