Looking for win No. 1, Raiders host Manning, Broncos Sunday

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — After a hard-fought 30-24 loss to the reigning Super Bowl Champion Seahawks in Seattle in Week 9 that dropped Oakland to a league-worst 0-8, the Silver & Black will have a tougher time trying to grab win No. 1 when their AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos, roll into Oakland for a Sunday tilt at O.co Coliseum.

Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. PDT and can be seen locally on television in the Bay Area on CBS/KPIX Channel 5, and can be heard on KGMZ 95.7 the Game.

Offensively, Oakland has had it’s problems running the ball this year, averaging a league-worst 66.1 yards per game and have scored only two rushing touchdowns. Running back Darren McFadden has both touchdowns on the ground.

Quarterback Derek Carr completed 24-of-41 passes for 195 yards, throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions, one of those interceptions was returned 35 yards by linebacker Bruce Irvin for a touchdown that pushed Seattle’s lead to 14-3 in the first quarter. Carr’s second interception was made by Pro Bowl cornerback, Richard Sherman toward the end of the first half.

“This thing is starting to turn,” interim Oakland coach Tony Sparano said after the Silver & Black’s 14th straight loss dating back to last season. “We’re playing better and better here as we go on. We’ve just got to get all phases to play better, so that we can get the feeling of what it’s like to be in their locker room right now.”

Defensively, the Raiders surrendered 326 yards of total offense and held Oakland native Marshawn Lynch to just 67 yards rushing, but it was Lynch’s powerful three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter where he bulldozed his way into the end zone that still have fans talking.

Lynch added another touchdown in the second quarter that gave Seattle a 21-6 lead at halftime.

With a banged up secondary (cornerbacks Carlos Rogers, D.J. Hayden, Chimdi Chekwa and T.J. Carrie all didn’t practice Thursday), Oakland could definitely be in for a rough Sunday afternoon against future Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning and the fifth-ranked Denver Broncos offense.

Manning and the Broncos (6-2) are coming off an embarrassing 43-21 loss on the road against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Foxborough last Sunday, and Manning was critical of his play after the game.

“Well, I don’t usually stink, but I stunk today,” said Manning. “I don’t make any excuses.”

The Broncos signal caller completed 34-of-57 passes for 438 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but the Broncos were done in by Brady’s four touchdown passes and Julian Edelman’s 84-yard punt return for a touchdown.

If Manning thought his performance against the Patriots was terrible, then Oakland is expected to see an “ugly” Manning performance on Sunday.

In two victories over the Raiders last season, Manning completed 87 percent (57-of-65) passes for 640 yards (2nd only to the 726 yards passing against Kansas City in two games last year) and seven touchdowns (tied for most after Manning’s seven touchdown performance in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens) according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Players to Watch

Oakland, FS, Charles Woodson. Woodson is still playing at a high level, leading a Raiders’ secondary that has been decimated by injuries this year. Now in his 17th season, Woodson leads the team with two interceptions, and is tied for third with 50 tackles.

Don’t forget, Woodson beat out Manning for the Heisman Trophy in 1997, but Manning was drafted ahead of Woodson No. 1 overall to Indianapolis, while Woodson went to Oakland at No. 4 that year.

Denver, WR, Emmanuel Sanders. Everyone knows Demaryius Thomas (third in the NFL among wide receivers with 54 catches for 894 yards and six touchdowns). Get to know Sanders.

After spending his first four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sanders is off a great start to in his first year in the Mile High City. Sanders hauled in 10 catches on 16 targets for 151 yards against the Patriots, after torching the San Diego Chargers for nine catches on nine targets for 120 yards in Denver’s 35-21 victory.

San Antonio Raiders?

Per Raiders Insider CSNCalifornia.com’s Scott Bair, the San Antonio News reported Thursday that a group led by former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros are heading to the Bay Area to gauge team owner Mark Davis about moving to the Alamo City.

The News Express reports that Raiders officials toured the Alamodome and deemed NFL-ready and usable while a new stadium is built.

“We’re going to present San Antonio’s strengths and assets in the most persuasive way possible,” Cisneros told the newspaper. “We have a very, very good opportunity to set it forth in a way the Raiders can digest.”

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

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 O.co 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.

 

 

Oakland looks to avoid 0-3 start travelling to Foxborough

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — At 0-2, the Oakland Raiders finds themselves quickly swimming upstream this year.

OK, you can say that it’s early in the NFL season and half the League is 1-1 or 0-2 but for the Raiders, it feels like they’re 0-4.

David Carr has played steady in his first two career starts, but has shown at times to be wild with the passes. Carr has thrown for 414 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions, one of which came while getting hit on the throw.

The running game has been non-existent in two games, averaging a pedestrian 63 yards rushing per game, 31st in the League ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars (44.5 rushing yards per game).

Running backs Maurice Jones-Drew (9 carries, 11 rushing yards,1.2 yards per carry, 0 TDs) and Darren McFadden (16 carries, 52 carries, 3.3 yards per carry, 1 TD) need to get it going and take some of the pressure off of Carr. MJD underwent a procedure on his broken right hand last week and didn’t suit up Sunday.

Monday the team added former San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown to an already questionable receiving corps, that includes James Jones, Rod Streater, Denarius Moore, and Andre Holmes.

Brown caught 41 passes for 472 yards and a touchdown for San Diego last season, after missing 2012 with a broken ankle. 

Jones leads the team with 12 catches, for 146 yards receiving, and two touchdowns, but 112 of those yards came in the team’s home opener, a 30-14 loss to the Houston Texans.

Defensively, the team is not good, ranking 32nd in most categories most notably, against the run. Oakland has given up 100 yards on the ground in back-to-back weeks, and have gotten manhandled upfront.

The expected strength of the team with key veteran additions such as defensive end Justin Tuck, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, cornerbacks  Terrell Brown and Carlos Rogers, it looks like Father Time has finally caught up with them.

“We suck…I’m embarrased,” veteran safety Charles Woodson said after Sunday’s 30-14 loss to the visiting Houston Texans.

Oakland’s play needs to improve, according to Raiders head coach, Dennis Allen, whose job is clearly on the hot seat as he sports an 8-26 record.

“Well, we need to go out and prove it on the field,” Allen said Wednesday during his weekly press conference.

“Like I said the other day, the talk is cheap. We’ve got to go out and play well. I think we’ve got more talent on this football team and we need to go out there and play like it on Sunday.”

The team will have another opportunity to get their first win of the season Sunday, when Oakland travels to Foxborough to take on the 1-1 New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady and mastermind head coach, Bill Belichick.

Belichick (per CSNCalifornia.com Raiders Insider, Scott Bair)  expects to see a different Raiders team than the one he saw tape on against Houston.

“Based on the comments that I’ve seen out of there and the leadership that they have on that team, the veterans that they have on that team, I’m sure that we’ll come in here and we won’t see the team we saw against Houston last week,”  Belichick said.

“That’s what we’re getting ready for – we’re getting ready for their best game. I don’t think the Houston game was probably it.”

New England is coming off a comfortable victory Sunday, 30-7, in Minnesota. The Patriots defense abused former Brady understudy, Matt Cassell, intercepting the Vikings quarterback four times and sacking him six times, that prompted the home crowd to chant “Teddy!” “Teddy!” in hopes to see rookie backup quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater.

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive end Chandler Jones each recorded two sacks.

Oakland, who currently sport the longest losing streak in the League (eight consecutive games dating back to November of last year),  is going to have its work cut out for them Sunday against a Patriots team that were 9-0 at home last season, including the playoffs.

New England has won the past three straight games against the Silver and Black, who have dropped 12 of 13 on the road.

Catch the game on CBS at 10 a.m.

Players to Watch:

Oakland: Quarterback Derek Carr. Carr will need to make smart decisions with the football, especially with former All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis lurking in the secondary. Carr completed 27 of 42 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown, but with two interceptions in Sunday’s loss to Houston.

New England: Running back Stevan Ridley. Ridley ran through the Vikings defense, carrying the ball 25 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Ridley only had 21 yards rushing on eight carries in the Patriots 33-20 loss in Miami in Week 1.

 

Fitzpatrick, Foster spoil Raiders Home Opener

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 139 yards on 14-of-19 passes and two touchdowns, while running back Arian Foster galloped for 138 yards rushing on 28 carries and a touchdown as the Houston Texans forced four turnovers and spoiled the Oakland Raiders home opener, 30-14 in front of 54,063 fans.

“Overall, I thought we played well, but we need to play better,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said after the game. We got to protect the ball better.”

Houston (2-0) took their first two drives 80 and 70 yards, the first one culminating in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to an tight end-eligible defensive end, J.J. Watt; the second on a 6-yard touchdown run by Foster to put Houston up, 14-0 in the first quarter. The Texans controlled the ball for 13:30 in the first quarter, compared to 1:30 for Oakland.

Overall, Houston won the time of possession battle, keeping the ball for 38:36, while Oakland only mustering 21:24.

Veteran Raider safety Charles Woodson summed up the loss the best.

“We suck,” Woodson said. “That’s as blunt as I can put it. For whatever reason, defensively we just won’t stop people, especially early in games. Every drive, every first drive, teams are able to go and get points. Today, it happened all day. Offensively, we put the ball on the ground. We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize on it. Collectively, we look bad.”

After cornerback Kareem Jackson returned an interception off quarterback Derek Carr 56 yards, Houston added a Randy Bullock 33-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-0 at halftime.

Andre Johnson led all Texans receivers with six catches and 74 yards, while DeAndre Hopkins had three catches, including a 12-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter to run Houston’s lead, 24-0.

Cornerback Johnathan Joseph recovered a Mychal Rivera fumble and returned it 49 yards to setup a Bullock 39-yard field to push the Texans lead to 27-0.

Derek Carr didn’t have one of his better days as a pro for Oakland.

Carr completed 27-of-42 for 263 yards passing and a late nine-yard touchdown to wide receiver James Jones, but threw two interceptions, the final one coming after Watt hit him as he threw and linebacker Brooks Reed making the play.

Jones was Carr’s favorite  target, as the quarterback targeted Jones 14 times, with Jones finishing with 112 receiving yards.

But it was Jone’s double fumble that really did the Raiders in on this day.

Jones caught a pass from Carr and lost the ball away twice on the same play, gained 14 yards, but he lost the ball on a hit by Joseph, picked it back up and raced for more yardage until Joseph recovered, forced another fumble and safety D.J. Swearinger recovered at the 3-yard line.

Oakland, showed again the inability to run the ball. Carr led all rushers with 58 yards on four carries, but 41 yards came off on one rush.

Running back Darren McFadden (starting for the injured Maurice Jones-Drew), gained only 37 yards on the ground on 12 carries, but did record his first rushing touchdown of the season with a six-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, Oakland had some bright spots, but didn’t have the same competitiveness today as it showed in last week’s 19-14 loss to the Jets in New York.

Sure safety Tyvon Branch led the team with 12 tackles (10 solo), and Woodson chipped in with eight tackles (7 solo), but the team couldn’t rush the quarterback. Oakland only recorded one quarterback hit on the day.

In two games, the Silver and Black only have two sacks. Branch has one of them.

Now staring down the gun barrel of an 0-2 start, Oakland is hitting the road for 11 days with games in New England and “home” against the Miami Dolphins in London, may be in danger of falling to 0-4 before the bye week in Week 5 if they don’t get their acts together.

“It’s disappointing,” Woodson  later added.

“I don’t know what else to say about it. Coming into the season we felt a lot better about where we were at that point. For whatever reason we haven’t put it together on the field.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raiders head to Arrowhead looking for 7th Straight win in Kansas City

By. Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — After dispatching fellow AFC West foe the San Diego Chargers 27-17 last week at home, the Oakland Raiders (2-3) hit the road to take on another AFC West foe, the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) Sunday at Arrowhead. Oakland is seeking their seventh straight win in Kansas City, dating back to 2007.

With former incumbent quarterback Matt Flynn being released on Monday, the Raiders have officially become Terrelle Pryor’s team. On the Flynn experiment, head coach Dennis Allen mentioned “it just didn’t work” during the team’s press conference Monday.

Pryor looked good in the pocket while playing the best football of his career last Sunday night against San Diego, completing 18-of-23 passes for 221 yards and two first quarter touchdowns.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Pryor currently ranks fourth in the NFL in completion percentage, completing 72.7 percent of his passes from the pocket, which is higher than more accomplish quarterbacks such as Drew Brees (69.7), Matt Ryan (69.3), and Aaron Rodgers (66.4).

The one player that will give Oakland its best chance at collecting their seventh straight win at Arrowhead is wide receiver Denarius Moore.

In Oakland’s 26-16 victory last season at Arrowhead, Moore played a vital role in the win, hauling in 96 yards on five catches including a nine-yard touchdown grab. Over the past three games, Moore has 20 catches for 274 receiving yards (18 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. Moore is Pryor’s first option when he drops back to pass.

First-year Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has pumped new blood into Kansas City after their dismal 2-14 season a year ago.

Kansas City took down the Tennessee Titans, 26-17 in Nashville last week, and is playing great football which will be a huge challenge for the Silver and Black.

After playing musical chairs at quarterback, Kansas City traded a conditional second round pick in next year’s draft for former San Francisco 49ers’ No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Alex Smith. Smith isn’t your typical strong-armed quarterback (18th-best quarterback according to nfl.com), but has been very accurate for Kansas City. Smith has thrown seven touchdowns and only three interceptions, but the offense isn’t what makes this team click.

Its the seventh ranked defense (first in points scored against per game at 11.6) in the NFL that has Kansas City running on all cylinders.

Linebacker Justin Houston is the straw that stirs the drink for Kansas City’s defense. Houston is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks and will no doubt be keeping his eyes on Pryor’s every move. Fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson leads Kansas City with 35 tackles (31 solo).

Kansas City’s has a very formidable defensive line led by defensive end Tamba Hali and rookie defensive tackle, Dontari Poe. Facing the Chiefs defense won’t be a day at the park for Oakland.

Oakland has got to play near flawless football if they expect to leave Arrowhead with a 3-3 record heading into their bye week next week.

Player to Watch for Oakland:

No. 24) Charles Woodson (FS) — The reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week is still playing at a high level at this stage of his career. Against San Diego, Woodson tied the NFL’s all-time record for defensive touchdowns when he recovered a third-quarter fumble, giving him 13 for his career. Woodson’s fourth-quarter interception sealed the win for Oakland.

Player to Watch for Kansas City:

No. 24) Brandon Flowers (CB) — Flowers is one of the better cornerbacks in the league that no one really talks about since he plays in a small market like Kansas City. Flowers has the ability to take the opposing team’s best wide receiver and shut him down for the game. Expect Flowers to shadow Denarius Moore for much of the game.

 

 

Raiders unplug the Chargers in late-night contest, win 27-17

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by Kahlil Najar

OAKLAND –

In the latest West Coast game in NFL history the Oakland Raiders (2-3) beat the San Diego Chargers (2-3) 27-17 in what was one of the most dominating performances of the defense in years. The Raiders defense forced the Chargers into five turnovers including three interceptions, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a loose ball recovery on a muffed punt. On offense, Terrelle Pryor threw for 221 yards on 18 for 23 passing including two touchdowns – a 44 yard bomb to Rod Streater to start the game and a two yard pass to Denarius Moore.

On his deep pass on the first play from scrimmage, Terrelle Pryor said, “We practiced that play a lot in practice this week. In week one against the Colts I was picked off but me and Coach Olson talked about it last night and he said if I saw him (Streater) get open I should try and get him the ball.”

Pryor’s confidence was obvious to other teammates before but now it was on display for everyone to see. “You can just see his swag back there, he’s playing with a lot of confidence” said Rod Streater who ended the night with three catches for 56 yards including the 44-yard pass to start the game. Pryor completed ten straight passes and said that it “builds (my) confidence and my tempo is right. I’m excited when we start fast.” In face, that touchdown was the first time the Raiders have scored in the first two minutes of a game since week 3 of 2011 against the Jets.

“It’s exciting to see Pryor out there,” said Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen, “He can create those plays and it gives the team confidence.”

The Raiders defense got the game started for the Raiders when on the third play of the game for San Diego, Philip Rivers threw a high floating pass that looked like a punt and landed in the hands of Usama Young for his first interception of the year. On the Raiders very first play from scrimmage, Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson dialed up the 44-yard deep pass to Rod Streater that got the Raiders on the board 7-0. The Raiders next drive saw them go 88 yards in 8 minutes on a nifty play from Pryor who rolled out to the right after his initial check downs were covered and found Denarious Moore in back of the end zone after he stopped on a dime and Chargers Corner Richard Marshall fell out of bounds to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead with a little over a minute left in the first quarter.

The Chargers started the second quarter with the ball on their side of the field and matriculated the ball all the way down to the Raiders ten yard line. After a a run and a passing play, the Chargers decided to go for it on a fourth and one on the goal line and linebacker Kevin Burnett stuffed Danny Woodhead to turn the ball over to the Raiders in their own zone. After a couple first downs the Raiders were forced to punt to the usually reliable Eddie Royal but he muffed the punt and the Raiders special team recovered the ball and gave the Raiders a first down on the Chargers 37-yard line where Sebastian Janikowski was able to convert on a 47-yard field goal attempt to give the Raiders a 17-0 lead into the half.

The third quarter saw Charles Woodson join the ranks of the elite safeties in the NFL.

After a lengthy drive by the Chargers and a field goal by Nick Novak to put them on the board and a quick three-and-out by the Raiders, the Chargers handed history to Woodson in a bag. On second-and-five from the San Diego 35 yard line, Kevin Burnett caused Danny Woodhead to fumble to ball and it landed in Charles Woodson’s hands. With the ball in hand and only Rivers to beat, Woodson leaped into the end zone to give the Raiders a 24-3 lead but also gave him a career total of 13 defensive touchdowns to tie him for the most defensive touchdowns in a career in the history of the NFL with the great Darren Sharper and former Oakland Raider Rod Woodson.

When learning of him tying Rod’s record, Woodson said, “Cousin Rod, I’m coming for you! Nah, it just means that I’m on e of the greatest to ever play the game but the win was what’s most important.”

Philip Rivers, who ended the night with 411 yards passing and two touchdowns, got hot late in the game with touchdown passes to Woodhead and Cal alum Keenan Allen was then stifled again when D.J. Hayden had his first pick of his career in the end zone which looked to seal the deal for the Raiders. However after another quick three-and-out from the Raiders, the Chargers got the ball back with 1:16 left in the game losing by only 10.  After a deep pass to Allen for 30 yards, Rivers threw deep again this time in the middle of the field looking for Eddie Royal but Charles Woodson was able to get in front of the ball and get his first interception of the game to lock it up and put the Raiders into Victory formation.

“It was a great team win. All three phases contributed,” said Allen. “It was outstanding the way we started, and we kept competing all the way to the end. The goal line stand was a critical point in the game.”

The love for Pyror could be heard in the stands as well in the locker room. On his roll out capabilities and extending broken plays, Allen said, “That’s what that kid brings to us. When things aren’t right, he has the ability to make plays.” Charles Woodson echoed the Coaches sentiments saying that, “He’s showing his progress and he can lead this team.”

Terrelle Pryor and Raiders head to Kansas City next week to take on the undefeated Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium. It’ll be a tough game for the Raiders however if they are able to bring this momentum from the game into Arrowhead, the Raiders can prove that they shouldn’t be a forgotten team in the AFC West.

Game Notes:

  • The Chargers, who ranked No. 2 in the NFL in third down efficiency (50%), were 4-for-11 tonight. San Diego also came into the game averaging 27.0 points per game, seventh in the league, and was held to 17.
  • The Raiders continue to not have allowed a first half rushing touchdown, stopping the Chargers on fourth-and-1 in the second quarter. With 27 rushing yards in the first half, the defense is equally stringent, allowing (204) rushing yards in the first half this season, an average of 40.8 (No. 11 in the NFL prior to tonight)
  • It was the second-straight week that the Raiders have not allowed a first-half touchdown.
  • QB Terrelle Pryor is still No. 2 in rushing among quarterbacks behind Michael Vick following 31 yards tonight. He now has 228 on the season.

Raiders face tough test in Denver

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Looking to build off the 19-9 victory in their home opener Sunday over the pathetic Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders head into Denver to face the Broncos on ESPN’s Monday Night Football to wrap up Week 3 in the NFL. Oakland picked up their first win of the season behind a stellar rushing attack, racking up 226 yards.

Running back Darren McFadden was a monster, rushing for 129 yards, including three runs of 20-or-more yards. Terrelle Pryor added in 50 rushing yards, while finishing 15-of-24 for 126 yards passing. Fullback Marcel Reese scored Oakland’s (1-1) only touchdown, on a 11-yard run in the first quarter of Sunday’s game.

What does that say?

Oakland will need more from Pryor and Co. but if Oakland has any chance of winning Monday night, it’s fifth-ranked defense will have to answer the bell against Denver’s third-ranked offense. Oakland leads the NFL with nine sacks on the season after sacking Jaguars quarterback, Chad Henne five times Sunday.  With the news of stellar Broncos’ All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady being lost for the season with a Lis-franc sprain, Oakland’s defensive line could be the difference.

Manning and the Broncos (2-0) return home after beating the New York Giants 41-23 at MetLife Stadium Sunday. After passing for a career-high seven touchdowns in Week 1, Manning was virtually flawless completing 30-of-43 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns in the road win. Denver’s offense totaled 416 yards.

Believe me after seeing that performance, Oakland will have it’s hands full against one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, but Raiders head coach welcomes the challenge.

“This will be the best team we’ve faced and they’re very talented,” Allen said Monday, “so we’re going to have to do a good job of changing things up and mixing some things up, mixing up some looks and be able to play a good, team game.”

Players to Watch for Oakland:

  • No. 2) Terrelle Pryor (QB) — Pryor picked up his first home win (and first win of his career) against Jacksonville and will look to pick up his first road win of his career on national television Monday night. Pryor leads all quarterbacks with 162 rushing yards.
  • No. 24) Charles Woodson (FS) — The Raiders’ veteran starting free safety will be the one who will have to get Oakland’s secondary in place to defend a bevy of Broncos pass-catchers. Woodson finished with six tackles against Jacksonville Sunday.
  • No. 25) D.J. Hayden (CB) — Manning loves testing rookies and Hayden will see a lot of Broncos’ sensational wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas. Good luck.

Players to Watch for Denver:

  • No. 83) Wes Welker (WR) — You think that Tom Brady wishes he had the reliable Welker now?
  • No. 80) Julian Thomas (TE) — Looks like a younger version of San Diego Chargers standout, Antonio Gates. Thomas played power forward at Portland St. In his first start, Thomas recorded five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
  • No. 11) Trindon Holliday (KR) — The reigning AFC Player of the Week  was a blur on his 81-yard punt return for a touchdown that put the final dagger in the Giants’ hearts. The return highlighted Holliday’s day, where he saw four punts and returning them for a 30.3 yards per return. Through two weeks, Holliday is averaging a league-high 19.6 yards per return.

49ers vs Packers, week 1 preview

By Gabe Schapiro

As the now famous song goes, are you ready for some football? The games that count are finally upon us. Football fans everywhere officially have plans for at least the next 17 Sundays, Mondays, and the occasional Thursday. For the San Francisco 49ers (0-0), the hopeful journey back to another Super Bowl run begins this Sunday at 1:25 PM at Candlestick Park, where they will be taking on the Green Bay Packers (0-0). The matchup is a rematch of last year’s divisional playoff round, where, in a game featuring almost nothing but offense, the 49ers eliminated the Packers on the back of a record-breaking 181 rushing yard performance from QB Colin Kaepernick.

Green Bay, the reigning NFC North Champions, went 11-5 last season, but lost some veteran leadership this offseason. Most notably, WR Greg Jennings and S Charles Woodson were lost to free agency, and WR Donald Driver retired. They still feature a high-powered offense, however, led by the newly anointed highest paid player in the NFL, QB Aaron Rodgers. His receiving corps of Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and Randall Cobb remains strong, TE Jermichael Finley is a coverage headache, and new second round draft pick Eddie Lacy from Alabama should give the team a better running threat then they’ve had in years. On the defensive side of the ball they aren’t elite but they have talent, headlined by OLB Clay Matthews, DE B.J. Raji, and their first round pick from this years draft, DE Datone Jones out of UCLA.

They present a very tough opening week for San Francisco, but it’s one that they matched up well against last season. The 49ers have their stout defense returning, one that allowed just two touchdowns in four preseason games. The Packers weak link on offense is their offensive line, one that the likes of Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Justin Smith and company hope to take advantage of to give Rodgers some trouble. The San Francisco offensive attack, especially with Kaepernick leading the read-option, was one that Green Bay simply had no answers for. They’ve had an offseason to learn and adjust, but whether they will be able to slow down the dual-threat that Kaepernick brings to the table remains to be seen.

Beyond Kaepernick, the 49ers final 53-man roster consists of several weapons that the Green Bay defense will have to account for. At receiver, hoping to pick up the slack for the injured Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, they have the new additions of Anquan Boldin through free agency and their fourth round pick Quinton Patton. Boldin is a battle-tested veteran who already appears to have an established chemistry with Kaepernick. Patton, who due to a finger injury only played in two preseason games, has already shown flashes of his explosiveness and potential. Of course, the immensely talented Vernon Davis is back at tight end, as well as the workhorse Frank Gore in the backfield. Davis had a down year last season, but flourished in the playoffs, and Gore has been the definition of consistency through his career.

These two historic franchises both appear to have the pieces in place to be strong contenders again this season. One way or another, it should prove to be an awfully entertaining game as this rivalry intensifies.

Game Notes: This week the Packers added two recently cut 49er quarterbacks, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace…The 49ers traded LB Cam Johnson to the Colts for a future seventh round draft choice, and signed WR Chris Harper, a fourth round pick this year, from the Seahawks practice squad.