Photo credit: mercurynews.com
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
The Raiders were looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season but failed to do so, losing to the Bengals 30-16 on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
Oakland (3-11) is now 1-6 on the road this season.
Quarterback Derek Carr completed 21-of-38 passes for 263 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. It was the ninth straight game that Carr didn’t throw an interception in a game. But Carr almost did throw an interception in the first quarter on Oakland’s first possession of the game, but Bengals safety Shawn Williams dropped the ball.
In the game, Carr moved past Rich Gannon for the most consecutive passes without an interception (277) in team history on his 14th pass.
Gannon established the franchise record back in 2001.
But it took the Raiders six possessions to score their first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard pass from Carr to tight end Lee Smith in the second quarter with Oakland already down 17-0. Smith, who is known more for his blocking, has scored a touchdown in three-straight games.
Oakland’s first five possessions of the game went like this: punt, a fumble by Carr, punt, punt, a fumble by running back Jalen Richard inside of their own territory and punt. The Raiders lost both fumbles leading to 10 points for Cincinnati.
Behind a makeshift offensive line that was missing left guard Kelechi Osemele, Cincinnati applied pressure to Carr throughout the game, sacking him five times and hitting him seven times on throws. Star defensive tackle Geno Atkins had three sacks and defensive end Sam Hubbard recorded two sacks and a forced fumble.
Carr, who has eight fumbles on the year, lost a fumble for the sixth time this season, establishing a new career-high.
The Raiders finished with eight penalties for 90 yards.
With the Bengals keying in on Carr’s top target in tight end Jared Cook, Jordy Nelson was Oakland’s leading pass catcher Sunday finishing with six catches for 88 yards. Cook, who is in his 10th season in the league (his second in Oakland), had just two catches for 23 yards after catching seven passes for 116 yards.
Cook came into Sunday’s contest with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games is enjoying his finest season this year, with career-highs in catches (63), yards (848) and touchdowns (six) and could be headed to his first Pro Bowl.
Second-year Running back Joe Mixon had a big day for the Bengals (6-8), scoring two touchdowns in the game and rushing for over 100 yards for the second-straight week. Mixon rushed for 129 yards on 27 carries against the Raiders after rushing for 111 yards on 26 carries in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Before suffering a knee injury in the first half that would sideline him for the rest of the day, third-year wide receiver Tyler Boyd would eclipse 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
Boyd finished with just four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown, but he became just the first wide receiver not named A.J. Green to record a 1,000-yard season — and not since Chad Johnson in 2009 — to do so, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Green is currently on injured reserve with a foot injury.
Third-year quarterback Jeff Driskel struggled in his third start since taking over for starter Andy Dalton (hand), who is also on injured reserve. Driskel did find Boyd on a 7-yard score for the game’s first score, but finished 14-of-33 for 130 yards and an interception.
Next week, the Raiders return home to take on their AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve in what could be the final game ever for the Raiders in Oakland.
The Raiders don’t have a signed lease to play at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for 2019.
Denver (6-8) fell to the visiting Cleveland Browns 17-16 at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on Saturday.