Raiders nipped by Browns, remain winless

Turnovers loom large in Oakland’s loss at Cleveland

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

CLEVELAND — Brian Hoyer completed 19-of-28 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown, as the Cleveland Browns forced three turnovers to upend the Oakland Raiders 23-13 Sunday afternoon in Week 8 action.

Andrew Hawkins caught a game-high seven passes for 88 yards, including a four-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to push Cleveland’s lead, 16-6 at 14:51 mark in the fourth quarter.

Browns’ strong safety Donte Whitner leveled Raiders’ running back Darren McFadden late in the third quarter, forcing McFadden to fumble which was recovered by cornerback Joe Haden to give Cleveland the ball clinging to a 9-6 lead. Haden led Cleveland with eight tackles.

Running back Ben Tate finished with 15 carries for 26 yards and a touchdown for Cleveland (4-3), who bounced back after falling to the Jaguars 24-6, in Jacksonville in Week 7. Cleveland was horrendous on third down, converting 2-of-12 opportunities, while gaining 15 first downs.

Paul Kruger sacked Raiders quarterback Derek Carr three times, and recorded a forced fumble.

Oakland (0-7) have now lost their 13 straight game dating back to last season, but this loss is tough to swallow.

Whenever Carr wasn’t under pressure, he actually threw the ball well, completing 34-of-54 passes for 328 and a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andre Holmes in the fourth quarter to make the score 23-13.  Oakland controlled the time of possession, 34:52 to 25:08, but fumbled the ball four times, two by Carr.

The Raiders’ 32nd ranked running attack had its moments, but still couldn’t muster its first 100-yard runner of the season with the aforementioned McFadden finishing with 59 rushing yards on 12 carries. Oakland ran the ball early well in the game, but appeared to abandon the run as Cleveland’s defense started to clamp down as the game wore on.

With Cleveland leading 3-0 in the first quarter and Oakland’s opening drive stalled, the Raiders outsmarted themselves by faking a field goal that lead to place kick holder Matt Schaub throwing an interception to Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.

That was the sign of things to come for Oakland who remains 0-for-2014, and may have squandered one of their best chances to win a football game this season.

The Silver & Black continue their two-game road trip with a voyage to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks in Week 9.

Seattle gritted out a 13-9 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte Sunday to improve to 4-3 behind quarterback Russell Wilson’s 20-of-32 passing for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception performance.

Coupled that with games divisional games against Denver, San Diego, and Kansas City, Oakland could be 0-11 by Thanksgiving.

Defensively, linebackers Sio Moore and Miles Burris each recorded nine tackles to lead Oakland.




Raiders fly to Cleveland with Sunday date with Browns

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Still in search of win No. 1 on the season, the Silver and Black head to Cleveland to take on the up-and-down Browns Sunday. The game can be seen locally in the Bay Area on CBS/KPIX Channel 5 at 1:25 p.m. PDT.

Quarterback Derek Carr completed 16-of-28 passes for 173 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions, in Oakland’s 24-13 loss to the visiting Arizona Cardinals last Sunday at Coliseum.

Scoring-wise, Oakland was led by two Sebastian Janikowski  field goals and a one-yard touchdown run by running back, Darren McFadden. McFadden rushed for 48 yards on 14 carries, leading the Raiders’ ground game.

Defensively, free safety Charles Woodson recorded his 58th career interception, and rookie linebacker Khalil Mack led the team with a game-high 10 tackles (1 assisted),  but Oakland never seemed to get on track against Arizona.

Outside of strong safety Usama Young’s sack, Palmer threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-31 completions. Not only did Oakland lose their 12th straight game dating back to last season, but loss key pieces to their defenses.

The aforementioned Young tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee and, starting defensive end LaMarr Woodley tore his biceps. Both players are going to be lost for the season, adding to Oakland’s dreadful season that just gets bleaker by the minute.

At 0-6, Oakland is off to its worst start in 52 years.

But could Sunday’s trek to Northeast Ohio be Oakland’s best chance at securing their first win of the season?

At 3-3 in a hotly contested AFC North, the Cleveland Browns are an enigma.

A team that throttled the Pittsburgh Steelers at home 31-10 in Week 6 behind quarterback Brian Hoyer’s 217 passing yards and a touchdown, Cleveland looked horrible in a 24-6 loss in Week 7 at winless Jacksonville. The Browns were 0-of-2 from inside the red zone for the game and

Cleveland is one of those teams that makes you want to believe in them and take them as a serious playoff contender this year, but wets the bed against a team that on paper, they should’ve beaten.

Jacksonville rookie running back Denard Robinson steamrolled Cleveland’s 32nd ranked rushing defense for 127 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.

Oakland’s 32nd ranked rushing offense should be chomping at the bit ready to run the ball Sunday.

Something has to give right?

Players to Watch

Oakland: RB, Darren McFadden – Toss in McFadden’s backfield mate, Maurice Jones-Drew as well. The playbook should be run heavy against the Browns and both McFadden and Jones-Drew should find running lanes against a porous Cleveland run defense.

Cleveland: WR, Travis Benjamin – With Cleveland’s passing game just ho-hum on the outside without dynamic wide receiver Josh Gordon (suspension), Benjamin and speedy WR Andrew Hawkins have provided the Browns a tourniquet at the position. Hawkins leads Cleveland in catches (29) and receiving yards (382), while Benjamin leads the team with three touchdown catches.