NFL sits Crabtree and Talib two games apiece for fighting

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) fights Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

ALAMEDA–Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib have been suspended two games apiece without pay by the NFL for their fight during Sunday’s game, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter Monday night.

Those same sources told Schefter that both Crabtree and Talib will appeal their suspensions.

Crabtree, Talib and Raiders guard Gabe Jackson were ejected with 11:47 left in the first quarter. Crabtree and Talib were ejected for fighting, while Jackson was ejected for making contact with an official.

Jackson was not suspended.

The fight occurred after Crabtree blocked Talib on a 5-yard run by Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch on a second-and-6 play from the Raiders’ 24-yard line on Oakland’s second possession of the game. Crabtree kept pushing Talib out of bounds near the Broncos’ sideline.

The duo exchanged shoves before they threw punches at each other. On Monday, Talib said that Crabtree threw the first punch at him. During the fight, Talib ripped Crabtree’s necklace from around his neck in the same manner as Talib did in a game last season.

“I came out there to play football on Sunday. I don’t really know what he came out there to do. … He came out here on this extra stuff, so one thing led to another,” Talib said Monday per ESPN’s Broncos Insider Jeff Legwold. “It’s unfortunate. I wish it didn’t happen, but it happened, so just have to move on.”

Oakland defeated Denver 21-14 Sunday to send the Broncos to their seventh straight loss after starting the season 3-1.

The 5-6 Raiders host the 2-9 New York Giants in Week 13.

Oakland Raiders are off to Denver to open up divisional play against the Broncos this Sunday

Photo credit: Raiders Report (@raiders_fanly)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — The Raiders travel to Denver to take on fellow AFC West rival, the Broncos, Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to open divisional play for the Silver and Black.

Both teams are looking to get back into the win column after both losing on the road in Week 3.

Oakland (2-1) was humbled by the Redskins 27-10 in Washington on prime-time in a game that the Redskins held quarterback Derek Carr and the high-power Raiders offense to just 128 yards in 48 plays ran. The offense didn’t hit the 100-yard mark in total offense until the fourth quarter.

Carr had a game to forget, completing just 19-of-31 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions with a 52.9 passer rating. Tight end Jared Cook led all Oakland receivers with 43 yards on four receptions. Cook scored his first touchdown in a Raider uniform on a 21-yard pass from Carr.

Carr was also sacked four times, another rarity for the Silver and Black who only surrendered 16 sacks in 2016.  Oakland’s stout offensive line has already gotten Carr sacked six times this season through three games.

Oakland’s defense was paced by linebacker Cory James, who recorded a team-high 12 tackles and one forced fumble. Defensive end Khalil Mack recorded his second sack of the season while finishing with nine tackles on the night for Oakland, who allowed 472 yards offensively to Washington on Sunday night.

Washington starting quarterback Kirk Cousins torched the Raiders, passing for 365 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions. Cousins completed 25-of-30 passes and finished with a blistering 150.7 passer rating against Oakland, who couldn’t keep running back Chris Thompson at bay the entire night.

Thompson hauled in six receptions for 150 yards (74 yards coming on an easy pitch-and-catch

But the lack of production from Oakland’s top receivers was the real eye-popping issue from the game.

Washington’s secondary led by the trash-talking Josh Norman, the Redskins’ top cornerback, were in the faces of Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Washington held the duo in check, limiting Cooper and Crabtree to just two receptions for 13 yards on eight targets.

Crabtree and Cooper will have their work cut out for them again Sunday when they have Denver’s stellar pair of cornerbacks in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., lined up against them, especially when  Crabtree and Talib line up.

Who can forget when Talib ripped off Crabtree’s gold chain following a play in last year’s season finale, a 24-6 victory for the Broncos at home?

The Crabtree/Talib matchup could be the best one-on-one matchup within the game, and could prove to be the difference maker in a win for either team.

Denver (2-1) is coming off a 26-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Western New York last week. The Broncos defense recorded four sacks and held Buffalo to 272 yards of total offense. Linebacker Brandon Marshall recorded a team-high 10 tackles and one sack.

Outside linebacker Von Miller also posted a sack, but his 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on third-and-six after not helping up Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, which was an absolute joke, proved to be critical in aiding the Bills to victory.

The Broncos’ defense is one of the best in the league, ranking first in rushing yards per game allowed (59.7), fourth in total yards per game allowed (263), 10th in passing yards per game allowed (203.3) and 16th in points per game allowed (21.3) through three games.

Oakland has the ninth-best offense in the league, averaging 27 points per game.

Offensively, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas led Denver with six receptions for 98 yards, but quarterback Trevor Siemian didn’t pass the ball well, completing 24-for-40 passes for 259 yards and like Carr in Washington, threw two interceptions against the Bills.

Siemian finished with a 58.2 passer rating on the day.

With Kansas City sitting on top of the AFC West at 3-0 and both teams needing to keep pace, Sunday’s game is most certainly a must win.

After the embarrassing showing in Washington where many critics started to question the Raiders’ effort on national television, what team will show up in Denver?

The one that resembled a powerhouse team after vanquishing Tennessee and the New York Jets almost with ease?

Or the team that was hung upside down by their ankles in Washington, watching all of their lunch money spill out?












Carr continues to steer Raiders in right direction with Denver looming

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — Winning football games in the NFL are extremely difficult, especially when you don’t have a quarterback.

Ask teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears and the New York Jets who are playing musical chairs at the game’s most critical and scrutinized position how difficult it is to win in the NFL.

Those teams are a combine 5-25 this seasons, while the likes of the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and the Atlanta Falcons are a combine 24-4 this season with smart signal callers who can take over games.

Then there is Derek Carr and the 6-2 Oakland Raiders who continue to surprise each week.

Carr, who has ice water in his veins to go along with great confidence, plays more like a 10-year veteran than a third-year quarterback as evidence to his record-setting performance in Oakland’s wild 30-24 overtime victory in Tampa in Week 8.

The Oakland quarterback threw for 513 yards (setting a new franchise record, breaking the mark held by Cotton Davidson), with four touchdowns and no interceptions on 40-of-59 passes against the Buccaneers.

Carr and the Raiders’ offense racked up 626 total yards while dominating the time of possession by nearly 15 minutes. Tampa Bay’s defense looked gassed under the sweltering West Florida sun, staying on the field for 85 plays Sunday.

Carr found wide receiver Seth Roberts for a 41-yard catch-and-run touchdown down the middle of the field with under two minutes in overtime. Before that, Carr found tight end Mychal Rivera for the game-tying score with 1:38 left.

The win moved Oakland to 5-0 on the road this season. It’s the first time that the franchise is 5-0 on the road in a season since 1977.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Raiders became the 46th team under the current playoff format to win five straight road games in a season.

The previous 45 teams have all gone on to make the playoffs that season.

On the season, Carr has thrown for 17 touchdowns (third-best) to just three interceptions. His 2,231 yards through the air ranks him fifth among all quarterbacks in the league.

But many outside of the Bay Area aren’t sold on the Raiders, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2002 which is the last time Oakland played in the Super Bowl, because they don’t have a signature win.

With the hated Denver Broncos coming into town and the game being featured on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Carr and the Raiders will have a chance to show the rest of the country how good they really are with first place in the highly competitive AFC West at stake.

Denver (6-2) dropped division rival San Diego at home 27-19 Sunday behind their punishing third ranked defense.

Super Bowl 50 MVP linebacker Von Miller recorded one of four sacks on the day for Denver. Miller is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks this season.

The defense also added three interceptions, one of which was returned 49 yards for a touchdown by free safety Bradley Roby in the second quarter against San Diego Sunday.

This is the type of game that Carr and the Raiders must get up for more so than the previous eight games this season.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper had a career day, victimizing Tampa Bay for 12 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown, while fellow wide receiver Michael Crabtree added eight catches for 108 yards against the Buccaneers.

Cooper is third among NFL wide receivers with 787 receiving yards, while Crabtree is tied with Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans for the league lead in touchdown catches with six.

The duo are considered one of the best in the league, but will have their hands full with Denver’s cornerback tandem in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, Jr.

Talib and Harris Jr. lead one of the best secondaries in the league, along with hard-hitting safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart. Denver surrenders a league-low 183.9 passing yards per game to opposing teams, while Oakland averages 285 passing yards per game, fourth-best in the league.

Despite recording a league-record 23 penalties for 200 yards on Sunday (yes, that is two football fields worth of penalties if you’re scoring at home), the Raiders are proving that they can play with anybody because they have a quarterback

Oakland’s 31st ranked defense which has allowed 410.4 yards per game to opposing offenses, yielded just 270 yards of total offense against the Buccaneers.

After a slow start, linebacker Khalil Mack has returned to dominating fashion. Mack registered two sacks off Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, giving him five of Oakland’s 11 sacks for the season.

Carr who has quickly become an MVP candidate, and the  will need to lead Oakland to victory over the Super Bowl champs if the Raiders are to garner any respect outside of the 510 area code.