January 21, 2018

Welcome To Yellow Hell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Raider Guy



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