The 2013 home opener for the Oakland Raiders had them matched up against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars were coming off a bad 28-2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Raiders were coming off a 21-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski blasted the opening kickoff through the end zone. The Jaguars started at their 20 and went absolutely nowhere. Punter Bryan Anger came on and punted the ball away. It was fielded by return man Phillip Adams at the Oakland 32 and returned to the Jacksonville 38. That gave the Raiders very good field position for their opening drive.
A short run by running back Darren McFadden and a false start penalty didn’t get the Raiders off to a good start. However, on second and 12 from the 40, quarterback Terrelle Pryor found McFadden for a short gain. The Jaguars were also flagged for a personal foul and that gave the Raiders a first down at the 22. From the 22, McFadden took a direct snap and ran up the right side for seven yards. Pryor ran off left end for four more and that gave them a first down at the 11. From the 11, fullback Marcel Reece took it the rest of the way for a Raider touchdown. Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-0 with 10:52 to go in the first quarter.
Janikowski hit his next kickoff eight yards deep in the end zone. Return man made Stephen Burton made the mistake of running the ball out and was brought down at the 14-yard line. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew got things off to a good start for the Jaguars as he ran off right tackle for eight yards. He was stopped for no gain on his next carry, but on third and two, quarterback Chad Henne completed a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Cecil Shorts for a first down at the 35. They would get as far as the 38 and ended up punting again. The bad news for the Raiders was safety Tyvon Branch injured his ankle and did not return to the game. It looked like a pretty serious injury. The Raiders got the ball at their 18 and netted exactly two yards in three plays. Punter Marquette King booted the ball away and the Jaguars started at their 37-yard line.
Two offside penalties on the Raiders, some short runs by Jones-Drew and a short completion to tight end Clay Harbor moved the Jaguars to the Oakland 40. They brought out their no-huddle offense, but the Raider defense was up to the task of stopping them. The next three plays gained zero yards and they were forced to punt again. The Raiders got the ball back at their 16, got a few first downs, but a deep pass to wide receiver Denarius Moore on third and six fell incomplete. King got off a nice punt and the Jaguars took over at their 13-yard line.
A 17-yard pass to Shorts, some running by Jones-Drew and a nine-yard scramble by Henne got the Jaguars moving into Oakland territory. But, on first down from the 46, Henne was sacked by safety Brandian Ross. A short pass to tight end Allen Reisner made it third and six from the 42. On third down, Henne found some time and completed a 17-yard pass to Harbor for a first down at the 25. He then found Burton for a gain of 22 and the Jaguars were in business with a first and goal at the three. Jones-Drew got the call on first down and was thrown for a loss of four by defensive end Brian Sanford. They gave the ball to Jones-Drew again on second down and just when it looked like he may get to the end zone, safety Charles Woodson came out of nowhere, grabbed Jones-Drew by the neck and threw him out of bounds. They gained three yards on the play, but that was it for Jones-Drew. He left the game with an ankle injury. A delay of game penalty moved them back five yards and on third and goal from the nine, Henne felt the pressure coming from the defense and his pass to Harbor fell incomplete. The Jaguars brought in kicker Josh Scobee and his 27-yard attempt was good. That made it 7-3 with 7:45 to go in the first half.
The Raiders started at their 20 and two scrambles by Pryor and a nice 24-yard run up the middle by McFadden gave them a first down at the Jacksonville 25. On third and ten from the 25, Pryor found McFadden on a screen pass, but he was brought down short of the first down marker. Janikowski came in for a 35-yard attempt and the kick sailed wide left. The Jaguars took over at their 25 and went nowhere again. They punted and the Raiders took over at their 29. They had a little under three minutes to try and put some more points on the board. Completions to wide receivers Rod Streater and Brice Butler had them moving in the right direction. On third and six from the 50, Pryor fired a pass to his right that was caught by wide receiver Jacoby Ford for a first down at the Jacksonville 41. A short scramble and an 11-yard completion to tight end Mychal Rivera set them up with a first down at the 27. They would not get any further than that and Janikowski was brought into the game again for a 46-yard attempt. He snuck it inside the right upright and the Raiders led 10-3 at halftime.
The Raiders started their first drive of the second half at their 19-yard line. A five-yard scramble by Pryor and a 16-yard pass to Streater got them a first down at the 40. The next three plays netted six yards and it was time for another punt. King’s punt was fielded at the eight by return man Will Blackmon and he returned it to the 14. However, there was a flag on the play. An offside penalty on the Jaguars gave the Raiders a first down at the Jacksonville 49. On second and six from the 45, McFadden got loose again and was dragged down at the 15 for a gain of 30 yards. But, the Jaguar defense stiffened once again and it was time for another field goal attempt. Janikowski made the kick and the Raiders now led 13-3 with 9:18 to go in the third quarter.
Neither team could do a thing with the ball for the duration of the third quarter. It was very boring and could be compared to watching paint dry. However, a short punt by Anger gave the Raiders the ball at the Jacksonville 47. A 28-yard run by McFadden provided a spark for the Raider offense and some more scrambling by Pryor put them at the 20. Pryor completed a pass to Rivera, but he came up just short of the first down marker. Enter Janikowski again. His 29-yard attempt was good and the Raiders now led 16-3 with 13:49 to go in the game.
The Jaguars went three and out and the Raiders took over at their own 38. On third and nine from the 39, Pryor completed a pass for a gain of 11 to Rivera and a first down at the 50. Former Jaguar running back Rashad Jennings was brought into the game and on third and four from the 44, he ran straight up the middle for a gain of 28 yards. A touchdown here would seal the deal and get the Raiders a win. But, that was not the case. The drive stalled on the ten-yard line, and the Polish Cannon blasted another ball through the uprights and gave the Raiders a 19-3 lead with six minutes to go.
With time running out, the Jaguars knew they had to get going. All they did was go backwards again. On third six from their own 23, the Raiders brought the pressure and safety Usama Young sacked Henne for a loss of seven yards. With five minutes to go and with things looking pretty good, the Raiders took over at their 23. McFadden got the call on first down and after escaping some trouble in the backfield, he headed up the left side for a gain of 27 yards. But, as he was being tackled, the ball came loose and the Jaguars recovered it at midfield.
So, with 4:47 to go, the Jaguars still had a shot. Speaking of shots, Henne took another one from defensive end Jason Hunter and he was sacked for a loss of four on first down. It didn’t get much better on second down as Henne fumbled. It was recovered by the Jaguars, but they were now facing a third and 21 from their own 40. But, Henne escaped the pressure and found wide receiver Ace Sanders across the middle for a gain of 30 yards and a first down at the Oakland 30. A false start moved them back five yards, but Henne came back with a 22-yard pass to Shorts and from there, he found Harbor in the end zone for a touchdown. Harbor seemed pretty proud of himself and dunked the ball over the goal post. That was the first touchdown of the season for the Jaguars. They went for two on the next play and the pass was incomplete. Up next was an onside kick that was recovered by Streater and the Raiders took over at the Jacksonville 45. Three plays netted zero yards and they only managed to take a little over a minute off the clock. King punted the ball through the end zone and with 1:48 remaining, the Jaguars took to the air.
The Raider defense brought some more pressure. Young and cornerback Tracy Porter combined for another sack for a loss of seven yards. But, Henne did find time to complete passes to Shorts and Sanders. They moved into Oakland territory with time ticking away and on third and five from the 30, Henne found Sanders again. He was gang-tackled at the 24 and that was the last play of the game. Final score: Raiders 19 Jaguars 9.
For the Jaguars, Chad Henne completed 25 of 38 for 241 yards and one touchdown. Those are pretty good numbers, but he felt pressure throughout the game and was sacked five times. Maurice Jones-Drew led the Jaguars in rushing yards with 27 on ten carries. All totaled, the Jaguars had a paltry sum of 34 yards rushing on 19 carries. Cecil Shorts had a good game and led the Jaguars in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 93. Defensively, linebacker Geno Hayes led the team in solo tackles with seven and had one tackle for a loss.
For the Raiders, Terrelle Pryor completed 15 of 24 for 126 yards. He also had 50 yards rushing on nine carries. Darren McFadden led the way on the ground with 19 carries for 129 yards and lost one fumble. He also had 28 yards receiving. As a team, the Raiders rushed for 226 yards on 34 carries. Rod Streater and Mychal Rivera tied for the lead in receptions with three and Streater had the most receiving yards with 42. Defensively, Charles Woodson led the team in solo tackles with six.
Well, a win is a win. I was very impressed with the performance of the Raider defense. They brought lots of pressure and did a great job of stopping the run. With the exception of not turning the ball over, Pryor didn’t do as well in this game as he did against the Colts. He looked a little more tentative and didn’t scramble as much as he usually does. The best thing about this game was seeing McFadden finally get loose. I give credit to the Jacksonville defense for staying with the speedy Raider receivers. There was rarely an occasion where Pryor found a receiver wide open. Also, when he completed a pass, there was always a defender right there to make sure there were no extra yards gained. One thing that still needs to be addressed is the penalties. They were only penalized five times for 30 yards, but two of them were offside penalties. Guys, just wait until the ball is snapped, okay? After the quarterback has the ball, then you may go after him. That’s not rocket science. Have a little patience.
Up next for the Raiders is a trip to Denver for a Monday night game. The Broncos had no problem with the Giants on Sunday and they are looking very good this year. The Raider defense will have their hands full and what I hope to see is a successful running game. If they can keep the chains moving and the clock running, they’ll have a shot. Peyton Manning can’t do any harm when he’s sitting on the bench. But that’s next week. Today is my Birthday and I am going to enjoy it. Until next week, take it easy.
The Raider Guy