LONDON – Erik Harris didn't play a single defensive snap in the season opener. The Raiders free safety was buried on the depth chart, working behind Johnathan Abram and Curtis Riley.
He was thrust into a starting role on Sunday in Indianapolis, with Abram on injured reserve and Riley proving to be a liability in the back.
Harris was given the start, and played 76 of 78 Raiders defensive snaps in a 31-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts where he provided the margin for victory.
He pick sixed Jacoby Brissett late in the fourth quarter, expertly jumping a route before taking his interception 30 yards for a touchdown.
"The whole thing was pretty surreal," Harris said. "I read the quarterback's eyes and made a play on the ball. It got to the end zone and thought, ‘is this real life?'"
Yep. And it's the latest in a long line of opportunities the veteran former CFL players has maximized. He provided stability in the back pairing with Karl Joseph, something Riley couldn't offer in two previous weeks.
Riley did not play a single defensive snap against the Colts.
Harris earned another start next week against Chicago, and must continue solid play to stabilize a position that hasn't offered much thus far.
"When you get the opportunity, you have to capitalize on it," Harris said. "You stay humble and believe in the process and your faith. I knew my time would come. It's a matter of jumping on an opportunity when you get one."
The Raiders also found ways to keep slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner on the field. He played 97 percent of the defensive snaps after playing just 23 last week. The Raiders spent most of their day in a nickel package, which is clear from increase work for situation pass rushers.
Harris and Joyner were integral to the Raiders victory, as were several others in this all-around team win. Let's take a look at the Raiders snap count from Sunday's win.
Total offensive snaps: 67
Quarterback – Derek Carr 67
Running back – Josh Jacobs 36, Alec Ingold 25, Jalen Richard 19, DeAndre Washington 13
Wide receiver – Tyrell Williams 62, Trevor Davis 37, Hunter Renfrow 28, Keelan Doss 15
Tight end – Darren Waller 61, Foster Moreau 31, Derek Carrier 7
Offensive line – Richie Incognito 67, Kolton Miller 67, Rodney Hudson 67, Trent Brown 55, Jordan Devey 52, Trent Brown 50, David Sharpe 13
Total defensive snaps: 78
Defensive line – Clelin Ferrell 66, Maxx Crosby 45, Arden Key 42, Johnathan Hankins 40, P.J. Hall 37, Maurice Hurst 37, Josh Mauro 24, Corey Liuget 21
Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead 71, Nicholas Morrow 62, Vontaze Burfict 17, Kyle Wilber 2
Defensive back – Erik Harris 78, Karl Joseph 78, Daryl Worley 78, Gareon Conley 78, Lamarcus Joyner 76, Trayvon Mullen 6
Carrier 25, Wilber 23, Keisean Nixon 23, Curtis Riley 20, Harris 19, Moreau 19, Morrow 17, Dallin Leavitt 15, Ingold 15, Crosby 14, Joseph 11, Daniel Carlson 11, Trent Sieg 10, A.J. Cole 10, Justin Phillips 9, Davis 9, Conley 8, Worley 8, Washington 8, Mullen 7, Hurst 5, Hankins 5, Ferrell 5, Whitehead 5, Sharpe 5, Good 5, Incognito 5, Miller 5, Brown 4, Devey 4, Waller 2, Andre James 2, Renfrow 2, Burfict 1, Doss 1, Williams 1