April 24, 2017

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

Setting All The Wrong Records

Up next for the Oakland Raiders was a visit from the Atlanta Falcons.  The Falcons were coming off a 31-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Raiders were coming off a 35-34 win over the New Orleans Saints.  In that game, they were picked apart by Drew Brees.  I was hoping they could make some adjustments on the defensive side of the ball for this game.  You don’t always get what you hope for.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent the opening kickoff deep and the Falcons began at their 25-yard line.  They managed to move the ball to the Oakland 35-yard line and instead of trying a field goal, they opted to punt.  As a matter of fact, there was a lot of punting in the first quarter as both offenses couldn’t find the end zone.

With 1:53 to go in the first quarter, the Falcons found themselves at their nine-yard line.  But some carries by running back Devonta Freeman quickly got them moving.  A 15-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to tight end Jacob Tamme got the Falcons near midfield.  Completions to wide receivers Austin Hooper and Aldrick Robinson put the ball at the Oakland 17-yard line.  The drive would stall at the two and kicker Matt Bryant had no problem making a 21-yard field goal.  With 12 minutes to go in the second quarter, the Falcons led 3-0.

The Raiders would be starting their next drive from their nine-yard line.  A ten-yard pass from quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Michael Crabtree and a five-yard scramble by Carr moved the ball to the 24.  Completions to wide receivers Seth Roberts and Amari Cooper put the Raiders in Atlanta territory.  After that deep pass to Cooper, Carr decided to go deep again and he looked for Crabtree in the end zone.  But the pass was picked off.  Not so fast.  Cornerback Robert Alford was flagged for pass interference and the ball was placed at the one-yard line.  Running back Latavius Murray capped the drive off with a one-yard touchdown run.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-3 with 7:51 to go in the first half.

The Falcons took over at their 19 and Ryan started to pick the Raiders apart.  Most of the completions were across the middle and the Raiders simply had no answer for it.  Short passes were going for long gains and the Falcons moved the ball down-field with ease.  Three carries by Freeman netted a first down at the Oakland 21-yard line.  From the 21, wide receiver Julio Jones burned cornerback Sean Smith for a touchdown.  Bryant made the point after and the Falcons led 10-7 with 4:46 to go in the first half.

The Raiders punted on their next possession and Marquette King got off another beauty.  It was fielded at the Atlanta nine yard-line by return man Eric Weems and he took it up the left side.  It looked like he was going to take it all the way back but King literally dragged him down at the 18.  He was flagged for a horse collar tackle and the Falcons had the ball at the Oakland nine-yard line.  But the Raider defense rose up this time and three plays netted seven yards.  Bryant came into the game again and his 20-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 55 seconds to go, the Falcons led 13-7.

With time running out, the Raiders moved the ball down to the Atlanta 40-yard line with hopes that Janikowksi could make a 58-yard field goal before the half ended.  The kick would be from that stupid infield dirt and it ended up being short and wide left.  At halftime, the Falcons maintained their 13-7 lead.

The Raiders took over at their 19-yard line to start the second half.  On first down, Carr connected with Crabtree for a ten-yard gain.  A couple of carries by  Murray gained seven yards and on third down, Carr looked for Roberts and the pass fell incomplete.  King came on to punt.  He blasted the punt 64 yards into the end zone.  But Raider head coach Jack Del Rio threw his red flag and challenged that the Falcons had 12 men on the field.  Replay showed that was the case and that ended up being a five-yard penalty and enough to give the Raiders a first down.  An end around by rookie wide receiver Johnny Holton gained 16 yards.  A false start moved them back five yards, but Carr found tight end Lee Smith for a gain of 16 yards.  Murray ran up the left side and was brought down at the Atlanta 31-yard line.  From there, Carr looked for tight end Clive Walford and found him for an easy touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 14-13 with 11:17 to go in the third quarter.

This is where the Raider defense totally collapsed.  On second and eight from the 27, Ryan went deep for Hooper and he hauled in the pass for a gain of 44.  That was followed by an 18-yard run by Freeman.  From the 11, Ryan threw for Tamme in the end zone and the pass was picked off by cornerback David Amerson.  Out of all 11 players on the Raider defense, Amerson seems to be the only one who knows what he is doing.  The Raiders dodged a bullet there.  But a lot more bullets would be coming their way as the game progressed.

A nice 28-yard run by rookie running back Jalen Richard was called back due to a holding penalty and that really took the wind out of the Raider’s sails on their next possession.  King punted and the Falcons regained possession at their 15-yard line.  A 24-yard pass to running back Tevin Coleman and a 34-yard pass to Hooper moved the ball to the Oakland 27.  From there, Ryan hooked up with wide receiver Taylor Gabriel for a gain of nine.  Two plays later, Ryan found Tamme in the middle of the end zone for a touchdown.  The Falcons lined up to go for two and Ryan ran it up right up the middle for an easy score.  That put them up 21-14 with 3:42 to go in the third quarter.

Another touch-back meant the Raiders would be starting at their 25-yard line.  Carries by Murray and rookie running back DeAndre Washington had the Raiders looking good.  Two completions to Walford and an 11-yard run by fullback Jamize Olawale moved them to the Atlanta 25-yard line.  Two more carries by Murray set up a first and goal from the two.  Well, it took them four plays but on fourth and goal from the two, Carr had plenty of time to find a receiver and he found Crabtree in the end zone for a touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the score was tied 21-21 with 12 minutes to go in the game.

It was time for the Raider defense to rise up and give the ball back to the offense.  No. I don’t see that happening.  On second and seven from the 45, Ryan went deep for Jones and he hauled it in for a gain of 48 yards.  Despite the fact that there were two defenders in position, Jones was still able to make the play.  He seemed pretty proud of himself after that play and spiked the ball.  That got him a five-yard penalty for a delay of game.  Three plays later, Ryan fired a pass down the middle.  It was deflected high in the air and I was really hoping for an interception.  Instead, the ball was picked out of the air by wide receiver Justin Hardy for a touchdown.  I couldn’t believe what I just saw.  Bryant made the point after and the Falcons led 28-21 with 9:29 to go in the game.

On third and seven from the 28, the Raiders received some help from the zebras.  A pass intended for Cooper was incomplete.  But a  pass interference penalty on the Falcons gave the Raiders a first down at the 41.  On third and two, Carr ran to the left and launched a ball to Cooper.  He caught it, made some moves and cruised into the end zone for what appeared to be a touchdown.  No.  That is incorrect.  Cooper went out of bounds, came back in and made the catch.  You can’t do that.  Even though Cooper said he was pushed out of bounds, the call stood and that set up a fourth and two at the 49.  Del Rio decided to go for it and Richard ran up the middle.  He was stopped short and the Falcons regained possession at the 50.  Why wasn’t the ball given to Murray or Olawale?  Richard would not have been my choice for that play.  That was an absolute killer for the Raiders.

The Falcons knew what they had to do now.  That was attack the middle.  Every single play they ran on this drive was aimed at the middle of the field.  Freeman ran up the middle, Ryan tossed short passes to his receivers down the middle and the drive was capped off by a 13-yard run by Coleman UP THE DAMN MIDDLE! He wasn’t even touched as he crossed the goal line. Bryant made the point after and the Falcons led 35-21 with 4:35 remaining.

The Falcons went into a zone defense and just like what happened to the Raiders on the previous drive, Carr found all kinds of room in the middle of the field.  Passes to Murray, Roberts and Olawale set up a first and goal at the six-yard line.  From there, Carr found wide receiver Andre Holmes for a touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Falcons led 35-28 with 2:12 remaining.

The Raiders had all three timeouts and the two minute warning to work with.  But the defense had to stop the Falcons.  On third and three from the 20, Ryan took the snap, laughed at the Raiders and their futile attempt to get to him and calmly tossed a short pass across the middle to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu for a first down.  The Raiders did manage to get the ball back for one final play.  But it went nowhere and the Falcons left Oakland with a 35-28 win.

For the Falcons, Matt Ryan completed 26 of 34 for 396 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.  Julio Jones led all receivers in catches with five and yards with 106 and a touchdown.  On the ground, Devonta Freeman led the way with 93 yards on 17 carries.  As a team, the Falcons rushed for 139 yards on 29 carries.  Defensively, safety Kemal Ishmael led the team in solo tackles with 13.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 34 of 45 for 299 yards and three touchdowns.  He spread the ball around to 11 different receivers.  Clive Walford and Latavius Murray tied for the lead in catches with six apiece.  Amari Cooper led the team in receiving yards with 71.  Murray led the team in rushing with 57 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 155 yards on 25 carries.  Safety Reggie Nelson led the team in solo tackles with ten.

Well, that game thoroughly disgusted me.  It reminded me of a game several years ago.  The Raiders were playing the Baltimore Ravens and every single time they had big gains, the ball was thrown across the middle.  The Raiders lost that game 55-20.  It wasn’t like the Falcons were doing anything fancy.  They sent their receivers on crossing routes and for whatever reason, the defense couldn’t stop them.  Middle linebacker Ben Heeney was benched and it wouldn’t really bother me if he gets relegated to special teams.  He was TOTALLY lost out there.

The Raiders allowed 528 yards of offense.  They are the first team since the 1967 Falcons to allow at least 500 yards in their first two games of the season.  They have given up 69 points and looked horrible.  Where’s the blitzing?  It looks like a 4-3 vanilla defense that doesn’t give a damn.  Linebacker Bruce Irvin was quoted after the game and he said  “This defense doesn’t communicate.  We’re not on the same page.”  Well, you better get on the same page or this season is going to be another train wreck.

What is really discouraging is that the offense is playing very well.  Carr has had all day to find his receivers, the running backs look good and they are putting up solid numbers.  But the defense continually lets the other team stay in the game because they can’t stop them.  Could it be they miss the leadership of Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck?  Whatever the problem is, it needs to be fixed before they head to Nashville next week to play the Tennessee Titans.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

No Guts, No Glory

The first game on the schedule for the Oakland Raiders was a trip to Louisiana to take on the New Orleans Saints.  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 Saints started out at their 25-yard line.  Quarterback Drew Brees led his offense onto the field and took to the air right away. His first two passes were incomplete and on third down, linebacker Bruce Irvin sacked Brees for a loss of four yards. The ball came loose and was recovered by defensive end Jihad Ward at the 21-yard line.  After running back Latavius Murray ran up the middle for a gain of one yard, a yellow flag appeared.  Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was flagged for holding and that moved the Raiders back ten yards.  Instead of going for the jugular and trying to get a touchdown, the next three plays consisted of another run up the middle and two short passes from quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Amari Cooper.  On fourth and 18 from the 29, Janikowksi came on and his 47-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 12:23 to go in the first quarter, the Raiders led 3-0.

Return man Marcus Murphy was brought down at the 11-yard line on the ensuing kickoff and the Saints started their next drive with bad field position.  Brees connected with running back Mark Ingram for a gain of nine and fullback John Kuhn ran up the middle for a first down at the at the 22-yard line.  From the 22, Ingram got loose for a gain of 12 and that was followed by a 12-yard completion to wide receiver Willie Snead.  Completions to Snead and Ingram moved the Saints to the Oakland 13-yard line.  An incomplete pass and a short run by Kuhn made it third and 11.  Brees took the snap and was flushed out of the pocket.  He tossed the ball to the right side and there was no one there.  This drew a flag for intentional grounding and that moved them back ten yards.  Rookie kicker Wil Lutz came on and his 42-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 6:31 to go in the first quarter, the score was knotted 3-3.

The Raiders took over at their nine-yard line because return man Taiwan Jones looked more like a dancer than a return man on the kickoff.  Just put your head down and run straight, Jones!  A four-yard run by Murray and passes to Cooper and rookie Jalen Richard moved the ball to the 20.  From the 20, Carr found Cooper across the middle for a gain of 35 and a first down at the New Orleans 45-yard line.  Carr went deep to Cooper again on the next play and he was dragged down at the six-yard line.  Murray finished the drive with a run up the middle for a touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 10-3 with 1:43 to go in the first quarter.

The Saints took over at their 25 and some good running by Ingram and running back Tim Hightower had them moving in the right direction.  On second and five from the 42, Brees went deep for Snead and he caught if for a gain of 49 yards and a first down at the Oakland nine-yard line.  Two passes to wide receiver Brandon Cooks put the Saints at the one-yard line.  On fourth down, the Saints decided to go for it.  Brees had all the time he needed and he found Snead in the end zone.  Linebacker Malcolm Smith basically let Snead run right by him and he made the catch for an easy touchdown.  Lutz made the extra point and the game was tied 10-10 with 12 minutes to go in the second quarter.

The Raiders punted on their next possession and the Saints started their next drive from the 20.  Ingram got some more carries and Brees had all day to find an open receiver as the Raider pass rush was non-existent.  Two passes to wide receiver Michael Thomas quickly moved the Saints to midfield.  Brees found Cooks again for a gain of 15 yards.  Another pass to Thomas put the ball at the 15-yard line.  From there, Brees fired a pass to the end zone that was hauled in for a touchdown by Cooks.  Lutz made the point after and the Saints led 17-10 with 4:55 to go in the first half.

Neither team did much with the ball for the remainder of the half and the score remained 17-10.  That trend would continue into the second half as both offenses had trouble moving the ball.  The penalties were piling up for the Raiders too.  But that’s nothing new.  Also, right tackle Menelik Watson went down with a groin injury.  He was replaced by Matt McCants.  After a punt by Marquette King pinned the Saints at their two-yard line, I thought if the Raiders could force a three and out here, they would get good field position.  Brees had other ideas.  He launched a deep ball up the left sideline that was caught in stride by Cooks for a 98-yard touchdown.  Cooks simply blew by cornerback Sean Smith and cruised into the end zone.  Lutz made the point after and the Saints led 24-10 with 7:52 to go in the third quarter.

The Raiders took over at their 25 and another false start penalty moved them back five yards.  But a 13-yard pass to Murray and some good running by Murray got them moving.  On second and five from the 41, Carr hooked up with Crabtree for a gain of nine and a first down at the 50.  That was followed by a 16-yard pass to Jones and another completion to Crabtree.  Then another injury occurred. McCants went down and did not return.  With Austin Howard inactive, the Raiders  had to do some serious shuffling on their offensive line because they were out of right tackles.  The drive stalled at the 13-yard line and Janikowksi had no problem making his 31-yard field goal attempt.  With 3:11 to go in the third quarter, the Saints led 24-13.

The Saints took over at their 24-yard line and Brees continued to assault the Oakland secondary.  Completions to Cooks, Thomas and Snead put the ball at the Oakland 38-yard line.  On third and five from the 33, Brees went deep for tight end Coby Fleener.  It was incomplete and the Saints would have to settle for a 50-yard field goal attempt.  It was wide left and the Raiders took over at their 40-yard line.  Carr found Cooper for a gain of eight yards on first down.  No he didn’t.  That play didn’t count due to another freaking penalty.  But on first and 20 from the 30, Carr looked for Cooper again and he made the catch for a gain of 43 yards.  From the New Orleans 27 yard line,  Carr went deep across the middle and found Crabtree for a gain of 25 yards.  Fullback Jamize Olawale capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.  They decided to go for two and the attempt was no good.  With 11:53 to go in the game, the Saints led 24-19.

Murphy returned the kickoff to the 29 and Brees went deep again on first down.  The pass was incomplete.  But another yellow flag made an appearance.  This time, Malcolm Smith was flagged for interference.  It ended up being a 23-yard penalty.  A short pass to Fleener gained six yards and the zebras awarded the Saints another gift on the next play as cornerback D.J. Hayden was flagged for pass interference.  That didn’t look like interference to me.  Apparently Hayden shared my opinion because he was going out of his mind.  That put the ball at the Oakland 25 yard-line.  Ingram broke off a 17-yard run to set up a first and goal from the eight.  But the drive would stall at the two-yard line.  Lutz came on for a 20-yard field goal attempt.  It was partially blocked, but the ball sneaked over the crossbar and the kick was good.  That put the Saints up 27-19 with 8:42 to go in the game.

On second and ten from the 25, undrafted rookie running back Jalen Richard took the hand-off and ran straight up the middle.  He didn’t stop until he reached the end zone.  It was truly a beautiful run.  Carr found Cooper in the front corner of the end zone for a successful two-point conversion.  That was the spark the Raiders needed and the score was tied at 27 with 8:26 remaining in the game.

The Saints started out at their 16 and received some more help from their friends in striped shirts.  Hayden was flagged again for pass interference.  That moved the ball to the 27.  A run by Ingram gained four yards.  Then Brees went deep for Snead down the middle.  He made the catch, was hit and the ball came loose.  While the Raider defensive backs were falling all over each other, Thomas alertly recovered the ball at the 12 and was dragged down at the two-yard line.  From the two, Brees tossed a short pass to the left side that was caught by running back Travaris Cadet for a touchdown.  Lutz made the point after and the Saints led 34-27 with six minutes remaining in the game.

The Raiders went to work from their 25 and Murray ran up the left side for a gain of ten yards.  From the 35, Carr hooked up with tight end Clive Walford for a gain of 18 yards and a first down at the New Orleans 47.  Richard ran up the left side for a gain of eight on first down.  But Murray was thrown for a loss of two on second down.  On third down, Carr looked for Cooper and the pass was incomplete.  But the zebras decided to make things interesting and they flagged the Saints for defensive holding.  That gave the Raiders a first down at the 36.  Richard gained one yard on first down.  On second down, Carr was forced out of the pocket and threw up a prayer for Crabtree.  He caught the ball, made a few nifty moves and got a first down at the 23.  On second and ten from the 23, Carr fired a pass that hit wide receiver Seth Roberts right in the hands.  He seemed more concerned about the two Saints that were converging on him and he dropped the ball.  Carr scrambled for five yards on third down and that set up a highly crucial fourth and five with 1:41 remaining.

Carr threw to the right side for Richard and the pass was incomplete.  But a flag was thrown and linebacker Craig Robertson was penalized for pass interference.  That was the break the Raiders needed and on second and seven from the ten, Carr looked for Roberts across the middle.  This time he caught the ball, shook off two defenders and made it to the end zone.  I expected to see Janikowski trot onto the field for an extra point attempt.  That didn’t happen.  The offense remained on the field as head coach Jack Del Rio opted to go for two and take the lead.  That’s a gutsy call and I was going out of my mind!  Carr took the snap and threw a jump ball for Crabtree.  He caught it for a successful two-point conversion.  After he made the catch, he threw the ball and appeared to make some kind of gesture with his hand.  That drew another flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Despite kicking off from the 20, Janikowski still managed a good kickoff.  Murphy fielded the ball at his five-yard line and returned it to the 23.

With 40 seconds to go, Brees completed a pass to Snead across the middle for a gain of 21 yards.  Brees spiked the ball to stop the clock.  With 23 seconds to go, Snead was the target again and caught another pass across the middle for a gain of 13 yards and a first down at the Oakland 43-yard line.  Brees spiked the ball with nine seconds remaining.  From the 43, he tried to hook up with Fleener but the pass was incomplete.  With five seconds to go, Lutz took the field for a 61-yard field goal attempt.  I thought there was no way he could make it.  No chance.  No way.  He can’t make it.  Still, I held my breath as the play started.  The snap was good, the hold was good and Lutz hit a high kick that sailed wide left.  It was no good and the Raiders came away with a 35-34 win.  It was the first time they won an opening game on the road since 2011.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 24 of 38 for 319 yards and one touchdown.  Amari Cooper led the team in receptions with six and receiving yards with 137.  Jalen Richard was the leading rusher with 84 yards on three carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 167 yards on 26 carries.  Defensively, there really isn’t much to say.  There was hardly any pass rush and Brees had all day to find his receivers.  They really need to work on getting to the quarterback and cut down on the penalties.  They were flagged 14 times for 141 yards.  Safety Reggie Nelson led the team in solo tackles with seven.

For the Saints, Drew Brees completed 28 of 42 for 423 yards and four touchdowns.  Willie Snead and Brandon Cooks combined for 15 receptions for 315 yards and three touchdowns.  Mark Ingram was the leading rusher with  58 yards on 12 carries.  All totaled, the Saints rushed for 88 yards on 22 carries.  Defensively, Craig Robertson led the team in solo tackles with eight.  He also had two tackles for a loss.

Well, it wasn’t pretty.  With the injuries to Watson and McCants, the Raiders really had to do some shuffling on their offensive line.  But it all worked out in the end and all that matters is the final score.  Up next for the Raiders is the home opener against the Atlanta Falcons.  The Falcons had a rough opening game and lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

Super Bowl 50

On February 7, 2016, the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos met in Santa Clara, California for Super Bowl 50.  After an uneventful two weeks of hype, Carolina kicker Graham Gano kicked the game off and the Super Bowl was finally underway.  Return man Andre Caldwell ran it back to the 20-yard line.  Quarterback Peyton Manning led his offense on to the field and took to the air immediately.  On first down, Manning connected with tight end Owen Daniels for a gain of 18 yards.   That was followed by a six-yard pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and a 22-yard pass to Caldwell.  That put the ball at the Carolina 34-yard line.  Two carries by running back C.J. Anderson gained 20 yards and the Broncos were knocking on the door.  But the Panthers finally realized they were supposed to stop the Broncos and they did just that.  The next three plays gained minus two yards.  Kicker Brandon McManus made his 34-yard field goal attempt.  With 10:43 to go in the first quarter, the Broncos led 3-0.

The Panthers took over at their 19-yard line and they didn’t get off to a good start.  On third and eight, quarterback Cam Newton completed a pass to tight end Greg Olsen and he was dragged down just short of the first down marker.  That forced the Panthers to punt.  Three plays later, the Broncos punted the ball right back to the Panthers.  They took over at their 15-yard line and on first down, Newton fired a pass down the middle for wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery.  He did quite a juggling act and it looked like a catch.  But the zebras said it was incomplete.  Carolina head coach Ron Rivera challenged the play and that didn’t do any good.  The replay official ruled it was incomplete.  Yeah.  Whatever.  Two plays later, linebacker Von Miller got loose and sacked Newton.  He fumbled and the ball was recovered in the end zone by defensive end Malik Jackson for a touchdown.  McManus made the point after and the Broncos led 10-0 with 6:27 to go in the first quarter.

The Panthers moved the ball a little better on their next possession but Nortman ended up punting again.  It was fair caught at the 13-yard line by return man Jordan Norwood.  On third and three from the 20, linebacker Luke Kuechly blitzed straight up the middle and sacked Manning for a loss of 12 yards.  Colquitt punted and it looked like the Panthers would get decent field position.  But an illegal block above the waist penalty moved them back to their 27-yard line.  On first down they tried to run Stewart up the middle again and he went nowhere.  Maybe try running him off tackle?  Every time he ran up the middle it was like he was running into a brick wall.  On second down, Newton hooked up with wide receiver Corey Brown for a gain of 20 yards.  A couple of scrambles by Newton and a completion to Olsen moved the Panthers to the Denver 15.  From there, Newton completed another pass to Brown.  As he headed for the end zone, he was caught by cornerback Aqib Talib.  Talib got a hold of Brown’s facemask and threw him out of bounds at the one-yard line.  Stewart dove over the pile on the next play for a touchdown.  Gano made the point after and the Broncos led 10-7 with 11:25 to go in the second quarter.

The Broncos quickly punted on their next possession.  That gave the Panthers the ball with good field position at their 49-yard line.  But they couldn’t take advantage of it.  The play calling was horrible and they went three and out again.  Nortman got off a short punt that went only 28 yards.  Norwood fielded it at the 25 and returned it 61 yards to the Carolina 14-yard line.  That was the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.  Three carries by Anderson gained nine yards and Denver head coach Gary Kubiak decided to go for it.  Anderson attained the first down, but the Broncos were flagged for holding.  That moved them back ten yards and McManus came on again for another field goal attempt.  The 33-yard attempt was good and the Broncos led 13-7 with seven minutes to go in the first half.

Carolina took over at their 20 and on second and ten, Newton scrambled up the left side for 14 yards.  Tack on an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Broncos and the Panthers were at midfield.  That’s when fullback Mike Tolbert really screwed things up.  Tolbert ran up the right side for a gain of 11, but he fumbled and the Broncos recovered it at the 39-yard line.  On second and nine from the 40, Anderson got loose for a gain of 34 yards.  He was pushed out of bounds at the Carolina 26-yard line.  Three plays later, Manning looked for Sanders and the pass was picked off by defensive end Kony Ealy at the 20.  He returned it to the 39 and the Panthers had another shot to put some points on the board before halftime.  That didn’t happen.  Three plays netted zero yards and they punted again.  As a matter of fact, neither offense did much in the remaining three minutes and at halftime the Broncos led 13-7.

The Panthers started their first drive of the second half from their 20-yard line.  After the obligatory run up the middle for no gain by Stewart, Newton connected with wide receiver Ted Ginn for a gain of 45 yards.  That was followed by a ten-yard run by running back Fozzy Whittaker.  However, the Panthers were flagged for a personal foul after the play and that moved them back to the 40.  Newton and Ginn hooked up again and the play was good for a gain of 15 and a first down at the 25.  After that, they went nowhere.  Top that off with a missed field by Gano and you have the Panthers coming up empty once again.  The fun-loving Panthers were having no fun at all.

With 10:48 to go in the third quarter, the Broncos took over at their 34-yard line.  Manning went deep for Sanders on first down and the play went for 25 yards.  Another completion to Sanders put the ball at the Carolina 17.  But the drive would come to an end at the 12-yard line.  McManus came on again and his 30-yard field goal attempt was good.  With 8:18 to go in the third quarter, the Broncos led 16-7.

The Panthers started at their 20 again and instead of running Stewart up the middle on first down, Newton went deep down the middle for Brown.  He hauled in the pass for a gain of 42 yards and a first down at the Denver 38-yard line.  A short pass to Ginn and a carry by Stewart netted another first down at the 28.  From the 28, Newton looked for Ginn down the middle and the pass was picked off by safety T.J. Ward.  As he was running it back, the ball came loose.  But linebacker Danny Trevathan recovered it and the Broncos retained possession at their seven-yard line.  Aside from a 13-yard run by Anderson, the Broncos didn’t do much with the ball and quickly punted.

The Bronco defense continued to hound Newton.  He had no time to find a receiver and when he tried to scramble he rarely got very far.  To say he was frustrated is a large understatement.  Nortman punted again and the Broncos took over at their 32-yard line.  From the 32, Manning completed another pass to Sanders that was good for a 16-yard gain.  An unsportsmanlike penalty was called on the Panthers and that moved the ball to the Carolina 37.  On first down, Manning was sacked for a loss of five by defensive end Charles Johnson.  Two plays later, Ealy got to Manning for another sack.  The ball came loose and Ealy recovered it at the 50-yard line.

So the Panther defense gave their offense yet another chance to capitalize.  Could they do it this time?  This possession got off to a good start as Newton found rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess for a gain of 16 yards.  Then stupidity found its way into the Carolina huddle again.  Despite having very little success running the ball, they tried to run Stewart and Tolbert up the middle again.  Add a false start on left tackle Michael Oher and what you have is an offense going nowhere.  But they were in field goal range and Gano was able to make a 39-yard field goal attempt.  With 10:16 to go in the game, the Broncos led 16-10.

The Panther defense continued to play well and forced the Broncos to punt again.  But the Bronco defense was playing just as well.  With 4:51 to go, the Panthers had one more chance to put a drive together and take the lead.  Think they might throw here?  How about a read option play?  Nope.  They handed the ball to Tolbert and he gained one yard.  That was followed by an incomplete pass intended for Funchess.  On third and nine, the Broncos brought the pressure again and Miller sacked Newton.  The ball came loose and Newton had an opportunity to recover it, but he didn’t even try.  The ball was recovered by Ward at the nine-yard line and returned to the four.

This was just what the Broncos needed.  A touchdown here would seal the deal and the Broncos would be champions.  Anderson was thrown for a loss of two yards on first down.  He managed to get two yards on second down and that set up a third and goal from the four.  Manning looked for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in the end zone, but the pass was incomplete.  That’s when another flag was thrown.  Cornerback Josh Norman was flagged for defensive holding and that gave the Broncos a first down at the two.  Anderson took the ball in from there for a touchdown.  That was followed by a successful two-point conversion and the Broncos led 24-10 with three minutes to go in the game.

The Broncos kept bringing pressure and Newton was basically running for his life.  There was nothing he could do.  There was nothing anyone could do for the Panthers.  Finally the game came to an end and the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 by a score of 24-10.  Naturally, the question posed to Peyton Manning was “Peyton, is this it for you?”  He said he had to think about it.  But first he was going to celebrate with some Budweiser.   Sam Adams would be my choice.  But if Peyton wants Budweiser, give him Budweiser.  I am sure he partied well into the night.  He became the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl for two different teams and this was also his 200th win.  He also has the same amount of Super Bowl wins as his brother Eli.  I don’t think it is possible for him to accomplish anything more.  We’ll be seeing him in Canton, Ohio.

We MAY be seeing Newton in Canton one day.  But he has a whole lot of growing up to do.  After the game, he was giving one-word answers and got up and walked out of the room in the middle of a question.  Anyone can understand the fact that he was upset.  But show a little class, Newton.  It looked very similar to how he was acting earlier in his career.

For the Panthers, Newton completed 18 of 41 for 265 yards and one interception.  His numbers would look a lot better if his receivers didn’t have so many drops.  Corey Brown, Tedd Ginn and Greg Olsen tied for the lead in receptions with four apiece and Brown had the most receiving yards with 80.  He left the game early with a concussion.  On the ground, Newton led the team in rushing with 45 yards on six carries.  All totaled, the Panthers rushed for 118 yards on 27 carries.  Defensively, Luke Kuechly led the team in solo tackles with seven.  They did a great of job of applying pressure to Manning and sacked him five times.  Kony Ealy was the star of the defense as he had three sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception.

For the Broncos, Peyton Manning completed 13 of 23 for 141 yards and one interception.  Emmanuel Sanders led the team in receptions with six and receiving yards with 83.  C.J. Anderson grinded out 90 tough yards on 23 carries and had the only touchdown for the Denver offense.  Defensively, the Broncos sacked Newton seven times and Von Miller, Malik Jackson, Chris Harris and Aqib Talib all tied for the lead in solo tackles with five apiece.  Miller earned the Super Bowl MVP award as he was credited with two and a half sacks and two forced fumbles.

Well, I’ve seen betters Super Bowls.  There were 15 punts, 18 penalties (12 on Carolina) and a whole lot of dropped passes.  I think part of that is the two-week layoff.  Why does there have to be two weeks in between the conference title games and the Super Bowl?  Why not just one week?  I’ll probably be getting a fine in the mail for questioning the almighty NFL and their way of doing things.  Oh well.  That’s just my opinion.  Anyway, that concludes the 2015-16 season.  Up next is the combine.  Then free agency, then the draft, then training camp, then preseason and then the 2016-17 season will begin on September 8th.  Until then, take it easy.

 

 

 

Chiefs Defeat Raiders 23-17

For their final game of the year, the Oakland Raiders headed east to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.  The Raiders were coming off a 23-20 win over the San Diego Chargers and the Chiefs were coming off a 17-13 win over the Cleveland Browns.  After starting the year 1-5, the Chiefs had won nine straight games and earned a spot in the playoffs.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowksi sent the opening kickoff deep into the cold Kansas City air and it went through the end zone.  The Chiefs started at their 20-yard line and I would really love to know what kind of scheme the Raiders were playing.  Everything the Chiefs tried went for big gains and they cruised down the field with ease.  Quarterback Alex Smith completed passes to tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.  The ground game was working nicely too.  Charcandrick West had no problem finding holes to run through.  On first down from the Oakland 25, Smith tossed a pass to Maclin and he ran untouched into the end zone.  Kicker Cairo Santos made the point after and the Chiefs went up 7-0 with 10:52 to go in the first quarter.

The Raiders managed to get a few first downs on their first drive.  But on third and eight from the Kansas City 48, quarterback Derek Carr was sacked for a loss of one yard by safety Ron Parker.  The ball came loose but it was recovered by the Raiders.  Marquette King punted and the Chiefs regained possession at their 13-yard line.  We would be seeing a lot of King today.  On third and four from the 19, Smith couldn’t find anyone open and he scrambled up the right side for nine yards and a first down at the 28.  Two runs by running back Spencer Ware and a completion to wide receiver Albert Wilson had the Chiefs in Oakland territory again.  From the 37, Smith found wide receiver Chris Conley wide open for a gain of 16 yards.  That was followed by another pass to Maclin.  He was brought down at the three-yard line.  Ware capped the drive off with a three-yard touchdown run.  Santos made the point after and the Chiefs led 14-0 with 51 seconds to go in the first quarter.

The Raiders got a spark on the ensuing kickoff.  Return man Taiwan Jones fielded the kick eight yards deep in the end zone and returned it 71 yards to the Kansas City 38-yard line.  Carr completed a 19-yard pass to tight end Clive Walford and running back Latavius Murray ran up the middle for a gain of four.   Then they went backwards five yards due to a false start penalty.  Murray caught a pass for a gain of ten and that set up a third and one situation.  Murray ran up the left side and he was engulfed by red jerseys.  He was thrown for a loss of one yard and Janikowksi came on for a 29-yard field goal attempt.  It was good and the Chiefs led 14-3 with 13:40 to go in the second quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possessions.  With 6:27 remaining, Smith looked for Wilson and the pass was picked off by cornerback T.J. Carrie at the 48-yard line.  He was brought down at the 46 and the Raiders looked to capitalize on the turnover.  A scramble by Carr was followed by a nine-yard run from Murray and a six-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree.  Running back Roy Helu ran up the middle for a gain of two and that made it third and two from the 24.  Carr had all the time in the world on the next play.  He could have easily run for the first down, but he opted to throw deep to wide receiver Amari Cooper.  There’s only one problem with that.  There was a guy in a red suit standing in front of Cooper and it wasn’t Santa Claus.  It was Parker and he picked the pass off in the end zone.  The Chiefs took over at the 20 and Smith looked for Wilson again.  This time, the pass was picked off by cornerback David Amerson and returned for a touchdown.  On his way into the end zone, he started high-stepping and pointing at Smith.  That drew a flag for taunting.  Janikowski made the point after and the Chiefs led 14-10 with 3:27 to go in the second quarter.  Neither offense did anything worth writing about for the rest of the second quarter and the Chiefs took a four point lead into the locker room.

It was the same old story for the Raiders to start the second half.  Three plays gained one yard and King punted.  The Chiefs didn’t do much better and Dustin Colquitt punted the ball back to the Raiders.  That’s when the Chiefs really brought the pressure.  Carr was sacked twice and they were forced to punt again.  I have no idea what rookie linebacker Ben Heeney was thinking on this play.  Instead of staying in to block, he took off downfield.  That left linebacker D.J. Alexander unblocked and he blocked the punt with ease.  The ball went through the end zone for a safety.  On the replay, Heeney was looking back at King as he was running up-field.  Maybe he thought they were going to try a fake punt.  Really?  A fake punt from the five-yard line?  I think not.  The Chiefs now led 16-10 with nine minutes to go in the third quarter.

King punted and the Chiefs took over at their 47-yard line.  On third and four from the Oakland 47, Smith hooked up with Maclin for a gain of 17 yards.  Tack on a cheap roughing the passer penalty on linebacker Khalil Mack and the Chiefs were sitting pretty at the 15-yard line.  From the 15, Smith fired a pass into the end zone that was caught by tight end Demetrius Harris for a touchdown.  Santos made the point after and the Chiefs went up 23-10 with 7:03 to go in the third quarter.

That’s when more punting occurred.  The Raiders couldn’t get anything going on offense and their star quarterback was running for his life and getting pretty roughed up in the process.  It was truly hard to watch how badly the offensive line was playing.  For Christmas, Carr bought each of his linemen a 55-inch television.  Some of those players should give their televisions back to Carr.  They were doing a horrible job of protecting him.

With 12 minutes to go in this nightmare of a game, the Chiefs took over at their 20.  They proceeded to take nearly nine minutes off the clock as Ware and West ran right through the Raiders.  On third and nine from the Oakland 19, Smith tossed a short pass to West and he was thrown for a loss of two yards by Heeney.  Santos came on and his 39-yard field goal attempt was good.  No it wasn’t.  The Chiefs were flagged for holding and Santos would now have to try a 49-yard attempt.  The snap was good, the hold was good and Santos just stood there.  What the hell was he thinking?  The Raiders came after the ball and Colquitt tossed the ball to Santos.  He threw a short pass to Alexander and he was brought down after a gain of three yards.  The Raiders took over at their 28-yard line.

A scramble by Carr, a short completion to wide receiver Seth Roberts and a taunting penalty on the Chiefs moved the Raiders to the Kansas City 45-yard line.  A pass interference penalty on the Chiefs gave the Raiders another first down at the 31.  From there, Carr went deep for Crabtree and he caught it for a touchdown.  Despite some contact and what looked like offensive pass interference, the play stood.  I know the Raiders were losing, but I still love to hear the crowd cry at Arrowhead Stadium.  It sounded like 70,000 babies crying at once as they protested the touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Chiefs led 23-17 with 2:01 to go in the game.

Janikowski tried an onside kick and it was recovered by the Chiefs at the Oakland 47-yard line.  The Raiders had all three of their timeouts and after three plays, the Chiefs punted.  With 1:34 to go and no timeouts, the Raiders had to go 89 yards.  They didn’t make it.  They didn’t even come close.  Instead of stretching the field, Carr was dumping off short passes and they looked totally out of sync.  The game came to an end as the Raiders were scrambling to get off one more play.  Time ran out and that was it.  The Chiefs won 23-17.  That was their tenth win in a row and that improved their record to 11-5.  The Raiders finished the year with a 7-9 record.  That’s a hell of a lot better than 4-12 or 3-13.  Still, there is a whole lot of work to do and they will be doing it without Charles Woodson.  This was his last game and I thought he did pretty damn good.  He was all over the field and finished the game with six solo tackles.  You will be sorely missed, Charles!  Maybe he can come back as a coach.  I’d love for that to happen.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 21 of 33 for 194 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  That’s not bad considering how much pressure he faced.  Clive Walford led the team in receptions with four and receiving yards with 46.  The running game performed horribly in this game.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 48 yards on 16 carries.  Latavius Murray was the leading rusher with 31 yards on 11 carries.  Nine of those yards came on one carry.  Defensively, Khalil Mack led the team in solo tackles with seven.

For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 14 of 24 for 156 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.  Jeremy Maclin and Albert Wilson tied for the lead in receptions with three apiece.  Maclin had the most receiving yards with 54 and a touchdown.  On the ground is where the Chiefs did the most damage.  They rushed for 189 yards on 39 carries.  Spencer Ware was the leading rusher with 76 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown.  Defensively, linebacker Derrick Johnson led the team in solo tackles with eight.  They terrorized Carr throughout the game and registered six sacks.

And that’s that.  The 2015 season is over for the Raiders and it’s the best season they’ve had in quite a long time.  With the exception of the opening game against the Bengals, they were in every game and lost some close ones.  It’s also nice to go into the off season without having to worry about who will be the head coach next year.  Jack Del Rio has done a fine job.  There isn’t a tyrant looming over him watching his every move.  Another good thing is there is no doubt as to who the starting quarterback is.  Carr finished the year with 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and 3,987 yards.  He had some mental lapses and made some bad decisions, but he’s only in his second year.  He always wants to get better and I am confident that he will.  What will really be different is when draft day comes around, the Raiders won’t be drafting in the top five.  They will be drafting at the #14 spot.  Lots of areas need improvement and GM Reggie McKenzie needs to nail the pick.

Until the start of the 2016 season, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

Raiders Defeat Chargers 23-20

For their 15th game of the year, the Oakland Raiders took on the San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers were coming off a 30-14 win over the Miami Dolphins and the Raiders were coming off a 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers.  Rumors were swirling that this may be the last game the Raiders play in Oakland.  I have no idea if that’s true or not.  But I do know this was the last game for Charles Woodson in Oakland.  After 18 years in the league, he was calling it quits.  Things did not get off to a good start for the Raiders.  They started at their 20 and on second and five from the 36, quarterback Derek Carr threw a pass intended for fullback Marcel Reece.  It was picked out of the air by defensive end Kendall Reyes.  I like to give credit where it is due and that was a great play.  He was brought down at the Oakland 32-yard line.

With very good field position, quarterback Philip Rivers led his offense on to the field in hopes of taking an early lead.  A holding call moved them back ten yards, but they rebounded nicely with a five-yard run by running back Donald Brown and a 23-yard pass to Brown.  On third and nine from the 13, Rivers located wide receiver Dontrelle Inman across the middle and he was dragged down at the one-yard line.  Two plays later, Brown took it up the middle for a touchdown.  Kicker Josh Lambo made the point after and the Chargers led 7-0 with 9:09 to go in the first quarter.

Return man Taiwan Jones returned the ensuing kickoff to the 23.  On first down, Carr connected with tight end Lee Smith for a gain of 17 yards and a first down at the 40.  Two runs by running back Latavius Murray and a short completion to wide receiver Michael Crabtree put the Raiders in San Diego territory.  A false start penalty was followed by a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Andre Holmes.  On second and eight from the 35, Carr was sacked by rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman for a loss of nine yards.  That moved them out of field goal range.  But on third and 17 from the 44, Carr connected with rookie tight end Clive Walford across the middle for a gain of 22 yards.  That was followed by a 22-yard touchdown run by Murray.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski made the point after and the score was 7-7 with 3:27 to go in the first quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possessions.  With 14:48 to go in the second quarter, the Chargers got the ball back at the Oakland  33-yard line.  That’s because defensive back Keith McGill was flagged for a facemask penalty on the punt return.  Rivers tried to get his tight ends involved and he completed an eight-yard pass to Antonio Gates and a 14-yard pass to Ladarius Green.  A short run by Brown and a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Javontee Herndon moved the ball to the seven-yard line.  From there, Rivers found Inman in the end zone for a touchdown.  Lambo made the point after and the Chargers led 14-7 with 11:05 to go in the second quarter.

The Raiders started their next drive at their 25-yard line.  A short run by Murray and a completion to Holmes netted a first down at the 39.  From there, Carr scrambled for a gain of nine.  No he didn’t.  A flag was thrown and tight end Mychal Rivera was flagged for holding.  But three straight runs by Murray and an offside penalty on the Chargers got the Raiders a first down at the San Diego 39.  On third and two from the 31, I was expecting a run by Murray or a short pass.  Instead, Carr went deep for Holmes in the end zone.  He got his hands on it, but couldn’t haul it in.  Enter the Polish Cannon for a 50-yard field goal attempt.  The kick was good and the Chargers led 14-10 with six minutes to go in the second quarter.

The Chargers punted again and the Raiders took over at their 22 with 4:30 remaining.  Three plays gained seven yards and they lined up to punt.  What followed was a beautifully executed fake punt.  Safety Larry Asante ran up the right sideline and was pushed out of bounds at the 50.  Wait a minute.  Another flag was thrown.  Normally I refer to the officials as “zebras.”  With it being Christmas Eve, they will be referred to as “grinches.”  The penalty moved them back to the 24 and Marquette King got off a nice 54-yard punt.

With three minutes to go, Rivers broke out the no huddle offense.  Passes to Inman and running back Danny Woodhead quickly moved the Chargers to the Oakland 44-yard line.  Completions to Herndon and Inman set up a third and five from the 32.  Rivers threw to his left and the pass was caught by Gates.  Before he could get to the first down marker, he was dragged down by safety Taylor Mays.  Lambo came on and his 47-yard attempt was good.  At halftime, the Chargers led 17-10.

For almost the entire third quarter, neither team could get anything going.  When a nice gain occurred, a grinch was quickly there to nullify it with his little yellow flag.  With 3:32 remaining, the Chargers were back at at their nine-yard line.  On first down, Brown ran up the middle for two yards.  A false start penalty moved them back to the six.  Rivers looked for Green and the pass was incomplete.  That set up a third and 13 from the six.  Rivers took the snap and immediately felt pressure coming his way.  Defensive end Denico Autry got a hand on Rivers and dragged him to the ground for a safety.  You have got to be one hell of a strong man to drag Rivers down with one arm.  That made the score 17-12 with 2:05 to go in the third quarter.

The Raider offense still couldn’t get moving and King punted again.  The Chargers took over at their 16 and with the way the Raiders were playing on the offensive side of the ball, a touchdown here may put the game away.  A pass to Inman gained eight yards.  Then it was time for the Woodhead show.  He ran with the ball.  He caught passes.  The Chargers moved into Oakland territory again.  A completion to Green and another one to Woodhead put the ball at the 20-yard line.  On third and ten from the 20, Rivers looked for Woodhead again and the pass was incomplete.  A grinch threw a flag and the Chargers were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.  That moved them back to the 35 and Lambo came on for a 53-yard attempt.  It was good, but the grinches weren’t impressed.  They decided to penalize the Raiders for holding.

The Chargers took points off the board and continued their drive from the 30-yard line.  From the 30, Rivers went deep for the corner of the end zone and the pass was caught for a touchdown by Green.  Wait a minute.  The ball appeared to come loose as Green fell to the ground and the call was reversed.  That was a nice present from the grinch up in the replay booth.  A holding penalty moved the Chargers back to the 40 and and on third and 20 from the 40, Rivers completed a pass to Woodhead for a gain of ten.  Enter Lambo again.  This time his kick sailed wide left.  After possessing the ball for seven minutes and 38 seconds, the Chargers came away with no points.  I found that to be quite humorous.

It was the same old story for the Raiders.  They punted after three plays and with 6:24 to go in the game, the Chargers looked to control the ball again and run out the clock.  They started at their ten and got things off to a nice start with a 27-yard pass to Woodhead.  On second and nine from the 38, Rivers dumped off a short pass to tight end David Johnson.  As he was trying to gain some extra yardage, linebacker Malcolm Smith knocked the ball loose and it bounced into the hands of defensive end Benson Mayowa.  He was the recipient of some very nice blocking and he took it up the right sideline.  It looked like he was going to score, but he was pushed out of bounds at the three-yard line.  All the Raiders needed was three yards.  Three freaking yards and they would take the lead.  I was expecting Murray to get the call.  With Amari Cooper sidelined with a bad foot, I thought a running play would work nicely.  Wrong.  Carr threw a pass intended for Crabtree.  It was perfectly placed and Crabtree caught it for a touchdown.  That put the Raiders up 18-17.  A two-point conversion was the right call and Carr tossed a short pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts.  He caught it short of the goal line and ran it in for two points.

The Chargers started at their 20 and Woodhead and Inman got the Chargers rolling once again.  A 23-yard pass to wide receiver Malcolm Floyd moved the ball to the Oakland 45-yard line.  On third and ten from the 45, Rivers looked for Inman.  It was incomplete, but a grinch threw a flag.  The call was pass interference on cornerback D.J. Hayden.  It was the right call.  From the time the ball was snapped to the time it fell incomplete, Hayden was all over Inman.  That gave the Chargers a first down at the 30.  They would get as far as the 27.  With one minute to go, Lambo made a 45-yard field goal to tie the game at 20-20.  With little time remaining, the Raiders tried to get into field goal range.  That didn’t work and they were headed for overtime.

The Raiders won the coin toss and unlike the Patriots, they elected to receive.  From the 20, Reece caught a short pass and Holmes caught one on the left sideline for a gain of 16 yards.  That play was reviewed and the call stood as a completed pass.  That grinch up in the replay booth sure is a nice guy.  That’s when the grinches on the field went went to work.  Left tackle Donald Penn was flagged for holding.  A nice pass to Rivera was brought back due to a holding penalty on right tackle J’Marcus Webb.  THAT was holding?  Wow! Just….WOW!  Guard Jon Feliciano got in on the act and he was flagged for a false start.  On second and 29 from the 20, Carr hit Crabtree on the right side for a short gain.  Right after he caught the pass, he was nailed by Perryman.  Another flag flew and Perryman was penalized for unnecessary roughness.  That gave the Raiders a huge break and a first down at their 43-yard line.

Murray ran up the middle for four yards and Crabtree caught a pass for an eight-yard gain.  That put the ball at the San Diego 45-yard line.  Carr decided to go for it all on first down.  He threw a deep pass for Holmes in the end zone and it fell incomplete.  A false start on Walford moved them back to the 50.  From the 50, Crabtree caught a seven-yard pass.  Up next was the play the Raiders needed.  Carr fired a pass to Roberts.  It bounced off his hands and he regained possession of it.  He was bound and determined to get to the end zone.  It took about three defenders to finally drag him down at the ten-yard line.  From the ten, Woodson was brought into the game.  They tried some kind of crazy reverse with Woodson attempting to throw a pass.  He couldn’t find anyone open and was thrown for a loss of three yards.  Linebacker Manti Te’o started talking trash to Woodson at the end of the play.  Really?  Talking trash to a future Hall of Famer?  Idiocy knows no boundaries and we still haven’t been able to locate your girlfriend, Te’o.  The Raiders couldn’t locate the end zone and Janikowksi came on for a 31-yard attempt.  It was good and the Raiders led 23-20 with 8:05 remaining in overtime.

The Chargers started at their 20 and on second down, Rivers completed a five-yard pass to Woodhead.  Rivers looked for Woodhead again on third down and he was brought down by rookie linebacker Ben Heeney for a short gain.  That brought up fourth and three from the 27.  Rivers looked for Inman and the pass fell to the ground.  That was it.  Game over.  The Raiders came away with a 23-20 win.  That win improved their record to 7-8.  The Chargers fell to 4-11.  That’s the first time the Raiders have swept the Chargers since 2010.

For the Chargers, Philip Rivers completed 31 of 49 for 277 yards and one touchdown.  Dontrelle Inman and Danny Woodhead tied for the lead in receptions with eight apiece.  Inman had the most receiving yards with 82 and a touchdown.  On the ground, Woodhead led the way with 55 yards on 11 carries.  All totaled, the Chargers ran for a total of 72 yards on 25 carries.  Defensively, Denzel Perryman led the team in solo tackles with ten.  He also had a sack.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 23 of 38 for 204 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with six and receiving yards with 39 and a touchdown.  Latavius Murray led the way on the ground with 79 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.  He’s the first Raider running back to gain 1,000 yards in a season since Darren McFadden did it in 2010.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 106 yards on 24 carries.  Defensively, Malcolm Smith led the team in solo tackles with 11.  He also forced a fumble that set up the go ahead touchdown for the Raiders.

This game was U-G-L-Y!!!!  The grinches were very busy and threw their flags every chance they got.  This game had 25 combined penalties for a whopping 196 yards.  16 of those penalties were on the Raiders for 121 yards.  Despite their efforts, the grinches couldn’t prevent the Raiders from getting a win.  The Raiders sent Woodson out in style.  He was given a microphone and demanded the Oakland crowd cheer “RAIDERS” over and over again.  Man, that sounded good!  He thanked them for all the support he received through the years and he looked genuinely humbled by the whole experience.  What I liked best was when he joined the NFL Network crew after the game.  He brought his two sons with him and one of them kept the “RAIDERS” chant going.  Then he said “My dad is the best player in the NFL!”  Charles looked at him and said “That’s my boy!”  Up next is a trip to Arrowhead Stadium for the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.  Until then, take it easy.

Happy New Year!

The Raider Guy

They Gave It Away!

The Green Bay Packers headed out to Oakland to take on the Raiders.  The Packers were coming off a 28-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys and the Raiders were coming off a 15-12 win over the Denver Broncos.  It was another dreary day in Oakland and kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent the opening kickoff six yards deep into the end zone.  Return man Jeff Janis ran it out and was brought down at the 16-yard line.  The Raider defense picked up where they left off against Denver and forced a quick three and out.  However, defensive end Mario Edwards left with a neck injury and would not return.  That was a big loss for the Raiders.

The punting continued as both teams were having a hard time moving the ball on the wet field.  The only one who was having any success was running back Latavius Murray.  With just under eight minutes to go in the first quarter, the Raiders were facing a third and long from their 17-yard line.  Quarterback Derek Carr looked for tight end Clive Walford across the middle and it was picked off by cornerback Micah Hyde.  He returned it to the two-yard line.  But the Packers were flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the ball was placed at the Oakland 17-yard line.  Carr, that was truly a horrible throw.  What the hell were you thinking?  Three plays later, fullback John Kuhn ran it in from five yards out for a touchdown.  Kicker Mason Crosby made the point after and the Packers led 7-0 with 5:08 to go in the first quarter.

The Raiders got the ball back at their 34 and Carr was picked off again.  This time it was rookie cornerback Damarious Randall.  He returned the ball untouched into the end zone.  Crosby made the point after and the Packers led 14-0.  This was about as bad a start the Raiders could have.  What’s up with you, Carr?  Don’t you know how to throw a football in the rain?  He was looking quite pissed off on the sideline and I was hoping he would get his act together and stop doing his best impression of Jay Schroeder.  He could start by throwing the ball to the guys in the BLACK jerseys!

The Raiders took over at their 20 with a whole lot of work to do.  On second down, Carr put a deep pass up the right sideline for wide receiver Amari Cooper.  The pass was incomplete, but Randall was flagged for pass interference.  That moved the ball to the 45-yard line.  Passes to Cooper, Crabtree and Holmes moved the Raiders to the Green Bay 11-yard line.  From the 11, Carr tossed a pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts.  He was wide open and he dropped the freaking ball.  I honestly couldn’t believe that he dropped such an easy pass to catch.  We wouldn’t be seeing Roberts anymore after that play as he left the game with an injury to his abdomen.  The drive would stall at the five and Janikowski came on for a 23-yard field goal attempt.  It was good and with 14:53 to go in the second quarter, the Packers led 14-3.

The Packers still couldn’t get much out of their offense and Tim Masthay punted again.  The Raiders started at their 22 and some great running by Murray and two completions to Crabtree moved the ball deep into Green Bay territory again.  But they couldn’t locate the end zone again and they would have to settle for another field goal attempt.  The 30-yard attempt was good and the Packers led 14-6 with 8:36 to go in the second quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possessions and with 4:58 remaining, the Packers got the ball back at their two-yard line.  On third and ten, the Raiders were flagged for having 12 men on the field.  That was highly stupid of them.  But they did something more stupid on the next play.  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw deep for wide receiver Randall Cobb up the right sideline.  The pass was incomplete because cornerback T.J. Carrie was flagged for blatant pass interference.  Look for the ball, idiot!  The Packers moved quickly into Oakland territory.  On second and two from the 32, running back James Starks ran up the left side for a good gain.  But defensive end Benson Mayowa knocked the ball loose and recovered it at the Oakland 21-yard line.

That was the break the Raiders needed and on first down, Carr tossed a short pass to fullback Marcel Reece.  He turned it into a gain of 29 yards and the Raiders had a first down at the 50-yard line.  A 14-yard pass to tight end Mychal Rivera and a 17-yard run by Carr moved the Raiders to the 19.  From there, Carr threw to the end zone for Cooper and he caught it for a Raider touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Packers led 14-13 at halftime.

The Raiders did absolutely nothing on their first possession of the second half and Marquette King punted the ball away.  The Packers started at the 50 and three runs by Lacy set up a fourth and two from the Oakland 42-yard line.  Rodgers looked for Cobb and our old friend T.J. Carrie reared his ugly head again.  He was flagged for pass interference.  This time it was a 28-yard penalty and that put the Packers at the 14-yard line.  However, they couldn’t get the ball into the end zone and Crosby came on for a 24-yard field goal attempt.  It was good and the Packers led 17-13 with 10:18 to go in the third quarter.

The Raiders started out at their 19 and on second and ten, Carr went deep for Cooper and he caught it for a gain of 41 yards and a first down at the Green Bay 40.  A nine-yard pass to Reece and a three-yard run by Murray got another first down at the 28.  From the 28, Carr looked for Cooper again and he caught it for his second touchdown of the game.  See what happens when you complete passes to guys in the black shirts, Carr?  Good things happen!  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 20-17 with 6:48 to go in the third quarter.

But that good feeling wouldn’t last long.  Janis returned the ensuing kickoff to the 47-yard line.  From there, Rodgers completed a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Jared Abbrederis.  That was followed by an eight-yard completion to former Raider wide receiver James Jones.  On second and two from the 30, I would really like to know what the Raider secondary was doing.  Rodgers took the snap and he had a choice of three receivers to throw to.  There were three receivers running down the field wide open and there wasn’t a Raider in sight.  Rodgers threw for Jones and he caught it for an easy touchdown.  It literally looked like the Raiders gave the Packers a touchdown.  Crosby made the point after and the Packers led 24-20 with 5:46 to go in the third quarter.

That’s when the Raider offense started to struggle.  The Packers were bringing lots of pressure and Carr was making many hurried throws.  After another punt by King, the Packers started their next drive from their five-yard line.  Passes to Cobb and Jones had them rolling into Oakland territory again.  On third and six from the 11, Rodgers threw to the end zone for Cobb.  It was incomplete and that was because cornerback D.J. Hayden didn’t look for the ball and was flagged for pass interference.  I am at a loss for words when it comes to how poorly the secondary played in this game.  That put the ball at the one.  But the defense kept the Packers out of the end zone and they would have to settle for another field goal attempt.  It was good and the Packers led 27-20 with ten minutes to go in the game.

The Packers continued to put pressure on Carr and on third and eight from the 28, he was sacked for a loss of 14 yards by linebacker Julius Peppers.  That forced another punt and the Packers got the ball back with great field position at the Oakland 36-yard line.  Three runs by Starks set up a first and goal at the five.  On third down, Rodgers looked for Jones in the end zone and he caught it for a touchdown.  Not so fast.  A flag was thrown and Jones was flagged for offensive pass interference.  That moved them back to the 15 and Crosby was called on again for another field goal attempt.  It was good and the Packers led 30-20 with 4:25 to go in the game.

The Raiders still couldn’t get anything going and decided to go for it on fourth and 14 from the 16.  Carr looked for Crabtree and the pass was incomplete.  The Packers took over deep in Oakland territory.  They decided that a ten-point lead with little time remaining wasn’t good enough.  From the 15, Rodgers looked for Janis in the end zone and the pass was picked off at the one-yard line by cornerback David Amerson.  He was the only Raider cornerback who knew what he was doing in this game.

The Raiders started at their one-yard line and managed to move the ball to the 36.  But on fourth and four, Carr’s pass to Reece was incomplete and the Packers got the ball back with 1:31 to go.  Three plays gained four yards and Crosby came into the game again.  This time, his field goal attempt was blocked by defensive end Denico Autry.  With little time remaining, the Raiders tried to mount a comeback and had no success.  Rodgers took a knee with three seconds remaining and the Packers won 30-20.  The win improved the Packers to 10-4 and the loss dropped the Raiders to 6-8.

For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers completed 22 of 39 for 204 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  James Jones led the Packers in receptions with six and receiving yards with 82 and a touchdown.  The Packers gained 103 yards on the ground on 28 carries.  James Starks was the leading rusher with 51 yards on nine carries.  Defensively, linebacker Jake Ryan led the team in solo tackles with seven.  Julius Peppers also played well and had 2.5 sacks.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 23 of 47 for 276 yards, two touchdowns and two horribly thrown interceptions.  Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree tied for the lead in receptions with six apiece and Cooper had the most receiving yards with 120 and a touchdown.  He is the first Raider receiver to have 1,000 receiving yards in a season since Randy Moss did it in 2005.  He is also the first rookie receiver to have 1,000 yards in Raider history.  On the ground, Latavius Murray grinded out 78 yards on 21 carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 120 yards on 25 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Malcolm Smith led the team in solo tackles with seven.  Khalil Mack was nowhere near as disruptive as he was against the Broncos.  He finished the game with one sack and one solo tackle.

The outcome of this game could have been a whole lot different if it weren’t for those two interceptions early in the game.  Carr basically gave the Packers 14 points.  Still, the Raiders had opportunities in the fourth quarter and the offense couldn’t get anything going.  I hate to lose.  I always have and I always will.  But all I need to do is think about 2014.  This time last year, the Raiders were 2-12.  They are very much improved and need some help in the secondary.  They will also need to replace Charles Woodson.  Earlier this week he announced that this will be his last year and is retiring.  His last game in Oakland will be this Thursday night against the Chargers.  Charles will be sorely missed.  We’ll be seeing him in Canton as he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Merry Christmas!

The Raider Guy