December 7, 2016

29 Unanswered Points

Up next on the schedule for the Oakland Raiders was a visit from the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills were coming off a 28-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Raiders were coming off a 35-32 win over the Carolina Panthers.  I had some concerns about this game.  The Bills had a great running game and their 10th ranked defense really knew how to get to the quarterback.  Buffalo kicker Dan Carpenter sent the opening kickoff through the end zone and the Raiders started at their 25-yard line.  A five-yard run by running back Latavius Murray and a neutral zone infraction on the Bills gave the Raiders a first down at the 35.  Three plays later, quarterback Derek Carr connected with wide receiver Amari Cooper across the middle.  Cooper turned on the speed and was pushed out of bounds at the Buffalo 14-yard line.  But that play would be brought back by an illegal formation penalty on right tackled Austin Howard.  Austin, how many freaking times have you lined up at your position?  50,000?  Maybe more than that.  There’s no excuse for a penalty like that.  That was a killer for the Raiders and Marquette King punted the ball away.

The Bills took over at their 16 and quarterback Tyrod Taylor took to the air on first down.  He found wide receiver Sammie Watkins standing all by himself and that play went for 16 yards.  Two passes to running back LeSean McCoy and another one to Watkins gave the Bills a first down at the Oakland 31-yard line.  From the 31, Taylor completed a pass to wide receiver Justin Hunter and the Bills were knocking on the door as the lethargic Raider defense didn’t know what was going on.  But on third and goal from three, linebacker Bruce Irvin finally woke up and sacked Taylor for a loss of six yards.  Carpenter came into the game and his 27-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 8:02 to go in the first quarter, the Bills led 3-0.

From the 25, Latavius Murray got things off to a good start with a 22-yard run.  That was followed by a 22-yard pass to tight end Mychal Rivera.  At least the offense looked like they knew what they were doing.  At least they did for those two plays.  But a holding penalty and a dropped pass by Cooper stalled the drive at the Buffalo 29.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski blasted the ball through the uprights and the score was tied 3-3 with 6:07 to go in the first quarter.

Return man Brandon Tate fielded the kickoff at the two and he was brought down hard at the 20 by wide receiver Andre Holmes.  The Bills picked up right where they left off and Taylor had all day to find a receiver.  Completions to tight end Gerald Christian and Tate easily moved the Bills to midfield.  Then the running game started to work for the Bills.  McCoy ran off right tackle for a gain of eight yards.  Then Michael Gillislee got in on the act and he got loose for a gain of 29 yards.  Two more runs by Gillislee and McCoy put the ball at the one-yard line.  Two plays later, Gillislee walked into the end zone for a touchdown.  Carpenter made the point after and the Bills led 10-3 with 13:23 to go in the second quarter.

The Raiders punted on their next possession and then a shocking thing happened.  The Raiders actually forced the Bills to punt.  With 7:08 remaining, the Raiders took over at their 39.  An 11-yard run by Murray netted a first down at the 50.  On third and four from the Buffalo 46, Carr went deep for Cooper.  He couldn’t make the catch.  That’s because cornerback Stephon Gilmore was all over him.  Gilmore was flagged for pass interference and that gave the Raiders a first down at the 21.  That’s when two more drops happened.  First, Carr found wide receiver Seth Roberts across the middle.  He got his hands around the ball, but couldn’t hold on.  Then, Carr fired a perfect strike to Michael Crabtree in the end zone.   The ball hit him right in the chest and he dropped it.  As he was walking back to the huddle, he looked like he wanted to kill someone.  On third and seven from the eight, Carr threw for Crabtree in the end zone again.  It was incomplete and Crabtree started jawing back and forth with some of the Bills.  That got him a 15-yard penalty and moved the ball back to the 23.  But that was no problem for Janikowski as his 41-yard attempt was good.  With 2:50 to go in the second quarter, the Bills led 10-6.

The Bills ended up punting on their next possession and the Raiders found themselves at their 15 with 30 seconds to go.  Passes to Cooper, Crabtree and Murray got the Raiders into field goal range with five seconds left.  Janikowski trotted onto the field and his 47-yard field attempt was good.  At halftime, the Bills led 10-9.

I was really hoping the Raiders would make some adjustments at halftime.  Taylor had all day to find his receivers and McCoy and Gillislee had gaping holes to run though.  The Bills started the second half at their 34 and on first down, McCoy ran through another gaping hole for 54 yards.  On the next play, Taylor ran untouched up the right side for a touchdown.  Wow!  That was quite a “drive!” Two plays, 66 yards and one touchdown.  Carpenter made the point after and the Bills led 17-9 with 14:03 to go in the third quarter.

The Raiders ran three plays on their next possession.  Unlike the Bills, they didn’t gain 66 yards.  They gained one yard and punted again.  King shanked the punt and it only went 28 yards.  The Bills set up shop at their 46 and a defensive holding penalty on cornerback David Amerson got them a free trip into Raider territory.  An 11-yard pass to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and some more good running by McCoy had the Bills at the 24-yard line.  An eight-yard run by McCoy and passes to Watkins and Goodwin moved them to the two-yard line.  From the two, Gillislee took it the rest of the way for a touchdown.  Carpenter made the point after and the Bills had what I thought was a commanding 24-9 lead.

I was extremely unhappy with the way the Raider defense was playing.  They looked horrible and I didn’t see much hope for a win.  I wondered about switching channels and watching some of the other games that were going on.  But something told me to stick with the Raider game.  From the 25, Carr and the offense went to work.  Passes to tight end Clive Walford and Roberts got the ball rolling into Buffalo territory.  Another pass to Roberts, a 14-yard run by Murray and a pass to Crabtree gave the Raiders a first down at the five-yard line.  On third and goal from the three, Carr looked for Crabtree in the end zone.  This time, he caught the pass for a touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Bills led 24-16 with 5:17 to go in the third quarter.

I was happy that the offense had finally found the end zone.  But my concern was the defense.  Could they stop the Bills?  To my amazement, they did.  The Bills gained just six yards and punted.  To add insult to injury, the punt was a line drive and it was fielded by return man Jalen Richard at the Oakland 45.  He returned it to the Buffalo 38 and the Raiders had good field position for their next drive.  A short pass to Crabtree and a 21-yard run by Richard put the Raiders at the 13-yard line.  Richard ran up the right side for a gain of three yards.  That was followed by a pass to Rivera and he was dragged down at the one.  Murray capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.  Janikowski made the point after and the Bills led 24-23 with 57 seconds to go in the third quarter.

Surely the Bills could get something going on this drive, right?  Wrong.  Three plays gained minus five yards and they punted again.  The Raiders took over at their 41 and looked to take the lead.  On third and ten, Carr went deep for Rivera and he hauled it in for a gain of 22 yards.  On second and ten from the Buffalo 37, Carr hooked up with Cooper for another touchdown.  Cooper made a great move to get open, caught the ball and dove into the end zone to give the Raiders the lead.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 30-24 with 14:08 to go in the game.

Once again, the Bills failed to get a first down on their next possession and punted.  Richard had a really nice return, but what usually happens on long punt returns?  That’s right.  A flag was thrown for an illegal block in the back.  Instead of starting their drive at the 50, the Raiders were pushed back to their 15.  They managed to get a few first downs, but ended up punting.  The punt was a good one and running back Taiwan Jones got to it before it reached the end zone.  He knocked it back and the ball was downed at the four-yard line by Holmes.  On first down, the Bills looked to pass.  Standing in the end zone, Taylor looked for Goodwin.  The problem was that defensive end Khalil Mack got a piece of the ball while Taylor was throwing it.  The ball floated into the waiting hands of safety Nate Allen at the 16-yard line.  If the Raiders could find the end zone again, they’d have a great chance to put this game away.

Richard ran up the middle for a gain of eight yards.  That was followed by a five-yard run by Murray and the Raiders had a first down at the three.  Murray got the call again and he cruised into the end zone.  Head coach Jack Del Rio decided to go for two to get up by 14 points.  Carr tossed a short pass to Roberts and he ran untouched into the end zone for a successful two-point conversion.  That put the Raiders up 38-24 with 8:34 to go in the game.  After trailing 24-9, the Raiders scored 29 unanswered points.  Earlier in the game, Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan and his brother Rob Ryan were laughing it up pretty good.  After the Raiders went up by 14 points, those smiles were gone.

The Bills were now in desperation mode and took over at their 25.  An offside penalty on the Raiders and passes to McCoy and Goodwin moved them to the 48.  A 12-yard pass to Goodwin and a scramble by Taylor netted a first down at the Oakland 40-yard line.  Another scramble by Taylor and a three-yard run by the overrated Reggie Bush moved them to the 28.  On third and 15 from the 33, Taylor tossed a short pass to McCoy and he took it up the left side for a gain of 16 and a first down at the 17-yard line.  Then, Mr. Mack made another appearance.  He sacked Taylor for a loss of five yards.  The ball came loose and Mack recovered it at the 23.

With three minutes to go, all the Raiders had to do was get a first down and the game would be over.  They came up one yard short and King punted.  But the Bills were flagged for roughing the punter and that gave the Raiders a first down.  But there was another penalty on the play.  King was flagged for picking up the flag and dancing with it.  That drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  I have been watching football since 1971 and I don’t think I have ever seen a player pick up a flag and dance with it.  Whatever.  King is a very unusual person.  All that mattered was the Raiders had won another game.  With that 38-24 win, they improved their record to 10-2.  The loss dropped the Bills to 6-6.

For the Bills, Tyrod Taylor completed 18 of 35 for 191 yards and one interception.  He also rushed for 30 yards on three carries and one touchdown.  LeSean McCoy led the team in receptions with seven and receiving yards with 61.  The ground game was running on all cylinders and the Bills racked up 212 yards on 30 carries.  McCoy led the way with 130 yards on 17 carries.  Defensively, defensive tackle Kyle Williams led the team in solo tackles with seven.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 19 of 35 for 260 yards and two touchdowns.  Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with seven and receiving yards with 74 and a touchdown.  Unlike the previous two weeks, the Raiders actually had some good gains on the ground.  They finished the game with 139 yards on 32 carries.  Latavius Murray was the leading rusher with 82 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.  Props to the offensive line too.  They did a great job of protecting Carr and they didn’t allow a sack.  Defensively, linebacker Perry Riley led the team in solo tackles with eight.  Khalil Mack also made his presence felt again with four solo tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.  He also deflected a pass that resulted in an interception.

Well, that was a hard fought win and I for one was completely shocked at how the defense turned things around in the second half.  I just wish they could play a complete game instead of falling behind early.  But, the bottom line is they won the game.  The road to the playoffs doesn’t get any easier.  Up next is a Thursday night game at Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Chiefs handed the Raiders their worst loss of the year in week six.  If the Raiders hope to remain in first place, they’ll have to get a win in front of the rowdy Arrowhead crowd.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

 

 

 

Raiders Defeat Panthers, 35-32

Up next for the Oakland Raiders was a home game against the Carolina Panthers.  The Panthers were coming off a 23-20 win over the New Orleans Saints and the Raiders were coming off a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.  The Raiders won the coin flip and deferred to the second half.  There wasn’t a lot to talk about early in this game as both defenses were playing well.  But at the 7:11 mark of the first quarter, the Raiders got the ball back at their 38-yard line.  Quarterback Derek Carr got the drive off to a nice start with a pass to running back Latavius Murray that was good for 42 yards and a first down at the Carolina 30-yard line.  That was followed by a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts.  Three plays later, Carr lobbed a pass into the end zone where it was caught for a touchdown by Roberts.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-0 with 4:48 to go in the first quarter.

The Panthers started their next drive at their 25-yard line and immediately received a break as defensive tackle Stacy McGee was flagged for roughing the passer.  After that, running back Jonathan Stewart got loose for a gain of 47 yards and a first down at the Oakland 13-yard line.  On second and nine from the 12, quarterback Cam Newton looked for tight end Greg Olsen across the middle. The pass was incomplete, but rookie safety Karl Joseph was flagged for pass interference.  That gave the Panthers a first down at the three.  From there, Newton finished the drive with a three-yard run up the left side.  Kicker Graham Gano made the point after and the score was tied 7-7 with 5:22 to go in the first quarter.

Return man Jalen Richard returned the kickoff to the 29 and Carr and his offense went to work.  A few carries by Murray and completions to tight end Mychal Rivera and running back Taiwan Jones moved the Raiders to the Carolina 44-yard line.  A seven-yard pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper and a six-yard run by Murray netted another first down at the 31.  On second and 13 from the 34, Carr went deep for speedy rookie receiver Johnny Holton.  He hauled it in for a gain of 30 yards and a first down at the four-yard line.  Murray finished the drive on the next play with a four-yard touchdown run.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 14-7 with 12:42 to go in the second quarter.

The Panthers punted on their next possession and the Raiders had good field position at the Carolina 46-yard line.  Carr looked for Roberts on first down.  The pass fell incomplete, but a flag was thrown and the Panthers were penalized for pass interference.  That gave the Raiders a first down at the 35.  That was followed by an eight-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree and an eight-yard run by Richard.  A short pass to Cooper and another one to Crabtree had the Raiders knocking at the door.  But they couldn’t get in the end zone as the drive stalled on the five.  Janikowski came on and his 23-yard field goal was good.  With 6:49 to go, the Raiders led 17-7.

On their next two possessions, the Panthers gained a total of -15 yards.  The Raiders didn’t fare much better as they gained only six yards.  With 1:39 remaining, the Panthers tried to get something going before halftime.  From their nine-yard line, running back Fozzy Whittaker ran up the middle for a gain of four yards.  On the next play, Newton tried to throw a screen pass to Whittaker and defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack picked off the pass and ran it into the end zone for an easy Raider touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 24-7 at halftime.  As the teams left the field, the Raiders had a lot of bounce in their step and the Panthers looked demoralized.  It was if they had been run over by a truck.  I’m pretty sure it was a Mack truck.

But there are two halves to a football game and things have been known to change as the game progresses.  That certainly was the case in this game.  The Raiders started their next drive at their 22-yard line.  Things got off to a good start with a nine-yard pass to Crabtree.  Then there was disaster in Raiderland.  As Carr took the snap for the next play he fumbled the ball and it was recovered by linebacker Thomas Davis.  But it was worse than just a fumble.  Carr jammed the pinky finger on his throwing hand and left the field in considerable pain.  As a matter of fact, the sideline reporter said he was screaming in pain.  The entire stadium got quiet and the Raiders were the ones who looked demoralized now.

The next four drives looked like this for the Panthers:

Stewart 1-yard touchdown run (Extra point blocked)

Ginn 88-yard touchdown pass from Newton (Two-point conversion failed)

Stewart 3-yard touchdown run (Two-point conversion failed)

Kelvin Benjamin 44-yard touchdown pass from Newton (Gano Extra point is good)

That was one of the worst quarters I have ever seen the Raiders play.  On those four possessions, the Panthers out-gained the Raiders 226-36.  Carr got hurt and I can understand the fact that the offense wouldn’t perform as well with Matt McGloin at quarterback.  But Carr doesn’t play defense.  What the hell happened to them?  All of a sudden Newton had all day to throw and the receivers were wide open.  I will say that on the long pass to Ginn, linebacker Bruce Irvin was being held very badly.  It looked like he and the left tackle were dancing.  Yet, head zebra Jerome “Booger” Boger and the rest of the zebras didn’t throw a flag.  Carr was able to come back but was picked off by Davis.  That helped set up the drive where Stewart scored from three yards out.

With the Panthers leading 32-24, Carr knew he had to get his act together.  He was wearing a black glove to protect his pinky and he and the offense went to work from their 25-yard line.  The drive started out nicely with a nine-yard pass to Crabtree and a three-yard run by Murray that netted a first down at the 37.  Richard ran up the right side for a gain of nine and a facemask penalty on the Panthers gave the Raiders 15 more yards and a first down at the Carolina 39-yard line.  Two runs by Murray and a seven-yard pass to Crabtree moved the ball to the 25.  On third and 11 from the 26, Carr connected with tight end Clive Walford for a gain of 14 yards and a first down at the 12.  From the 12, Carr looked for Walford again and found him in the end zone for a touchdown.  That pass was a dart.  I think that was proof that Carr was feeling better.  Up next was a two-point conversion attempt.  Carr rolled to the right and found Roberts in the end zone.  That tied the score at 32-32 with 8:31 to go in the game.

The Panthers had plenty of time to drive down the field and take the lead again.  From the 25, Newton found Ginn for a gain of 11 yards.  Stewart ran up the middle for three yards on first down and Olsen caught a pass for eight more yards.  But that play was brought back because of a holding penalty.  On third and ten from the 31, Newton looked for Benjamin on the right side of the field.  He caught the pass, but was pushed out of bounds a yard short of the first down marker.  On fourth and one from the 40, the Panthers decided to punt.

Punter Michael Palardy got off a nice punt and the Raiders set up shop at their 13-yard line.  On first down, Carr was pushed out of bounds for a loss of four yards.  Roberts caught a short pass on the next play and that set up a third and nine situation from the 14.  Carr went deep down the middle for Crabtree and he made the catch for a gain of 49 yards and a first down at the Carolina 37-yard line.  That was one hell of a catch and Crabtree lost his helmet as he came down with the ball.  A five-yard run by Murray and another pass to Crabtree netted another first down at the 17.  Three more runs by Murray moved the ball to the six-yard line.  That’s when the play calling got weird.  Murray ran up the middle for a gain of one on first down.  Then the Raiders called pass plays on second and third down.  Both passes were incomplete and that stopped the clock.  Janikowski came into the game and easily made his 23-yard field goal attempt.  That put the Raiders up 35-32 with 1:45 to go in the game.

Judging by how poorly the Raider defense played in the second half, I was pretty sure the Panthers could tie the game up.  They might even be able to take the lead.  On first down from the 25, Newton found Olsen wide open for a gain of 20 yards.  Isn’t there someone who can cover Olsen better than Malcolm Smith?  From the 45, Newton connected with wide receiver Devin Funchess for a gain of 11.  It took two plays and the Panthers were already past midfield.  But the next three plays were all incomplete passes.  On third down, Olsen got open across the middle.  But he couldn’t hang on to the ball.  If he would have caught that pass, the Panthers would have been in field goal range.  Instead, it was fourth and ten from the Oakland 44-yard line.  Newton took the snap and the pocket collapsed around him.  Mack sacked Newton, the ball came loose and Mack recovered it.  That sealed the deal and the Raiders came away with a 35-32 win.  The win improved their record to 9-2 and the Panthers fell to 4-7.  For for the first time since 2002, the Raiders are guaranteed to finish a season with a winning record.  It’s a miracle!

For the Panthers, Cam Newton completed 14 of 29 for 246 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen tied for the lead in receptions with four apiece and Ginn had the most receiving yards with 115.  On the ground, Jonathan Stewart led the way with 96 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.  As a team, the Panthers rushed for 129 yards on 25 carries.  Defensively, cornerback Daryl Worley led the team in solo tackles with ten.  Their star linebacker Luke Kuechly did not play in this game with a concussion and he was sorely missed.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 26 of 38 for 315 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 110.  Much like the game in Mexico, the Raiders had a hard time running the ball.  All totaled, they rushed for just 55 yards on 30 carries.  Latavius Murray led the way with 45 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown.  Defensively, Khalil Mack had a monster game with six solo tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown.  He’s the first player to do that since Charles Woodson did it in 2009.

I was really hoping this game would be a blowout.  It looked like it might be until the defense totally collapsed in the third quarter.  But, the bottom line is the Raiders won the game and maintained first place in the AFC West.  Up next is another home game against the Buffalo Bills.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

 

Monday Night Madness In Mexico City

The tenth game on the schedule for the Oakland Raiders was a trip to Mexico City, Mexico to take on the Houston Texans.  The Texans were coming off a 24-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Raiders were coming off a bye week.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent the opening kickoff deep and the Texans started at their 25-yard line.  On third and eight from the 27, quarterback Brock Osweiler connected with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz for a gain of ten and a first down at the 37.  On third and seven from the 40, Osweiler threw to the left side and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins made the catch and headed up the left sideline.  It looked like he might take it all the way, but he was ruled out of bounds at the Oakland 36-yard line.  A couple of runs by running back Lamar Miller and another conversion on third and long put the Texans at the 17.  But the Raider defense finally woke up and the drive stalled at the 14.  Kicker Nick Novak came on for a 32-yard field goal attempt and the kick was good.  With 8:34 to go in the first quarter, the Texans led 3-0.

Both teams punted on their next possessions.  At the 4:35 mark of the first quarter, the Raiders got the ball back at their 21-yard line.  Quarterback Derek Carr came out throwing.  Completions to tight end Clive Walford and fullback Jamize Olawale moved the Raiders to the 49.  On second and 12 from the 47, Carr went deep for wide receiver Michael Crabtree.  He couldn’t haul it in.  That’s probably because cornerback Johnathan Joseph was pulling on his arm and wasn’t even looking for the ball.  That drew a flag for pass interference and put the ball at the Houston 20-yard line.  Two plays later, Carr tossed a short pass to running back Jalen Richard across the middle.  He made some nifty moves and dove into the end zone.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-3 with 14:47 to go in the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, return man Tyler Irvin fumbled and the ball was recovered by Taiwan Jones of the Raiders at the Houston 19-yard line.  This gave the Raiders a golden opportunity to go up 14-3.  A 15-yard pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper set up a first and goal from the four.  Running back Latavius Murray ran up the middle for a gain of three yards.  From the one, Olawale dove into the pile and came up short of the goal line.  Instead of trying to run it again, the Raiders opted for a pass play.  It didn’t work as Carr couldn’t find anyone open and he basically just threw the ball away.  Janikowski came on and his 19-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 12:48 to go in the second quarter, the Raiders led 10-3.

Another kickoff in the thin Mexican air meant another touch-back.  On third and eight from the 28, Osweiler threw a pass across the middle for Hopkins.  It was incomplete, but cornerback D.J. Hayden was penalized for holding and that gave the Texans a first down at the 33.  Two carries by Miller and another completion to Fiedorowicz moved the Texans into Oakland territory.  From the 34, Miller got loose again and headed for the end zone.  It was originally ruled a touchdown, but replay showed he was pushed out of bounds at the one-yard line.  On first down, Osweiler had a pass knocked right back to him by defensive end Denico Autry.  Osweiler tried to run, but he was brought down for a loss of seven yards.  A false start moved them back five yards.  Suddenly, it looked like the Texans were in danger of not finding the end zone.  Not so fast.  On second and goal from the 12, rookie wide receiver Braxton Miller  put a move on cornerback David Amerson and was wide open in the end zone.  Osweiler saw him and Miller hauled it in for a touchdown.  Novak made the point after and the score was tied 10-10 with eight minutes to go in the second quarter.

With the exception of an interception by Raider linebacker Malcolm Smith, neither team would score again in the first half.  The interception gave the Raiders good field position, but they couldn’t capitalize.  Every time they tried to run the ball, they went nowhere.  Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of the Texan defense were playing very well and making things miserable for the Raider running game.  At halftime, the score was 10-10.

On the very first play of the second half, Carr threw the ball deep down the middle of the field for Cooper.  The throw was way off target and picked off by cornerback A.J. Bouye.  That gave the Texans the ball at their 35-yard line.  A scramble by Osweiler and a pass to tight end Ryan Griffin quickly put the Texans into Oakland territory.  A short completion to L. Miller and another catch by Griffin gave the Texans a first down at the 20.  Another catch by Griffin and another run by L. Miller put them at the eight-yard line.  Two plays later, Osweiler went deep for B. Miller and the pass was incomplete.  As a matter of fact, it was way over-thrown.  But that didn’t stop the zebras from throwing another flag.  Once again, the victim was Hayden and that gave the Texans a first down at the one-yard line.  L. Miller finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.  Novak made the point after and the Texans led 17-10 with 8:32 to go in the third quarter.

The Raiders took over at their 25 and they pretty much abandoned the running game.  Completions to Crabtree and Olawale had them on the move again.  Add a personal foul on Joseph and the Raiders were in Houston territory.  On third and eight from the 32, Carr went deep for Crabtree again.  It was incomplete, but another flag was thrown.  The Texans were flagged for pass interference again.  That put the ball at the eight.  Three plays gained six yards and that meant it was time for another field goal attempt.  It was only a 20-yard attempt and Janikowski had no problem making it.  With 2:39 to go in the third quarter, the Texans led 17-13.

From the 25, Osweiler took to the air again.  Passes to wide receiver Will Fuller and Fiedorowicz went for good gains and a ten-yard scramble by Osweiler moved the ball to midfield.  Some more good running by L. Miller netted more first downs and put the Texans at the Oakland 20-yard line.  But the next three plays would gain only nine yards and on fourth and one from the 11, the Texans decided to try another field goal.  It was good and the Texans led 20-13 with 10:57 to go in the game.

The lethargic Raiders took over at their 25 and I was wondering how they could get into the end zone and tie the game up.  Carr had a quick solution.  He took the snap, had plenty of time to find a receiver and fired a dart to Olawale.  What I thought would be a gain of 20 would end up being a 75-yard touchdown as Olawale cruised into the end zone untouched.  Janikowksi made the point after and the game was tied 20-20 with 10:35 to go in the game.

Return man Akeem Hunt returned the kickoff to the Houston 44-yard line.  A five-yard run by L. Miller and a 14-yard completion to Fiedorowicz put the Texans at the Oakland 37-yard line.  On third and six from the 33, Osweiler connected with Hopkins for a gain of nine yards.  Two more carries by L. Miller gained eight yards.  On third and two, Miller ran off left tackle and was pushed out of bounds just short of the first down marker.  Instead of trying a field goal, the Texans decided to go for it.  This time, Miller didn’t get the call.  Hunt ran off left guard and was quickly brought down for no gain.  The Texans challenged the spot and the play stood as called.  That was a huge break for the Raiders and they took over at their 15-yard line.

An eight-yard pass to Cooper and a three-yard run by Murray gave the Raiders a first down at their 26.  On second down, Carr threw a short pass to Murray and he took it up the left sideline for a gain of 39 yards and a first down at the Houston 35-yard line.  From the 35, Carr looked for Cooper again.  He caught the pass and out-ran the defense for a 35-yard touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 27-20 with 4:43 to go in the game.

The Texans started at their 25 and two more completions to Fiedorowicz moved them to the 39.  Miller ran up the left side for five yards on first down.  But Osweiler was sacked by linebacker Bruce Irvin on second down for a loss of four yards.  On third and nine, Osweiler completed a short pass to wide receiver Keith Mumphery and he was dragged down by Hayden for a gain of four yards.  On fourth and five from the 44, the Texans decided to punt.  Shane Lechler got off a nice 51-yard punt and that pinned the Raiders at their five-yard line with 2:50 to go in the game.

Murray ran up the middle for a gain of three on first down.  Then Carr put a deep ball up the right side that was caught by Richard for a gain of 29 yards and a first down at the Houston 48-yard line.  With two minutes to go, Murray got the call again and ran for a gain of four yards.  The Texans called their final timeout.  All the Raiders needed was six yards and that would give them the win.  On second down, Murray ran up the middle for a gain of two.  On third down, Murray ran up the right side, stumbled and was brought down one yard short of the first down marker.  So, now what do you do?  There’s only 58 seconds to go.  Do you go for it?  Do you have King punt and put the Texans deep in their own territory?  Head coach Jack Del Rio decided to go for it.  Murray ran up the left side and gained four yards.  That was enough for a first down and it gave the Raiders a 27-20 win.  The win improved the Raiders to 8 and 2.  The loss dropped the Texans to 6 and 4.

For the Texans, Brock Osweiler completed 26 of 39 for 243 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  C.J. Fiedorowicz led all receivers in receptions with six and receiving yards with 82.  On the ground, Lamar Miller racked up 104 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown.  All totaled, the Texans ran for 124 yards on 33 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Bernardick McKinney led the team in solo tackles with eight.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 21 of 31 for 295 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.  Latavius Murray had the most receptions with five and Jamize Olawale led the team in receiving yards with 90.  75 of those yards came on one play.  The Raiders had a hard time running the ball and ended up with only 30 yards rushing on 20 carries.  Murray led the team in rushing with 33 yards on 12 carries.  Defensively, linebackers Malcolm Smith, Bruce Irvin and safety Karl Joseph tied for the lead in solo tackles with nine apiece.  Irvin also had a sack and three tackles for a loss.

Well, the Mexican experiment is over and I liked what I saw from the crowd down there.  They were loud, passionate and I’d say it was about 85 percent Raider fans.  Somebody even brought a laser to the game and shined it on Osweiler to distract him.  I haven’t seen anyone do that in a long time.  Also, the field wasn’t in the greatest shape as lots of players were slipping all over the place.  Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the Carolina Panthers.  I am sure the Raiders will be glad to be back in Oakland.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

Raiders Run Over Broncos

Up next for the Oakland Raiders was a home game under the lights against the Denver Broncos.  The Broncos were coming off a 27-19 win over the San Diego Chargers and the Raiders were coming off a 30-24 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicked the game off and return man Kepri Bibbs returned the kick to the 14.  Quarterback Trevor Siemian attempted three passes in a row and all of them fell incomplete.  Punter Riley Dixon punted and return man Jalen Richard returned it ten yards to Oakland 48-yard line.

Quarterback Derek Carr and the Raider offense took the field and got things off to a good start with a five-yard run by running back Latavius Murray.  That was followed by an 11-yard pass to Richard.  On second and nine, Carr found wide receiver Amari Cooper on the right side for a gain of 21 and the Raiders were marching toward the end zone.  From the 14, Carr looked for tight end Clive Walford in the end zone.  But the pass was knocked away by linebacker Brandon Marshall.  Murray ran up the middle for eight yards on second down.  On third and two, Carr tossed a short pass to Seth Roberts.  He caught it, but slipped and fell short of the first down marker.  Carr wanted to go for it, but head coach Jack Del Rio decided it was better to try a field goal.  From 24 yards out, Janikowski split the uprights and the Raiders led 3-0 with 10:21 to go in the first quarter.

The Broncos ran three plays and lost three yards in the process.  Dixon punted again and the Raiders took over at their 42.  A couple of carries by Murray and a pass to Roberts put the Raiders at the Denver 36.  Two plays later, Carr found Andre Holmes on the left side and he made a nice one-handed catch for a gain of 16 yards.  But they would have to settle for a field goal attempt once again as Von Miller sacked Carr on third and four from the six-yard line.  The 29-yard attempt was good and the Raiders led 6-0 with 4:52 to go in the first quarter.  I was glad they were winning.  But it would have been better if they would have scored touchdowns on those drives.  14-0 is much better than 6-0.

On their next possession, the Broncos gained seven yards.  That is a significant improvement, but you need ten yards to obtain a first down.  Dixon punted again and the Raiders took over at their 43-yard line.  Completions to Holmes and Cooper put them in Denver territory.  Carries by running back DeAndre Washington and Murray put them in the red zone.  A ten-yard pass to Roberts and two carries by Murray moved the ball to the one-yard line.  From the one, Murray capped off the drive as he ran up the left side and stretched the ball over the goal line.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 13-0 with 1:19 to go in the first quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possessions.  With 11:45 remaining in the first half, the Broncos got the ball back at their 16-yard line.  Siemian got the drive off to a good start with an eight-yard pass to running back Devontae Booker.  Two plays later, Demaryius Thomas caught a pass over the middle for a gain of 23 yards and the Broncos finally had a first down.  Sound the trumpets!  Carries by Booker and Bibbs kept the Broncos moving toward the end zone.  On first down from the 36, Siemian went deep for the end zone and Jordan Norwood hauled in the pass for a touchdown.  McManus made the point after and the Raiders led 13-7 with 8:16 to go in the first half.

The Raiders would move the ball well on their next possession but Janikowski missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.  That gave the Broncos decent field position with a chance to take the lead.  But the Raider defense forced another three and out.  From the 25, the Raiders continued to move the ball on the ground.  A seven-yard gain by Richard and a 42-yard run up the right side by Murray put the Raiders at the Denver 24.  On third and ten, Carr went deep for Cooper.  The pass was incomplete, but the Broncos were flagged for pass interference.  On first and goal from the one, Carr tossed a short pass to Murray and he took it in for a touchdown.  But that score would be nullified as left tackle Donald Penn was flagged for being an illegal man down-field.  They were at the one!  How the hell can that be?  Whatever.  That bizarre penalty moved them back five yards and Carr looked for Roberts in the end zone.  That pass was incomplete.  But there was some more laundry on the field.  Once again, the Broncos were flagged for pass interference.  That moved the ball to the one-yard line again.  From there, Murray took it into the end zone.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 20-7 with 1:20 remaining in the first half.

The Broncos quickly went to work and passes to Bibbs and Thomas got them into Oakland territory.  On third and three from the 49, Siemian looked for Jordan Taylor.  It was incomplete but cornerback T.J. Carrie was flagged for defensive holding.  That put the ball at the 44.  From there, Siemian found Thomas again for a gain of seven yards.  That meant McManus would have a chance to make a long field goal before halftime.  His 55-yard attempt was good and at halftime, the Raiders led 20-10.  I kept thinking back to the two drives early in the game where the Raiders couldn’t get the ball into the end zone.  The missed field goal also crossed my mind.  In theory, the score could have been 31-10.

Neither team did much with the ball in the third quarter until the Broncos got the ball back at their one-yard line with 4:34 to go in the third quarter.  Two plays gained two yards and on third and eight from the three, Siemian launched a bomb up the left sideline for Thomas.  He was unable to catch the pass, but another flag was thrown.  This time it was pass interference on cornerback D.J. Hayden.  He’s usually good for at least one of those penalties a game.  But this was huge.  The Broncos would have been punting from their end zone.  Instead, they had a first down at their 30.  But Khalil Mack knocked them back nine yards as he sacked Siemian on first down.  The Broncos bounced back with passes to tight end Virgil Green and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.  The pass to Green moved the ball to the Oakland 30-yard line.  But their running game still couldn’t get going and an intentional grounding penalty didn’t help either.  The drive stalled at the 26 and McManus came on for a 44-yard attempt.  It was good and the Raiders led 20-13 with 14:56 to go in the game.

I was starting to feel very uneasy as the fourth quarter began.  The lead was only seven and I knew the Broncos were very capable of tying this game up if the Raiders couldn’t put some more points on the board.  From the 25, Carr found wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a gain of 13 yards.  Carries by Murray and Washington gained 12 yards and they were at midfield.  From the 50, Carr fired a bullet to Walford for a gain of 15 yards.  He threw that pass so hard that the ball literally stuck to Walford.  From the 35, Washington ran for four yards and Cooper caught another pass for seven yards.  But a holding penalty on Penn moved them back ten yards.  On third and 17 from the 31, Carr hooked up with Crabtree over the middle for a gain of 14.  That meant it was up to Janikowski to give his team a ten-point lead.  His 35-yard attempt was good and the Raiders were up 23-13 with 8:19 remaining.

The Broncos took over at their 25 and on second and eight from the 27, Siemian found Norwood across the middle for a gain of 20 yards.  Two plays later, our old friend Mack got to Siemian again for another sack.  The ball was jarred loose and Mack recovered it at the 39-yard line.  That gave the Raiders the ball at the Denver 39 and they had a great chance to increase their lead.  From the 39, Carr threw to the right side for no one in particular and the pass was picked off by safety T.J. Ward.  Or was it?  Replay showed the ball hit the ground and the Raiders got another chance.  On third and seven from the 36, Carr went deep for wide receiver Johnny Holton.  The pass was incomplete.  But guess what happened?  Another flag was thrown and the Broncos were flagged for pass interference again.  That penalty put the ball at the five-yard line.  From the five, Carr looked for Crabtree and the Broncos were flagged again.  This time it was defensive holding.  I bet the Bronco fans were going out of their minds with all those penalties being called on their team.  Welcome to my world.  Another pass interference penalty was called on the next play.  Finally, Murray dove over the top for a touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 30-13 with 6:09 remaining.

The Broncos started their next drive at the 25 and I knew the Raiders were going to start playing soft.  Enter the dreaded prevent defense.  Sanders caught a pass for 11 yards on first down.  A false start penalty moved them back five yards.  On first and 15 from the 31, Siemian tossed a short pass to Bibbs.  What I saw after he caught that pass was some of the worst tackling ever.  As Bibbs weaved his way up-field, defender after defender dove and missed him.  He cut across the middle and headed up the right sideline.  Still on his feet, he turned on the speed and dove into the end zone.  To me, that looked more like a drill you would see in training camp.  It looked like the Raider defense had been replaced by 11 tackling dummies.  That’s a fitting description because they were tackling like dummies on that play.  Overall, the defense played very well in this game  But that was painful to watch.  McManus made the point after and the Raiders led 30-20 with 5:13 remaining.

It was time for the Raiders to use the ground game and eat up the remaining minutes.  They started at the 19 and Murray got things off to a nice start with a 13-yard run.  The next two plays gained two yards and the Broncos called a timeout.  On third and eight from the 34, Carr found Cooper all alone on the left sideline for a gain of nine yards and a first down at the 43.  A holding call moved them back ten yards.  That was followed by a couple of carries by Richard that went nowhere.  King punted and the Broncos got the ball back at their 28-yard line with 2:15 to go and no timeouts.  On fourth and ten from the 28, Siemian looked for Norwood across the middle and the pass was intercepted by safety Reggie Nelson.  That sealed the deal and the Raiders came away with a 30-20 win.  That win improved them to 7-2 and they were back in first place in the AFC West.  The loss dropped the Broncos to 6-3.

For the Broncos Trevor Siemian completed 18 of 37 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders tied for the lead in receptions with five apiece.  Kapri Bibbs led the team in receiving yards with 69.  To put it simply, the Broncos had nowhere to run.  Devontae Booker led the team in rushing with 22 yards on ten carries.  As a team, the Broncos rushed for just 33 yards on 12 carries.  Defensively, defensive backs T.J. Ward, Bradley Roby and Darian Stewart tied for the lead in solo tackles with eight apiece.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 20 of 31 for 184 yards.  Amari Cooper led the team in receptions with six and receiving yards with 56.  The ground game was running on all cylinders.  Latavius Murray led the way with 114 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 218 yards on 43 carries.  The Raiders also won the time of possession battle as they held on to the ball for 41:28.  Also, they had “only” eight penalties for 72 yards.  The Broncos were flagged 12 times for 104 yards.  Defensively, linebacker Malcolm Smith led the team in solo tackles with eight.  Khalil Mack also had a solid game with two sacks, two tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Up next for the Raiders is a much needed bye week.  That will give them time to heal up and get healthy.  After that, it’s a trip down to Mexico to take on the Houston Texans.  Defensive end Mario Edwards should be back and hopefully linebacker Aldon Smith will be reinstated.  They would really be welcome additions to the defense.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

 

 

Welcome To Yellow Hell

Up next on the schedule for the Oakland Raiders was a visit to Tampa Bay, Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Raiders were coming off a 33-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buccaneers were coming off a 34-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers.  The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicked the game off and the Buccaneers started out at their 25.  Although they had some success through the air, they ended up punting.  But there was some bad news for the Raiders.  Cornerback Sean Smith left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return. The Raiders would get the ball at their 16 and quarterback Derek Carr got the possession off to a good start with an eight-yard pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper.  On second down, wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught a pass for one yard and was promptly flagged for taunting.  You catch a pass for one yard and then taunt someone?  Crab, I like you.  But you need to chill out with the taunting.  That penalty basically destroyed any chances of getting a first down and punter Marquette King got off a nice 67-yard punt.

The Buccaneers took over at their 20-yard line.  Two carries by running back Jacquizz Rodgers and an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Evans got the Buccaneers moving in the right direction.  Three more carries by Rodgers and a completion to wide receiver Adam Humphries netted a first down at the Oakland 16-yard line.  The Raider defense started to tighten up.  Rodgers was stuffed for a short gain on first down and defensive end Khalil Mack sacked Winston for a loss of seven yards.  That set up a third and long and the pass was complete to tight end Luke Stocker.  But he was brought down for a loss of two yards.  Rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo came into the game and his 41-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 2:38 to go in the first quarter, the Buccaneers led 3-0.

The Raiders managed to move the ball from their 25-yard line to their 45.  But on third and seven, defensive end Noah Spence blew past right tackle Austin Howard and sacked Carr.  The ball came loose and the Buccaneers recovered the ball at the Oakland 34-yard line.  Three plays later, Winston threw a high pass to the end zone that was hauled in by wide receiver Russell Shepard for a touchdown.  Aguayo made the point after and the Buccaneers led 10-0 with 14:54 to go in the second quarter.

The Raiders still couldn’t get out of their own way and lots of holding and illegal shift penalties weren’t helping.  However, the defense forced another punt and they got the ball back at their 29-yard line.  Carr threw a short pass to his right intended for fullback Jamize Olawale.  He caught the ball in stride and rumbled up the right sideline.  He was pushed out of bounds at the Tampa Bay three-yard line.  That’s when the flags started flying.  First, there was a delay of game penalty.  Then offensive pass interference on Crabtree.  Those penalties moved them back to the 19.  They would get as far as the 13 and be forced to try a field goal.  The kick was good and the Buccaneers led 10-3 with 8:15 to go in the first half.  For the remainder of the half, nobody scored.  But the Raiders were flagged four more times.  That brought the total up to ten.  I was feeling rather disgusted to say the least.

I was really hoping the Raiders could get their offense moving as the second half began.  On third and ten from the 25, Carr fired a strike across the middle that was caught by Cooper for a gain of 28 and a first down at the Tampa Bay 47-yard line.  On third and six from the 43, Carr connected with wide receiver Seth Roberts for a gain of 13 yards.  Two plays later, Carr went deep for Cooper again.  The pass was incomplete, but cornerback Brent Grimes was flagged for pass interference.  That put the ball at the one and I was expecting to see Murray or Olawale run up the middle for a touchdown.  Instead, Carr took the snap, rolled to his right and threw a perfect pass that was caught by left tackle Donald Penn.  The former Buccaneer crossed his arms and stood in the end zone and gazed upon his former supporters.  Then he walked toward them and talked a little trash.  Surprisingly, there was no flag thrown.  Janikowski made the point after and the score was knotted at 10-10 with 10:24 to go in the third quarter.

Another sack by Mack and two incomplete deep passes quickly ended Tampa’s next possession.  The Raiders took over at their 33 and looked to take the lead.  Two carries by running back Latavius Murray and a 16-yard pass to Cooper quickly moved the ball to the Tampa Bay 38-yard line.  Two plays later, Carr threw a deep pass to Cooper and he caught it for a touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 17-10 with 5:30 to go in the third quarter.

Neither offense did anything worth mentioning on their next possessions.  Unless you want to talk about penalties.  In that case, there’s lots to talk about.  There was a personal foul, illegal formation, ineligible man downfield and all kinds of annoying things that made my blood boil.  It was truly sickening to see the offense run a play for big yardage and have it called back.  This was happening over and over again.

With a little over a minute to go in the third quarter, the Buccaneers got the ball at the Oakland 47-yard line.  On second and ten, Humphries got behind cornerback D.J. Hayden and caught a pass for a gain of 42 yards.  From the five, Winston found tight end Cameron Brate in the end zone for a touchdown.  But it wasn’t all bad for the Raiders as Aguayo missed the point after.  Did they really trade up for this guy in the draft?  After that miss, the Tampa Bay fans voiced their displeasure with him.

The Raiders punted on their next possession.  That gave the Buccaneers the ball at their 18-yard line.  On third and seven, Winston looked for Shepard across the middle.  The pass was incomplete, but there was another flag thrown.  Rookie safety Karl Joseph was flagged for a personal foul.  I don’t know what he was thinking.  That penalty kept the drive alive and moved the ball to the 36.  A nine-yard pass to Rodgers and a penalty on the Raiders for having 12 men on the field netted a first down at the 50.  A ten-yard pass to Stocker and a pass interference penalty on Hayden put the ball at the Oakland 21.  Another penalty for 12 men on the field, a carry by Rodgers and a pass to Shepard netted a first down at the seven-yard line.  Winston scrambled for six yards on first down.  Rodgers ran up the middle on second down and found the end zone.  They decided to go for two and Winston found Evans in the end zone for a successful two-point conversion.  He was probably open because the Raiders only had ten players on the field.  That put the Buccaneers up 24-17 with 3:48 to go in the game.

From the 25 with time running short, Carr took to the air.  Passes to Roberts, Cooper and tight end Clive Walford quickly got them into Tampa Bay territory.  From the 43, Carr went deep for Cooper again and it was caught for a gain of 31 yards and a first down at the 12.  Two incomplete passes set up a third and ten.  Cooper caught another pass, but it was short of the first down marker.  That brought up a fourth and three.  Carr took the snap and threw for Crabtree in the end zone.  It was overthrown and I thought the game was over.  But a miracle happened.  A flag was thrown and the Buccaneers were penalized for defensive holding.  Cornerback Jude Adje-Barimah basically hugged Roberts before he could run his route.  Great call, zebras!  I knew you could do it!  That put the ball at the two-yard line.  Then, center Rodney Hudson was flagged for a false start.  That moved the Raiders back to the seven.  From the seven, Carr found tight end Mychal Rivera standing all by himself in the end zone for a touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the score was 24-24 with 1:38 to go in the game.

The Buccaneers punted after three plays.  Return man Jalen Richard fielded the ball at the 25 and returned it to the 45.  I thought this was going to be easy.  Get a couple of first downs, bring in the Polish Cannon and leave Florida with a 27-24 win.  That’s not exactly how it happened.  On first down, Carr completed a ten-yard pass to Crabtree.  Then he went deep for Cooper up the left sideline.  The pass hit him in the hands and he dropped it.  That was a killer.  Cooper was having a great day.  But it would have been greater if he caught that one.  Carr scrambled for 12 yards and with four seconds to go, Janikowksi had a chance to end the game with a 50-yard field goal.  The announcers hyped up Janikowski as if he was the Lord and Master of all kickers.  That is what is known as the announcer jinx.  The snap was good, the hold was good too.  But the kick sailed wide left.  That meant the game was headed for overtime.

The Raiders won the coin flip and went to work from their 25-yard line.  Two carries by Murray and a 45-yard pass to Crabtree had the Raiders at the Tampa Bay 23.  If Crabtree was able to keep his balance, he most likely would have scored.  But he slipped and fell at the 23.  Still, that play put them in field goal range.  That was until Cooper was flagged for a personal foul penalty after making a catch for a short gain.  As he was heading out of bounds, he stuck his arm out and hit cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.  I guess the zebras interpreted that as a blow to the head.  It’s called a stiff-arm, you morons!  That moved them back 15 yards.  Tack on a false start penalty and some unsuccessful plays and the Raiders found themselves in a third and 21 situation from the 34-yard line.  Instead of trying to go deep for Cooper or Crabtree, Carr opted for a short pass to wide receiver Andre Holmes that went for no gain.  Enter Janikowksi again.  His 52-yard attempt was no good and overtime continued.

The Buccaneers started at their 42 and on first down, Winston went deep for Evans and Hayden did a great job of knocking the ball away.  If Evans caught that pass, the game would have been over.  Two more plays gained five yards and the Buccaneers punted again.  The Raiders would follow suit and punted the ball back to the Buccaneers.  I was beginning to think the game would end in a tie just like the Redskins and Bengals had earlier in the day.  King had another great punt and the Buccaneers were pinned back at their 11-yard line.  On second down from the 13, running back Antone Smith was hit by Mack and the ball came loose.  But the Buccaneers came away with the ball.  On third down, a pass to Smith fell incomplete and the Buccaneers were forced to punt again.

With 3:29 remaining, the Raiders took over at their 40.  A 12-yard pass to Murray moved them to the Tampa Bay 48-yard line.  That was followed by a seven-yard pass to Crabtree.  Two incomplete passes set up a fourth and three from the 41.  Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t hesitate with his decision and they decided to go for it.  Carr took the snap, fired a strike across the middle and the ball was caught by Roberts.  The defenders collided and that opened up a clear path to the end zone.  Roberts cruised into the end zone for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 30-24 win.  That win improved the Raider’s record to 6-2.  It also improved their road record to 5-0.  The loss dropped the Buccaneers to 3-4.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 40 of 59 for a team record 513 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.  Amari Cooper led the team in receptions with 12 and had a career high in receiving yards with 173 and a touchdown.  On the ground, Latavius Murray led the team with 48 yards on 11 carries.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 128 yards on 24 carries.  Defensively, Karl Joseph led the team in solo tackles with seven.  Khalil Mack had his best game of the year with six solo tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and two tackles for a loss.

For the Buccaneers, Jameis Winston completed 16 of 32 for 180 yards and two touchdowns.  Mike Evans led the team in receptions with four and Adam Humphries had the most receiving yards with 58.  Before leaving the game with a foot injury, Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 69 yards on 19 carries and had one touchdown.  As a team, the Buccaneers rushed for 102 yards on 27 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Kwon Alexander was all over the place and he racked up 14 solo tackles.

Well, I must say the 2016 Oakland Raiders are quite a resilient bunch.  Despite being penalized for 200 yards and a league record 23 times, they came away with a win.  Don’t forget they were wearing black jerseys in hot and humid Tampa Bay, Florida as well.  I still cannot get over all the penalties.  It truly was yellow hell.  It was so bad that every time some positive yardage was gained, I looked for a flag.  Even on the winning play, I thought they might throw a flag at Roberts for making two defenders collide.  I know that wouldn’t happen, but the thought did cross my mind.  The zebras are making everyone paranoid and if I weren’t a diehard Raider fan, I would have turned the game off in the third quarter.  Still, I am thrilled with the win and up next is a home game on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos.  Despite not having Peyton Manning at quarterback anymore, they are playing well and they are tied with the Raiders for first place in the AFC West  with a 6-2 record.  It should be a good game.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

 

An Ugly Day In The Sunshine State

The Oakland Raiders hit the road again for week seven.  This time, they had to go across the country to Jacksonville, Florida to face the Jaguars.  The Raiders were coming off a 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jaguars were coming off a 17-16 win over the Chicago Bears.  The Jaguars won the coin flip and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Jason Myers kicked the game off and it sailed through the end zone.  Neither team did anything worth mentioning on their first possessions.  With 12:21 to go in the first quarter, the Raiders got the ball back at their 30-yard line.  Quarterback Derek Carr got the drive off to a good start with a 13-yard pass to tight end Mychal Rivera.  On third and seven from the 46, Carr connected with wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a gain of 11 yards and a first down at the Jacksonville 43.  A 26-yard pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts put the Raiders in the red zone.  But the drive would stall at the seven because tight end Clive Walford couldn’t hold onto a pass on third down.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski came on for a 25-yard field goal.  It was good and the Raiders led 3-0 with 9:06 to go in the first quarter.

A good kickoff return by wide receiver Marqise Lee set the Jaguars up at their 33-yard line.  A couple of carries from running back Chris Ivory and a holding call on the Raiders got the ball moving in the right direction for the Jaguars.  On third and three from the 46, Quarterback Blake Bortles scrambled for a gain of 17 and a first down at the Oakland 37.  Cornerback D.J. Hayden was also flagged for holding and the zebras tacked five more yards onto the play.  From the 32, Bortles got loose again.  This time it was for a gain of 11 yards.  Two plays later, Bortles looked for Lee in the corner of the end zone and the pass was picked off by cornerback David Amerson.

The Raiders moved from their 20 to the 47 but ended up punting again.  Return man Rashad Greene decided to get a running start before fielding the punt and it hit him in the hands.  I guess that’s a bad spot to hit him because he fumbled and wide receiver Andre Holmes of the Raiders came out of the pile with the ball.  This gave the Raiders excellent field position and a great chance to increase their lead.  But three plays gained only three yards as Carr overthrew Roberts in the end zone on third down.  Janikowksi trotted onto the field and his 32-yard field goal attempt was good.  The Raiders now led 6-0 with 14:46 to go in the second quarter.

The Jaguars started at their 25 and Bortles looked for wide receiver Allen Robinson on first down.  The pass was incomplete, but Amerson was flagged for pass interference.  That moved the Jaguars to the 50.  From there, Ivory got loose up the right side and was pushed out of bounds at the Oakland eight-yard line.  But they still couldn’t find the end zone and Myers came on for a 23-yard field goal attempt.  It was good and the Raiders led 6-3 with 12:38 to go in the second quarter.

Another deep kickoff meant the Raiders would be starting at their 25 again.  Wide receiver Johnny Holton got things off to a great start with an end around that was good for 29 yards.  After just one play, the Raiders were already in Jacksonville territory.  The ground game started working and running backs Latavius Murray and DeAndre Washington kept the ball moving.  On first down from the 18, Murray got another carry and gained six yards.  Two plays later, Carr found Crabtree for a gain of five and a first down at the five-yard line.  Two plays later, Murray found the end zone.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 13-3 with 5:32 to go in the second quarter.

For their next drive, the Jaguars broke out their no huddle offense.  Bortles completed passes to Lee, tight end Julius Thomas and running back T.J. Yeldon.  All those completions put the Jaguars at the Oakland 15-yard line.  But a holding penalty and some good play by the Raider defense forced the Jaguars to settle for another field goal attempt.  Myers easily made his 37-yard attempt and the Raiders led 13-6 with 1:49 to go in the second quarter.

Just like the Jaguars, the Raiders broke out the no huddle offense.  Passes to Crabtree, Walford  and Murray gained some decent yardage.  On third and five from the 42, Carr went deep for Crabtree and he made a spectacular diving catch at the Jacksonville two-yard line.  Two plays later, Carr threw for Crabtree in the end zone and he hauled it in for a touchdown.  Crabtree was flagged after the play for unsportsmanlike conduct as it appeared that he did a throat slash.  Yeah.  Whatever.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 20-6 at halftime.

Lee returned the kickoff to the 35 and the Jaguars took to the air.  Passes to wide receiver Allen Hurns and Lee had the Jaguars at the Oakland 32-yard line.  But the Raider defense once again kept the Jaguars out of the end zone and the Jaguars had to settle for a 44-yard field goal attempt.  The kick was good and the Raiders led 20-9 with 12:11 to go in the third quarter.

Now, we are heading into familiar territory for the Raider offense.  Last week, I couldn’t write much about their offense because they didn’t do much.  The same could be said for this game.  There was a lot of punting going on for both teams until the 4:45 mark of the third quarter.  That’s when the Raiders got the ball back at the Jacksonville 37.  An offside penalty on the Jaguars moved the ball to the 32.  This “drive” would abruptly end at the 25 yard line.  That’s because Carr completed a five-yard pass to Holmes on third and 14.  You need 14 yards and you throw a short pass?  I sincerely don’t get that.  At least throw the ball to the first down marker.  Anyway, Janikowski was brought into the game again and his 43-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 2:28 to go in the third quarter, the Raiders led 23-9.

The Jaguars were forced to punt on their next possession.  Return man Jalen Richard had a really nice return but it was brought back because of holding.  That put the Raiders back at their 28-yard line.  On second down, Carr looked for Roberts and the pass was complete for a gain of ten.  There were more yellow flags on the ground.  Defensive tackle Malik Jackson was flagged 15 yards for roughing the passer.  After that, he had some unkind words for the zebras.  That got him 15 more yards.  I really enjoyed seeing the Raiders gain 30 yards without running a play.  But they still couldn’t get the ball moving and they had to settle for yet another field goal attempt.  The 52-yard attempt by Janikowski was good and the Raiders increased their lead to 26-9.  After that play, Jackson was at it again and he was flagged 15 more yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.  That got him ejected.  Jackson was one angry man.  When he was in Denver, he was a big part of a very good championship defense.  But he left the Broncos because the Jaguars threw a large sum of money at him.  Now he plays on a bad team with bad uniforms.  It just goes to show you that money can’t buy you happiness.  Some of that money will probably be sent to the league office this week as getting three personal fouls in one game will definitely get him fined.

As this game wore on, things got more and more chippy between the teams.  It seemed like there was a flag after every play and head zebra Jeff Triplette and his crew were having a very difficult time keeping things under control.  Triplette may want to look into retirement soon.  He was constantly getting numbers mixed up on his penalty announcements and looked to be out of breath.  With 7:15 to go in the game, the Jaguars put together a good 11 play, 83-yard drive that was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Thomas.  Linebacker Malcolm Smith looked like he had an interception, but Thomas wrestled the ball away for him.  Myers made the point after and the Raiders led 26-16 with 4:12 remaining.

The Jaguars tried an onside kick and it went out of bounds.  That gave the Raiders the ball at the Jacksonville 48.  Two carries by Murray gained minimal yardage.  Then the flags started flying again.  A false start penalty moved them back five yards.  Then left tackle Donald Penn was flagged for a personal foul penalty.  The Raiders set up to punt again.  Marquette King had trouble with a bad snap.  He regained control of the ball and ran up the right sideline for a gain of 27 yards and a first down at the Jacksonville 35-yard line.  After that, more flags were thrown.  This time, Johnny Holton of the Raiders and Jalen Ramsey of the Jaguars were ejected for fighting

Two carries by Murray and an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper put the Raiders at the nine-yard line.  From there, Murray capped the drive off with a nine-yard touchdown run.  That was the nail in the coffin.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders would leave Jacksonville with a 33-16 win.  That win improved them to 5-2 and the Jaguars fell to 2-4.  The Raiders also improved their record on the road to 4-0.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 23 of 37 for 200 yards and one touchdown.  Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 96 and a touchdown.  90 of those yards came in the first half.  On the ground, Latavius Murray led the team in rushing with 59 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 144 yards on 34 carries.  The longest rush was 27 yards and that was by punter Marquette King.  The punter had the longest run for his team.  You are reading that correctly.  Defensively, linebacker Malcolm Smith led the team in solo tackles with six.  Khalil Mack also had a good game with a sack and two tackles for a loss.

For the Jaguars, Blake Bortles completed 23 of 43 for 246 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.  Marqise Lee led the team in receptions with seven and receiving yards with 107.  Chris Ivory was the leading rusher with 48 yards on five carries.  42 of those yards were gained on one carry.  As a team, the Jaguars rushed for 105 yards on 16 carries.  Defensively, safety Johnathan Cyprien led the team in solo tackles with 11.

This game was as ugly as it gets.  The flags were flying, tempers were flaring and Jaguar fans were heading for the exits in the third quarter.  The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 117 yards and the Jaguars were flagged 13 times for 112 yards.  But all I wanted to see was the Raiders get a win.  That’s precisely what they did.  Up next for the Raiders is another road game at Tampa Bay.  The Buccaneers easily defeated the 49ers last week and they’ll be looking to get a win against the Raiders.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

 

Chiefs Defeat Sloppy Raiders, 26-10

Week six of the 2016 season had the Kansas City Chiefs paying a visit to the Oakland Raiders.  The Chiefs were coming off a bye week and the Raiders were coming off a 34-31 win over the San Diego Chargers.  The Chiefs won the toss and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Cairo Santos kicked the game off and return man Jalen Richard fielded the kick at the four-yard line.  He returned it to the Kansas City 46 and the Raiders started the game out with good field position.  Despite the rainy conditions, quarterback Derek Carr took to the air and three completions to wide receiver Amari Cooper moved the ball to the four-yard line.  On second and goal from the three, Carr found wide receiver Andre Holmes in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders went up 7-0 with 12 minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Chiefs would punt on their first possession of the game.  But they would get the ball back very quickly because Carr was picked off by cornerback Marcus Peters at the Kansas City 43-yard line.  That truly was a horrible pass by Carr.  Quarterback Alex Smith and the Kansas City offense took the field again.  A 21-yard completion to tight end Travis Kelce and three carries by running back Spencer Ware put the Chiefs at the Oakland 25-yard line.  On third and eight from the 23, Smith looked for wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas and he made the catch for a gain of eight and a first down at the 15.  Carries by running backs Charcandrick West and Jamaal Charles had the Chiefs knocking at the door and on first and goal from the two, Ware took it into the end zone.  Santos made the point after and the game was tied 7-7 with 2:16 to go in the first quarter.

On their next possession, the Raiders started at their 22 and decided to give their running game a look.  Two carries from running back DeAndre Washington gained eight yards.  On third and two from the 30, Carr hooked up with wide receiver Seth Roberts for a gain of 19 yards.  Passes to Cooper and wide receiver Michael Crabtree netted another first down at the Kansas City 38.  But a holding penalty moved them back ten yards.  That was followed by a fumble by Carr that was recovered by Washington.  A completion to Cooper put the Raiders back into field goal range.  But the 52-yard attempt sailed wide left and the score remained tied at 7-7.

The Chiefs took over at their 42 and quickly marched down the field with ease.  The rain certainly wasn’t bothering them.  Screen passes to Charles and a deep pass to wide receiver Albert Wilson set the Chiefs up with a first and goal from the four-yard line.  Charles capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run.  Santos missed the extra point and the Chiefs led 13-7 with 7:11 to go in the first half.

The Raiders took over at their 24 and Carr and Cooper continued to hook up for big gains.  A 24-yard pass to Cooper moved the Raiders to the Kansas City 37.  That was followed by an eight-yard pass to Holmes.  But Richard was thrown for a loss of three on second down and Roberts dropped a pass that hit him right in the hands on third down.  Instead of trying another field goal, head coach Jack Del Rio decided to go for it.  What followed was one of the worst passes I have ever seen.  Carr looked for Roberts on the left side and he put up a balloon that was so poorly thrown that nobody could catch it.

The Chiefs took over at their 32 with 3:10 remaining.  Passes to wide receivers Chris Conley and Jeremy Maclin had the Chiefs in Oakland territory again.  On third and one from the 18, Ware was stuffed for a loss of two by defensive end Stacy McGee.  Santos came into the game for a 38-yard field goal attempt and it sailed wide left.  With time running short, Carr went to work and passes to Cooper and tight end Clive Walford put the ball at the Kansas City 28-yard line with one second to go.  This time, Janikowski would make his 46-yard attempt and at halftime, the Chiefs led 13-10.

The good news for the Raiders is that they only allowed the Chiefs to score 13 points in the second half.  The bad news for the Raiders is that they put up exactly zero points in the second half.  Poor execution on the offensive side of the ball was a big factor.  Also, the defense couldn’t get to Smith, force a turnover or stop their running game.  Add all that up and you have a 26-10 victory for the Chiefs.  That win improved their record to 3-2 and the loss dropped the Raiders to 4-2.  Another record that improved was Chief head coach Andy Reid.  His teams are now 15-2 after bye weeks.

For the Chiefs, Alex Smith had a very efficient game and completed 19 of 22 for 224 yards.  Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley and Travis Kelce tied for the lead in receptions with three apiece.  Maclin had the most receiving yards with 49.  The running game was working on all cylinders as the Chiefs racked up 183 yards on 40 carries.  Spencer Ware was the leading rusher with 131 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown.  Defensively, linebacker Derrick Johnson led the team in solo tackles with seven.  He also had two tackles for a loss.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 22 of 34 for 225 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  He also fumbled twice and lost one of them in Kansas City territory.  Amari Cooper led the team in receptions with 10 and receiving yards with 129.  Nine of those catches were made in the first half.  When DeAndre Washington was given the chance, he ran the ball very well and ended up leading the team in rushing with 49 yards on 10 carries.  Unfortunately when you’re down all game, the running game gets abandoned.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 65 yards on 17 carries. Defensively, rookie safety Karl Joseph led the team in solo tackles with seven.

This truly was a sloppy game for the Raiders.  While they were slipping and sliding and basically stinking up the joint, the Chiefs were executing their game plan perfectly.  It’s time to right the ship.  The next two games for the Raiders are at Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.  Maybe they’ll do better on the road.  After all, their record in road games is 3-0.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

Raiders Defeat Chargers, 34-31

Week five matched the Oakland Raiders up with the visiting San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers were coming off a 35-34 loss to the New Orleans Saints and the Raiders were coming off a 28-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens.  The Chargers won the coin flip and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Josh Lambo sent the opening kickoff through the end zone and the Raiders started at their 25-yard line.  On second and ten from the 39, quarterback Derek Carr attempted to throw a screen pass to running back DeAndre Washington and the ball was picked off by defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.  He was brought down at the 30-yard line.

With very good field position, quarterback Philip Rivers and his offense looked to capitalize on the turnover.  On third and two from the 22, Rivers completed a pass across the middle to tight end Antonio Gates.  He was hit by linebacker Perry Riley and the ball fell to the ground.  Safety Reggie Nelson recovered it and the Raiders got the ball back at their 11-yard line.

On third and ten, Carr completed an 11-yard pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper.  Three plays later, Carr looked for Cooper again and he caught the pass for a gain of 26 yards and a first down at the San Diego 45-yard line.  Then, Carr was sacked for a loss of one yard and right guard Gabe Jackson was flagged for holding.  That moved the Raiders back to their 44.  From the 44, Carr tossed a short pass to running back Jalen Richard and he took it down to the San Diego 34 for a first down.  A couple of carries by Richard and completions to Washington and wide receiver Michael Crabtree put the Raiders at the three-yard line.  On third down from the two, Carr floated a pass for Cooper in the end zone.  He caught it, but failed to get both feet in bounds.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski came into the game and his 20-yard field goal attempt was good.  With four minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Raiders led 3-0.

On the first play of their next possession, Rivers went deep down the middle for wide receiver Travis Benjamin and the ball was picked off by cornerback Sean Smith.  He returned the ball to the San Diego 32-yard line and the Raiders looked to capitalize.  But two false starts and some pretty conservative play calling got them nowhere.  To top it off, Janikowski missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.  In other words, opportunity knocked and the Raiders failed to answer.

The Chargers took over at their 40-yard line.  Completions to Benjamin and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman moved them to midfield.  A neutral zone infraction on the Raiders gave them five more yards.  Three carries by running back Melvin Gordon and a completion to Gates put the ball at the 29.  From there, Rivers went deep for wide receiver Tyrell Williams and he hauled it in for a touchdown.  Lambo made the point after and the Chargers led 7-3 with 13:07 to go in the first half.

The Raiders took over at their 25.  Completions to Cooper, Washington and a 17-yard run by fullback Jamize Olawale quickly put them at the 50.  Another pass to Cooper and some more running by Richard gave the Raiders a first down at the eight-yard line.  But once again, they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone.  Janikowski came on and his 26-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 7:13 remaining in the first half, the Chargers led 7-6.

Another deep kickoff meant the Chargers would start at their 25 again.  A false start moved them back five yards.  From the 20, Rivers looked for Benjamin and he made the catch and ran up the right sideline for a gain of 54 yards and a first down at the Oakland 26-yard line.  But the drive would stall at the 18 and Lambo had no problem making his 36-yard field goal attempt.  With 4:24 remaining, the Chargers led 10-6.

The Raiders punted on their next possession and the Chargers would try to put one more scoring drive together before the half ended.  On third and 16 from the 18, Rivers launched a deep bomb for no one in particular and the pass was picked off by rookie safety Karl Joseph.  He returned the ball to the San Diego 44-yard line and now the Raiders had a shot to score before halftime.  But Carr was sacked by rookie defensive end Joey Bosa for a loss of 12 yards on first down.  But two passes to Richard gained 18 yards and with two seconds to go, the Polish Cannon was brought into the game for a 56-yard attempt.  He blasted the ball through the uprights and at halftime, the Chargers led 10-9.

The Chargers started the second half from their 25 and on first down, Rivers was sacked by defensive end Stacy McGee.  The ball came loose and rolled to the left side of the field.  The Chargers were able to recover it and they would make the Raiders pay for not recovering that fumble.  From the 20, Rivers completed a pass to tight end Hunter Henry.  As he was running down the field, I was wondering where the Raiders were.  There wasn’t a black jersey in sight!  Smith finally pushed him out of bounds at the Oakland 21-yard line.  Two plays later, the Chargers executed a perfect screen pass to Gordon and he took it into the end zone untouched.  Lambo made the point after and the Chargers led 17-9 with 12:31 remaining in the third quarter.

The Raiders took over at the 25 and on third and ten, Carr completed an 11-yard pass to Crabtree.  Two plays later, he went deep for Cooper up the left side.  Cooper caught the ball in stride and took it all the way for a 64-yard touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Chargers led 17-16 with 11:25 to go in the third quarter.

Return man Dexter McCluster returned the ensuing kickoff to the 25 and Rivers decided to go deep down the middle again.  Despite there being two defenders in the area, Williams made the catch at the Oakland 25-yard line.  From there, Gordon ran up the right side and was brought down at the one-yard line.  From the one, Rivers found Henry in the end zone for an easy touchdown.  Lambo made the point after and the Chargers led 24-16 with 5:29 to go in the third quarter.  All those deep passes made this game resemble a shootout from the good old days.

Another kickoff through the end zone put the Raiders at their 25-yard line again.  A completion to wide receiver Seth Roberts and some solid running by Washington moved the Raiders into San Diego territory again.  But on third and eight from the 32, Carr opted to throw a short pass to Olawale and it was good for only two yards.  That meant they had to call on the kicker again.  Janikowski had no trouble making his 48-yard attempt and the Chargers led 24-19 with 4:41 to go in the third quarter.

On first down from the 25, Gordon ran up the middle.  If Nelson hadn’t been there to trip him up, he most likely would have scored on a 75-yard touchdown run.  Instead, he only picked up nine yards.  Gordon got the call again on second down and he was hit by McGee.  The ball came loose and Joseph pounced on it at the 38-yard line.  That was the break the Raiders needed and on second and six from the 34, Carr scrambled for six yards and a first down at the 28.  Three plays gained seven yards and head coach Jack Del Rio opted to go for it on fourth and three instead of kicking another field goal.  As the play clock went down to single digits, it looked like Carr was going to try and draw the Chargers offside.  But he took the snap and floated a pass up the right side that was hauled in by Crabtree for a touchdown.  Now THAT was a gutsy call! I was very impressed.  They decided to go for two and Carr found Cooper in the end zone for a successful two-point conversion.  With 1:09 to go, the Raiders led 27-24.

With six seconds to go in the third quarter, the Raiders finally forced the Chargers to punt.  I was wondering if that was ever going to happen.  Fortune smiled on the Raiders as rookie punter Drew Kaser shanked the punt out of bounds.  It only went 16 yards and the Raiders got the ball back at the San Diego 32-yard line.  Richard got the drive off to a good start with an 11-yard run.  Washington ran up the right side for six yards and wide receiver Andre Holmes made a nice catch on the left sideline for a gain of eight and a first down at the seven-yard line.  From the seven, Carr fired a strike that was caught by Cooper for an apparent touchdown.  After a lengthy zebra convention, the Chargers were flagged for pass interference and the ball was moved to the one-yard line.  Olawale capped the drive off with a one-yard touchdown run.  Janikowksi made the point after and with 12:46 to go in the game, the Raiders led 34-24.

Now that they had a ten-point lead, I was really hoping the Raiders could forced another turnover and put this game away.  That didn’t happen.  From the 25, the Chargers went to work.  Passes to Benjamin and Henry moved the ball to the 49.  A pass to Gates and a short run by Watt netted a first down at the Oakland 40-yard line.  Another catch by Benjamin and some more running by Gordon set up a first and goal at the seven.  Two plays later, Rivers tossed a short pass to the left and Gates hauled it in for a touchdown.  Lambo made the point after and the Raiders led 34-31 with 6:21 to go in the game.

All the Raiders needed to do was get some first downs and eat some time off the clock.  But the Chargers had other ideas and they forced the Raiders to punt after just three plays.  Marquette King punted and the Chargers would take over at their 33-yard line.  Passes to Benjamin and Williams moved the Chargers to the Oakland 27-yard line.  From the 27, Rivers found Benjamin for a gain of eight yards.  On third and two, Gordon got the call again and despite what the blind announcers said, he was brought down short of the first down marker.  Lambo came into the game for what looked to be a pretty easy field goal attempt to tie the game.  The snap looked good, but Kaser couldn’t hang on to it and the ball slipped through his hands.  It was recovered at the 35 and with two minutes to go, all the Raiders had to do was get one first down and the game would be over.

But that didn’t happen.  Three plays gained two yards.  With 20 seconds to go, King got off a high 51-yard punt and McCluster returned it to the 21.  With 11 seconds to go, the Chargers needed a miracle.  Rivers completed a pass across the middle to Benjamin and he tried to lateral it back to another receiver.  But the ball rolled out of bounds and just like that, the game was over and the Raiders came away with a 34-31 victory.  That win gave them a 4-1 record and they are tied for first place in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos.  It was another heart-breaker for the Chargers and they fell to 1-4.

For the Chargers, Philip Rivers completed 21 of 30 for 359 yards, four touchdown passes and two interceptions.  Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin combined for 12 receptions and 234 yards.  Williams also had a touchdown.  On the ground, Melvin Gordon gained 69 yards on 16 carries and caught one touchdown pass.  As a team, the Chargers rushed for 72 yards on 19 carries. Defensively, cornerback Casey Hayward led the team in solo tackles with eight.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 25 of 40 for 317 yards, two touchdown passes and one interception.  Amari Cooper and Jalen Richard led the team in receptions with six apiece.  Cooper had the most receiving yards with 138 and a touchdown.  Richard was the leading rusher with 31 yards on eight carries.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 89 yards on 25 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Perry Riley led the team in solo tackles with six and also forced a fumble.  Not bad for a guy they just picked up off of waivers on Tuesday.  Stacy McGee also had a good game with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Well, it certainly wasn’t pretty.  The Raider defense gave up lots of big plays and didn’t put much pressure on Rivers.  But they did force four turnovers.  Also, there was a lot of holding by the Chargers.  But the zebras didn’t seem to notice and they were never flagged for holding.  Speaking of flags, the Raiders were flagged only six times for 36 yards.  That’s a nice improvement from last week.  Up next is a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  They are coming off a bye week and they’ll be ready for the Raiders.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

Road Warriors

The fourth game of the 2016 season had the Oakland Raiders heading east once again.  This time their destination was Baltimore, Maryland to take on the Ravens.  The Raiders were coming off a 17-10 win over the Tennessee Titans and the Ravens were coming off a 19-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The Ravens won the toss and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Justin Tucker kicked off the game with a relatively short kick and return man Jalen Richard returned it to the 29.  Know what happened next?  Absolutely nothing.  Instead of stretching the field, the Raiders opted to run the ball up the middle and throw short passes against the stout Baltimore defense.  The Ravens were having some success running the ball and quarterback Joe Flacco completed some passes that went for big gains.  The problem for the Ravens was that every time they did something right, the zebras would throw a flag and a nice play would be wiped out by a penalty.

With 2:37 to go in the first quarter, punter Sam Koch got off a 47-yard punt that was fielded by Richard at the Oakland 47-yard line.  He started up the right side, made a quick move across the middle and saw nothing but daylight.  He was pushed out of bounds at the Baltimore six-yard line by Koch.  Quarterback Derek Carr and the Raider offense took the field with hope that they could capitalize on that great field position.  Carr took to the air on first down and found wide receiver Seth Roberts open for a touchdown.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-0 with 1:25 to go in the first quarter.

Janikowski sent the ensuing kickoff seven yards deep into the end zone and return man Devin Hester ran it out.  He turned on the speed and ran up the right sideline.  He was finally pushed out of bounds at the Oakland 47 by Janikowski.  On third and three from the 40, Flacco connected with wide receiver Steve Smith across the middle for a gain of 17 and a first down at the 23-yard line.  A five-yard pass to tight end Dennis Pitta and a seven-yard pass to running back Javorius Allen moved the ball to the 11.  They would get as far as the five-yard line and the drive would stop there.  Tucker came into the game and his 24-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 12:51 to go in the second quarter, the Raiders led 7-3.

Both teams punted on their next possessions and with eight minutes remaining, the Raiders took over at their 20.  A four-yard run by running back Latavius Murray and a completion to wide receiver Michael Crabtree moved the Raiders to the 41-yard line.  Two more carries by Murray and completions to wide receiver Amari Cooper and Roberts put the Raiders at the Baltimore 33-yard line.  From the 33, running back DeAndre Washington got loose and was pushed out of bounds at the five-yard line.  From the five, Carr found Crabtree in the end zone for another Raider touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 14-3 with 4:09 to go in the second quarter.

With 1:43 remaining in the first half, the Raiders punted and the Ravens started their next drive at their 12-yard line.  Raider punter Marquette King was having himself a very good game and continuously put the Ravens deep in their own territory.  On third and seven from the 15, Flacco hooked up with wide receiver Breshad Perriman for a gain of 15 and a first down at the 30.  Another catch by Perriman and a 17-yard reception by fullback Kyle Juszczyk gave the Ravens a first down at the Oakland 45-yard line.  Flacco found Smith again for a gain of 20 yards.  But the drive stalled at the 25-yard line.  Tucker came into the game and his 43-yard field goal attempt was good.  At halftime, the Raiders led 14-6.

Neither team could move the ball on their first possessions of the third quarter.  At the 9:40 mark, the Ravens started out at their 28.  Running back Terrance West got a couple of carries and quickly moved the Ravens into Oakland territory.  West got another carry and the ball was knocked loose.  Despite there being several Raiders in the area, the Ravens were able to recover the fumble.  A few more carries by West and completions to tight end Crockett Gillmore put the ball at the 16.  The Ravens continued to give the ball to West and two more carries set the Ravens up with a first and goal from the two.  Three plays gained one yard and on fourth and goal from the one, Flacco dove into the pile and came away with a touchdown.  They decided to go for two and tie the game up.  But cornerback Sean Smith picked off the pass and the attempt was unsuccessful.  With 2:41 to go in the third quarter, the Raiders led 14-12.

After the Raiders went three and out again, the Ravens got the ball back at their 23.  They wouldn’t have it for very long.  On third and six from the 38, linebacker Bruce Irvin finally got to Flacco for a sack and the ball came loose.  It was recovered by defensive end Denico Autry at the 29.  This gave the Raiders good field position and a chance to increase their lead.  Two carries by Washington netted nine yards and on third and one, they tried a pitch to Murray and that didn’t work.  He was thrown for a five-yard loss.  To top that off, guard Gabe Jackson was flagged for unnecessary roughness.   That made it third and 17 from the 36.  Carr hooked up with Cooper and he was brought down just short of the first down marker.  That’s when I said “You better go for it!  No field goal attempt!”  Head coach Jack Del Rio listened to me and the Raiders lined up to go for it.  Carr was calling all kinds of signals and the Ravens jumped offside.  That was a nice gift of five yards and the Raiders kept their drive alive.  On third and eight from the 13, Carr looked for Crabtree again and found him open in the end zone for a touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 21-12 with 11:11 to go in the game.

The Ravens went nowhere on their next possession and Raider linebacker/defensive end Khalil Mack finally got his first sack of the year.  Koch punted and the Raiders took over with eight minutes to go.  I thought one more score would definitely put the Ravens away.  What followed was three plays that aren’t even worth writing about.  King punted again and the Ravens had an opportunity to close the gap with 6:50 to go.  Flacco took the snap from his 48-yard line and threw over the middle for Smith.  He caught it and proceeded to run untouched into the end zone.  That was one hell of a play and it sent the Baltimore faithful into a frenzy.  Tucker made the point after and the Raiders led 21-19 with 6:27 remaining.

Things would get worse for the Raiders.  On second and 18 from their 17-yard line, Washington ran up the middle and fumbled.  The ball was recovered at the 17 by cornerback Tavon Young.  That was exactly what the Ravens needed to take the lead.  Two carries by West and a pass to Juszczyk put the Ravens at the three-yard line.  West would take it in on the next play and wide receiver Mike Wallace caught a pass for a successful two-point conversion.  Wallace would be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and Tucker would be kicking off from the 20-yard line.  With 3:36 to go, the Ravens led 27-21.

Richard returned the kickoff to the 34 and Carr and the Raiders quickly went to work.  Two passes to Crabtree and one to tight end Clive Walford put the Raiders at the Baltimore 23.  This actually had me concerned.  There is such a thing as scoring too fast and I thought the Raiders were going to do that and give the Ravens plenty of time to drive down the field and kick a field goal to win the game.  On second and ten from the 23, Carr floated a pass to the end zone and Crabtree got control of the ball and had both feet in bounds for a touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders went up 28-27 with 2:21 to go in the game.

Hester returned the kickoff to the 21.  West ran up the left side for a gain of 18 and two passes to Smith moved the ball to the 50.  With 1:02 to go, it looked like the Ravens had plenty of time to go in for the kill.  A pass on first down was incomplete.  The Raiders stepped up their pressure on Flacco and his next two passes were incomplete.  On fourth and ten from the 50, I thought they would try to get the ball to Smith across the middle again.  The ball was thrown across the middle intended for wide receiver Kamar Aiken.  Safety Reggie Nelson broke it up and that sealed the deal.  Carr took a knee and the Raiders left Baltimore with a 28-27 victory.  That win improved the Raiders to 3-1 and the loss dropped the Ravens to 3-1.  What’s really amazing is the Raiders are 3-0 on the road.  The last time they started out with a perfect road record was 2002.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 25 of 35 for 199 yards and four touchdown passes.  Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with seven and receiving yards with 88 and three touchdowns.  There wasn’t much room to run and as a team, the Raiders rushed for only 62 yards on 19 carries.  DeAndre Washington was the leading rusher with 30 yards on five carries.  Defensively, rookie linebacker Cory James had himself a great day with 12 solo tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.  One thing that still needs to be cleaned up is the penalties.  The Raiders were flagged 12 times for 93 yards.  The Ravens weren’t much better as they racked up ten penalties for 105 yards.

For the Ravens, Joe Flacco completed 32 of 52 for 298 yards and one touchdown pass.  Steve Smith led the team in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 111 and a touchdown.  Unlike the Raiders, the Ravens had lots of room to run and racked up 130 yards on 26 carries.  Terrance West was the leading rusher with 113 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown.  Defensively, linebacker C.J. Mosley led the team in solo tackles with seven.

Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers are coming off a horrible loss in which they blew a 13-point lead and lost 35-34 to the New Orleans Saints.  Seeing as the Oakland Athletics didn’t qualify for the post season, the dirt infield will be gone.  That’s great news because I hate that damn infield.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

Raiders Beat Titans 17-10

The Oakland Raiders headed east again and this time their destination was Nashville, Tennessee to take on the Titans.  The Raiders were coming off a 35-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons and the Titans were coming off a 16-15 win over the Detroit Lions.  The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent the opening kickoff deep into the end zone and the Titans would start at their 25-yard line.  Quarterback Marcus Mariota took to the air on first down and completed a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Rishard Matthews.  Two carries by running back DeMarco Murray put the Titans in Raider territory.  On third and six from the 37, Mariota completed a 20-yard pass to tight end Jace Amaro.  It looked like the Titans were going to cruise into the end zone on  their first drive of the game.  But an incomplete pass, a short run by Murray and a false start penalty put them in a third and 14 situation.  Mariota completed a pass to Murray across the middle but he was brought down short of the first down marker.  Kicker Ryan Succop came into the game for a 34-yard field goal attempt.  The kick was good and the Titans led 3-0 with 9:50 to go in the first quarter.

Things would start out nicely for the Raiders as the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds.  That put them at their 40 and quarterback Derek Carr completed a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper on first down.  The next two passes were incomplete.  On third and ten, Carr tossed a short pass to running back Jalen Richard that went for a gain of 13 yards and a first down at the 22.  Running back Latavius Murray capped off the drive with a nice 22-yard touchdown run.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-3 with 8:19 to go in the first quarter.

That’s when the punting started.  Each team punted on their next two possessions.  I was pretty impressed by how the Raider defense was playing.  After being gashed by Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, they were actually putting some pressure on Mariota and shutting down the running game.  With 10:52 remaining in the second quarter, the Titans got the ball back at their 16.  On third and 13 from the 13, Mariota scrambled up the middle.  He was hit by linebacker Bruce Irvin and the ball came loose.  Safety Reggie Nelson recovered the fumble and that set the Raiders up at the Tennessee 24-yard line.  Carr took the snap and went deep down the middle for tight end Clive Walford.  He hauled in the pass for a very quick Raider touchdown.  Wait a minute.  There was a flag on the play.  Left tackle Donald Penn was flagged for holding and that wiped out the touchdown.  That moved the Raiders back to the 34 and they looked genuinely demoralized.  The next three plays gained one yard and they wheeled out the Polish Cannon for a 52-yard field goal attempt.  The kick was good and that made Janikowski the all time leader in field goals made from 50 yards or more.  The Raiders led 10-3 with 8:13 to go in the second quarter.

After the Titans punted again, the Raiders took over at their nine-yard line with 4:17 to go in the first half.  A false start penalty moved the ball back five yards.  But completions to wide receivers Andre Holmes, Seth Roberts and Cooper got them back on the right track.  On second and eight from the 32, running back DeAndre Washington got loose for a gain of 30 and was brought down at the Tennessee 38-yard line.  Two more carries by Washington gained 19 yards.  From the 19, Carr tossed a pass to the left side for Roberts.  He caught it, shook off a couple of defenders and made it to the end zone for a touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 17-3 with 33 seconds to go in the first half.

With time running out, the Titans took over at their 25.  They still had two timeouts and a couple of passes may have gotten them in field goal range.  Mariota scrambled for eight yards and the Titan fans were screaming for them to call a timeout.  The clock kept running and on second down, a pass intended for Matthews was incomplete.  With eight seconds to go, Mariota looked for Matthews again and the pass was picked off by Nelson.  Instead of going down, Nelson weaved his way up the field and ran up the left sideline.  It appeared he stepped out of bounds with three seconds left.  However, replay showed that the clock operator was asleep at the wheel when the ball was snapped.  The clock didn’t start running until Mariota threw the ball.  Therefore, there would be no last second field goal attempt for the Raiders and the first half ended with the Raiders leading 17-3.

On their first possession of the second half, the Raiders moved into Tennessee territory but ended up punting.  If their receivers knew how to hang on to the ball, that drive may have ended with a touchdown.  Marquette King punted and put the Titans at their seven-yard line.  Four straight carries by Murray and a pass to Amaro quickly put the Titans at the Oakland 19-yard line.  Two plays later, Murray ran up the right side and dove into the corner of the end zone.  Succop made the point after and the Raiders led 17-10 with 5:51 to go in the third quarter.

After that, both teams commenced with more punts.  The Titans got the ball back with 1:25 to go in the third quarter.  From their ten-yard line, running back Derrick Henry got loose for a gain of 13 yards.  Two more carries by Murray netted a first down at the 33.  An offside penalty on the Raiders gave them five more yards.  Despite the fact they were moving the ball well on the ground, the Titans decided to pass on the next play.  Big mistake.  The pass intended for Matthews was intercepted by cornerback Sean Smith at the Oakland 48-yard line.

Before the next drive started, the announcers were singing high praise for Carr and saying how a touchdown here would be huge and that he hadn’t thrown a pick all year.  That is what is known as the kiss of death.  Three plays into the drive, Carr looked for wide receiver Michael Crabtree on the left side and the pass was picked off by linebacker Avery Williamson.  It looked like there was some contact between Crabtree and cornerback Jason McCourty before the ball got there.  But the zebras kept their flags in their pockets.

The Titans would end up punting the ball away and the Raiders started their next drive at their 27-yard line.  An illegal formation penalty moved them back five yards.  A 31-yard pass to Crabtree moved them down to the Tennessee 46-yard line.  Wide receiver Johnny Holton ran up the left side for two yards.  That was followed by a three-yard run by Richard.  On third and five from the 41, the Raiders inserted five receivers into the game.  Carr took the snap and fired a strike to Cooper.  He dropped it.  There was nothing wrong with the pass.  It was right on the money and a first round draft pick should have no problem catching it.  But for whatever reason, Cooper couldn’t hang on.  If he would have made that catch, it would have gone for a huge gain.  With his speed, he may have reached the end zone.  But since he didn’t catch it, the Raiders were forced to punt again.

The Titans still couldn’t get the ball rolling and punted the ball right back to the Raiders.  I kept thinking if they could just score one more time they could put the game away.  They took over at their 26-yard line and some good running by Richard and another catch by Crabtree moved them to the 49.  But three straight running plays didn’t gain enough yardage for a first down.  With two minutes to go, King punted and it went into the end zone.

Then the Raiders changed everything around.  Instead of using an aggressive plan of attack, they went into their prevent defense.  I cannot think of a defensive scheme I despise more than the prevent.  All of a sudden, Mariota had all kinds of time to find receivers and they were wide open.  The drive started with a ten-yard pass to Matthews. Then a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Harry Douglas.  Then a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Tajae Sharpe.  This was killing me.  Every receiver was wide open.  Were there any defensive backs on the field?  On first down from the Oakland 22, Mariota went deep over the middle for Sharpe and unlike Amari Cooper, he caught the pass for a gain of 19.  He was dragged down at the three-yard line.

But for some bizarre reason, left tackle Taylor Lewan jumped on top of the pile after the play was over.  That got the flags flying and the Titans were penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.  That moved them back to the 18.  The next two plays gained five yards and on third and five, Mariota looked for wide receiver Andre Johnson in the end zone.  He was wide open and easily made the catch.  Wait a minute!  There are more zebra droppings on the field!  Johnson was flagged for offensive pass interference and that moved them back to the 23-yard line.  An 11-yard pass to Murray set up a fourth and four with 12 seconds to go.  Mariota took the snap and looked for Douglas in the end zone.  There was some contact and Douglas fell to the ground in hope of seeing a flag.  No flag was thrown and the Raiders left Nashville with a 17-10 victory.  The win gave the Raiders a 2-1 record and the Titans fell to 1-2.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 21 of 35 for 249 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Michael Crabtree led the team in catches with eight and receiving yards with 102.  DeAndre Washington was the leading rusher with 57 yards on six carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 123 yards on 25 carries.  Defensively, rookie safety Karl Joseph and rookie linebacker Cory James led the team in solo tackles with six apiece.  Reggie Nelson also had a good game with four tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.

For the Titans, Marcus Mariota completed 17 of 33 for 214 yards, two interceptions and one lost fumble.  DeMarco Murray led the team in receptions with five and Jace Amaro had the most receiving yards with 59.  Murray also had a good day carrying the ball and finished the game with 114 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown.  As a team, the Titans rushed for 181 yards on 29 carries.  Defensively, Avery Williamson and cornerback Perrish Cox tied for the lead in solo tackles with four apiece.  Williamson also had an interception.

It was a case of missed opportunities for the Raiders.  Lots of dropped passes ended promising drives.  They didn’t score a point in the second half and left it up to their defense to get the win.  That’s the complete opposite of what happened in the first two games of the season.  But a win is a win and they improved their record on the road to 2-0.  They go back on the road next week to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.  They came away with a hard fought 19-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and they are 3-0 this year.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy