The Oakland Raiders headed east to Detroit to take on the Lions.¬† They were coming off a 30-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and the Lions were coming off a big 18-16 win over the Green Bay Packers.¬† Kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent the opening kickoff deep and rookie return man Ameer Abdullah returned it to the 22-yard line.¬† Quarterback Matt Stafford got things off to a good start with a pass to wide receiver Golden Tate.¬† Like usual, cornerback DJ Hayden was several steps behind and finally dragged him down after a 19-yard gain.¬† That was followed by a pass to running back Theo Riddick that moved the Lions into Oakland territory.¬† Completions to Abdullah, Tate and a run by running back Joique Bell put the ball at the two-yard line.¬† Bell was stuffed on first down and a holding penalty moved them back ten yards.¬† Two shots at the end zone ended up incomplete and the Lions would have to settle for a field goal attempt from kicker Matt Prater.¬† His 29-yard attempt was good and the Lions led 3-0 with 7:54 to go in the first quarter.
The Raiders looked like they did in the second half against the Vikings.¬† They went nowhere on their first possession and Marquette King punted the ball away.¬† The Lions took over at their 25 and Stafford completed a nine-yard pass to wide receiver Calvin Johnson on first down.¬† On third and one, Stafford tossed a short pass to Bell and he took it 18 yards to the Oakland 48-yard line.¬† Another pass to Johnson and some runs by Abdullah moved the ball to the 19.¬† But they would go no further as Stafford was sacked for a loss of three yards by defensive end Benson Mayowa.¬† That meant it was time for another field goal attempt.¬† Prater had no problem with his 41-yard attempt and the Lions led 6-0 with 31 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The Raiders managed to get a couple of first downs on their next possession and punted again.¬† Then the Lions punted it right back to the Raiders.¬† The punting went on for quite a while with neither offense doing anything worth writing about.¬† With 2:40 to go in the half, the Lions got the ball back at their 10-yard line.¬† Passes to Tate and Johnson moved them to the 44.¬† On third and 15 from the 39, Stafford went deep for Johnson and it was good for a gain of 36 yards and a first down at the Oakland 25-yard line.¬† An intentional grounding penalty moved them back ten yards and the drive stalled at the 33.¬† With seven seconds on the clock, Prater came on again and nailed a 51-yard field goal.¬† At the end of the first half, the Lions led the Raiders 9-0.¬† I was very unhappy with the offense.¬† But that’s nothing new.¬† The words “Raiders” and “happy” are rarely used in the same sentence.
Things got off to a good start for the Raiders in the second half.¬† Quarterback Derek Carr hooked up with wide receiver Seth Roberts for a gain of 43 yards and a first down at the Detroit 37-yard line.¬† Two carries by running back Latavius Murray and a defensive holding call on the Lions gave them another first down at the 30.¬† A 15-yard catch by wide receiver Michael Crabtree and a scramble by Carr moved the Raiders to the three-yard line.¬† Fullback Marcel Reece was stopped on first down and got the call again on second down.¬† Once again he was stopped short of the end zone.¬† Center Rodney Hudson was injured on this play and he did not return.¬†¬† On third down, Murray took it in from one yard out.¬† Janikowksi made the point after and the Lions led 9-7 with 10:24 to go in the third quarter.
The Raider defense started to play better and on third down from the 35, Stafford was sacked again for a loss of eight by defensive end Denico Autry.¬† The Lions punted and the Raiders took over at their 48-yard-line.¬† It looked like Crabtree was the only receiver who knew what he was doing in this game.¬† He caught two more passes on this drive and the Raiders moved down to the Detroit 30-yard line.¬† The drive would come to an end there and Janikowksi came on for a 48-yard attempt.¬† He nailed it and the Raiders led 10-9 with four minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Lions went three and out and the Raiders started their next drive from their 27-yard line.¬† A 15-yard pass interference penalty on the Lions and a 21-yard pass to tight end Mychal Rivera quickly moved the Raiders into Detroit territory.¬† But they wouldn’t get much further.¬† The drive stalled at the 38 and they brought the Polish Cannon in again.¬† This time it was a 56-yard attempt.¬† He blasted it through the uprights and the Raiders led 13-9 with 15 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Stafford went to the no huddle and the Raiders simply couldn’t stop him.¬† Completions to Riddick, Tate and Johnson moved them to the Oakland 23.¬† From the 23, Stafford couldn’t find an open receiver.¬† But he found the entire right side of the field was wide open and he took off for an 18-yard gain.¬† He enjoyed running the ball so much that he did it again on the next play for a five-yard touchdown.¬† Prater made the point after and the Lions led 16-13 with 11 minutes to go in the game.
The Raiders started their next “drive” from the 21-yard line.¬† On first down, Carr was sacked by defensive end Ziggy Ansah.¬† On second down, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave called for a run up the middle.¬† Even though your backup center is in the game and it’s second and 15, you call a run up the middle?¬† Wow!¬† That was brilliant!¬† Murray was stuffed for a loss of five yards.¬† They ended up punting again and King got off a nice 66-yard punt that was fielded by Tate at the Detroit 12 and returned to the 26-yard line.¬† They went three and out and pinned the Raiders at their eight-yard line.
That high-flying offense that we saw earlier in the year was a distant memory and it only got worse.¬† The Raiders were flagged for holding on first down and that moved them back to the four.¬† That was followed by another drop by wide receiver Amari Cooper.¬† If he had caught that pass it may have gone for a long gain.¬† In order to gain lots of yards, you have to catch the ball first.¬† Lord, just shoot me now!¬† Things got a lot worse from there.¬† Left tackle Donald Penn was flagged for holding in the end zone and that gave the Lions a safety and an insurmountable 18-13 lead with 7:22 to go in the game.
The Lions took over at their 30 and proceeded to hold on to the ball for the remainder of the game.¬† Riddick, Bell and Abdullah all contributed and they moved the ball to the Oakland three-yard line.¬† Stafford took a knee and the Lions came away with a 18-13 win.¬† The loss dropped to the Raiders to 4-6 and the Lions improved to 3-7.
For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 13 of 25 for 169 yards.¬† Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with six and Seth Roberts had the most receiving yards with 54.¬† As for the ground game?¬† There’s not much to speak about.¬† As a team, they rushed for 50 yards on 21 carries.¬† 16 of those yards came on one play.¬† Wow!¬† Talk about a garbage running game!¬† Defensively, Khalil Mack had himself a solid day with eight solo tackles and two tackles for a loss.¬† He was all over the place and put lots of pressure on Stafford.
For the Lions, Matt Stafford completed 22 of 35 for 282 yards.¬† He also rushed for 31 yards and scored the only touchdown.¬† Golden Tate led the team in receptions with eight and Calvin Johnson led the team in receiving yards with 88.¬† On the ground, the leading rusher was Ameer Abdullah with 44 yards on 12 carries.¬† As a team, the Lions rushed for 109 yards on 31 carries.¬† Defensively, cornerback Quandre Diggs led the team in solo tackles with six.
Something stinks in Oakland and it’s mostly on the offense.¬† Is it the horrible play calling?¬† Is it Carr throwing passes off his back foot?¬† Is it the dropped passes?¬† It doesn’t matter if it’s at home or on the road and it’s a combination of everything.¬† It needs to be corrected quickly!¬† On defense, things weren’t as bad as they have been.¬† They sacked Stafford four times and forced the Lions to punt five times.¬† Still, they couldn’t come up with a stop when they needed one in the fourth quarter.
Things also got much better when middle linebacker Curtis Lofton wasn’t on the field.¬† He looks totally lost out there and rookie linebacker Ben Heeney had a good day.¬† Neiron Ball should be coming back next week and that might keep Lofton off the field permanently.¬† Up next is a trip to Nashville for a game against the Tennessee Titans.¬† They lost last Thursday night to the Jaguars and are having a rough time.¬† One thing I noticed is they are able to get to the quarterback.¬† Carr better pray that Hudson and Lee Smith are back to protect him.¬† Until then take it easy.
Happy Thanksgiving from The Raider Guy!