As embattled first-year Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing put it, the receiver's all-or-nothing game sort of symbolizes Oakland's feast-or-famine offensive attack this season.
"We have flashes of really good production and executing well and then flashes or spurts where we're not exactly executing the way we want," Downing said. "Johnny's kind of a microcosm of that, and so I would say to him -- and have said to him and to the team -- the message that we preach is, let's look for consistency and let's look for doing the little things right. And then the big things happen.
"So Johnny is a hard worker and a guy that I know is excited to get back on that field Sunday and have an opportunity to make some plays for us and help us win this ballgame. We're looking forward to that."
Holton is a speedster at receiver, a deep threat who has all of nine catches for 218 yards and three touchdowns. Three of his catches have been for at least 20 yards, including TDs from 64 and 44 yards.
Holton also has fumbled twice and lost both, and Derek Carr's last-gasp deep pass to him at Kansas City last week went through his hands and into the waiting arms of Chiefs safety Steven Terrell for the game-sealing interception.
Yet beyond the Holton comparison, this much is true: The Raiders offense has regressed under Downing, going from the No. 6 total offense in the league last season to No. 19, from No. 7 in scoring to No. 21.
As such, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio wants the offense to "let it rip" Sunday (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) against the Dallas Cowboys. And Carr seems to understand.
"We're only promised three more [games], and I can assure you I'm going to go out there and let it rip, man, because that's what the head coach wants," Carr said. "That's what he's asking us to do. So I'm going to go out there and give it everything I have."
Downing, meanwhile, was asked how exactly an offense can "let it rip" while staying true to concepts and discipline.
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"I'll give you a golf analogy," Downing said.
"Sometimes that driver gets a little squirrelly on me and I'll spray one out of bounds. I think letting it rip is stepping up on that next tee box, pulling the driver back out of the bag, not choking down and hitting 3-wood but just swinging away. And the little details are setting my stance properly, having good balance, making sure I close my back wrist, things of that nature."
"I think that 'let it rip' mentality is something that's going to come easy to us, because we got a lot of fight in us and a lot of pride in us," Downing said. "So we want to do things the right way and get back on a winning track."