Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Will this second meeting with Harper mean he’ll become a Giant?; Johnny Football is out of football again; Will Green and Durant leave Warriors after this season?; plus more

Photo credit: @NBCSGiants

On Headline Sports with Tony Renteria:

#1 The San Francisco Giants had a second meeting with free agent superstar Bryce Harper. Does that look like an indication that Harper likes what the Giants organization is all about and what they have to offer?

#2 Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was released by the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes for violations of his contract. The Alouettes further informed the other eight teams in the CFL of Manziel’s release. The Alouettes did not give a reason why he was being released. But sources say Manziel violated his confidentiality agreement. It was reported that the CFL ordered his release.

#3 The Golden State Warriors have lost three of their last four games and have showed signs of tiring. They trailed the Miami Heat in Wednesday night’s game and talk has it that besides Kevin Durant who could go shopping after this season Draymond Green could announce for free agency after next season as well.

#4 The Sacramento Kings are coming off a tough loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night and hosted the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night and lost 141-140. The Kings–even when they lose–still make it interesting right until the end of the game.

#5 How concerned should the Oakland A’s be about their starting rotation now that pitchers Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk are returning from surgery from last season? Can the A’s rotation stay healthy this season?

Join Tony each Thursday for Headline Sports at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland Raiders podcast with Joe Hawkes Beamon: Raiders’ Carr with some successes, but looking for that one win

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the Raiders podcast with Joe:

#1 Joe, how much has the firing of Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, the City of Oakland’s lawsuit against the Raiders and the team looking for a site to play in for 2019 had on the focus of this team?

#2 Quarterback Derek Carr has not thrown an interception in nine straight games in spite of losing most of those games.

#3 Carr set a Raiders record for the most games without throwing an interception, breaking former Raider quarterback Rich Gannon’s record.

#4 The Broncos (6-8) no doubt come to Oakland (3-11) frustrated after losing a one-point contest to the Cleveland Browns 17-16. The loss eliminated the Broncos from postseason play.

#5 It’s the Broncos and the Raiders for Monday Night Football on primetime TV. What are some of the goals for Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr going into this one?

Joe does the Raiders podcasts each Friday and will have the game recap following Monday Night Football at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Raiders three-point stance: Three takeaways from Raiders’ OT win over Browns

Photo credit: @theorganicfrost

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND, Calif — The Raiders can finally breathe a little bit after picking up win No. 1, defeating the visiting Cleveland Browns 45-42 in overtime in front of an announced crowd of 53,387 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday.

It was a roller-coaster fourth quarter for the Silver and Black, who held a six-point lead with 10 minutes to go, but managed to let it slip away.

Cleveland scored two unanswered touchdowns, but the Raiders (1-3) managed to tie the game with 30 seconds remaining and force overtime where they won the game behind rookie kicker Matt McCrane’s 29-yard field goal.

McCrane missed a 50-yard field goal attempt on the Raiders’ first possession of overtime, but Oakland’s defense forced the Browns to punt and quarterback Derek Carr drove the Raiders into position to kick the eventual game-winning field goal.

Here are my three takeaways from the Raiders’ win over the Browns:

Derek Carr needs to tame the turnovers
Sure, Carr completed 35-of-58 passes for 437 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions. In the four games he’s played this season, Carr has thrown two or more interceptions in three of them.

No other quarterback in the league has more interceptions than Carr, who leads the NFL with seven interceptions. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Carr has thrown four of those interceptions on first down.

I get it, Carr is going to take chances to make the big-play, but not every throw needs to be risky. The pair of interceptions that Carr threw today put the Raiders in tough spots.

With Oakland trailing 17-14 and looking for points late in the first-half, Carr tried to hit tight end Jared Cook that would’ve set Oakland up in field goal range, but the ball bounced of Cook’s hands and landed in Browns cornerback E.J. Gaines’s hands that thwarted any scoring chances for the Silver and Black.

Carr’s second interception came on Oakland’s first possession in the third quarter. Oakland was driving before Carr lofted a pass down the left sideline into double-coverage that was intended for wide receiver Martavis Bryant that would be picked off by cornerback Damarious Randall. Randall would return the interception 50 yards to set up Cleveland for an easy score.

Three plays later, Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield found wide receiver Jarvis Landry for a two-yard score that gave Cleveland a 14-point lead.

Marshawn Lynch should be averaging 20 carries a game
With the NFL turning into a passing league with teams opting for multiple wide receiver formations, it was good to see a running back get 20 carries in a football game.

In the midst of Carr throwing the football 58 times, running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for 130 yards on 20 carries, his most productive game in four years. Lynch’s 52-yard blast down the Browns’ sideline late in the third quarter was vintage ‘Beast Mode’ as he alluded a bevy of Cleveland defenders before being brought down.

The run would setup a 29-yard field goal by Matt McCrane that cut Cleveland’s lead 28-24.

With each game, Lynch’s carries and workload has increased:

  • 11 carries for 41 yards and one touchdown in 33-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at home in Week 1.
  • 18 carries for 65 yards and one touchdown in 20-19 loss to the Broncos in Denver in Week 2.
  • 19 carries for 64 yards and one touchdown in 28-20 loss to the Dolphins in Miami in Week 3.
  • 20 carries for 130 yards in 45-42 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 4.

The Raiders need to give the ball to Lynch more as life for Carr will become that much easier. Simply put, feed the beast.

Oakland’s defense deserves a gold star for its efforts
The Raiders have been racked over the hot coals for the trading of premiere pass rusher in defensive end Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears a week before the start of the regular season, and rightfully so, but the effort and energy the unit played with today has to be recognized.

In the first three games, Oakland’s defense forced just one turnover before recording three on Sunday which kept the Raiders close throughout the game.

Second-year cornerback Gareon Conley delivered the game’s first score, by intercepting a Baker Mayfield pass that bounced off the hands of wide receiver Antonio Callaway and into Conley’s who returned the pass 36 yards for the touchdown.

Oakland forced a pair of second-half fumbles that set up the Raiders for scoring opportunities that kept the game tight. The Raiders did yield 487 yards of total offense to the Browns, including two long touchdowns, but did manage to force four turnovers (two force fumbles and two interceptions) off Mayfield.

Mayfield finished 21-of-41 for 295 yards and two touchdowns in his first-career start.

Linebacker Bruce Irvin and rookie defensive tackle Maurice Hurst each recorded a sack for Oakland.

Up next for Oakland: A trip to Los Angeles to take on AFC West rival the Chargers in Week 5, before flying over to London for a Week 6 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.

McCrane’s field goal wins it for the Raiders in overtime 45-42

Photo credit:

By Jeremy Kahn

OAKLAND — Despite the fact that the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns entered the game with a combined record of 1-4-1, this was a heavyweight bout that went the distance.

Rookie Matt McCrane kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:46 remaining in overtime, as the Raiders came back from a 14-point third quarter deficit to defeat the Browns 45-42 before a crowd of 53,387 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

McCrane, who missed a 50-yard field goal on the Raiders initial series in the overtime, but Derek Carr and the Raiders drove down the field after stopping the Browns on their only possession of overtime and the Raiders picked up their first win of the season.

It was a huge day for Carr, who went 35-for-58 for 437 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

The win by the Raiders spoiled the starting debut of the Browns number one pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield, who went 21-for-41 for 295 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Mayfield’s first interception gave the Raiders their first points of the afternoon, as Gareon Conley returned the Mayfield pass 36 yards for a touchdown to give the Raiders an early 7-0 lead with 10:01 remaining in the first quarter

On their ensuing possession, the Browns took over eight minutes off the clock and settled for a Greg Joseph 25-yard field goal to get the Browns within four.

After the Joseph field goal, the Raiders began to drive down the field; however, the drive stalled at the 29-yard line and the Raiders were forced to settle for a 48-yard field goal off the infield dirt and the McCrane field goal went wide left.

On the first play after the missed field goal, rookie Nick Chubb took the handoff and ran 63 yards for the Browns.

Unfortunately, the Raiders could not do anything on their next series and were forced to punt the ball back to the Browns.

Just four plays into the drive, Mayfield found Darren Fells for his first NFL touchdown and after the subsequent two-point conversion, the Browns led 17-7.

Carr drove the Raiders right back down the field and the drive ended, when Carr found Amari Cooper for an eight-yard touchdown pass to get the Raiders within three of the visitors from Cleveland.

Joseph gave the Browns a 20-14 lead on their first possession of the third quarter, as he hit a 28-yard field.

Carr then was picked by Damarious Randall on the third play of the next drive and returned the interception 50 yards to the Raiders’ 31-yard line, and the Browns immediately took advantage of the turnover.

Rashaan Melvin was called for a 24-yard pass interference penalty that gave the Browns a first-and-goal at the Raiders seven-yard line. Two plays later, Mayfield found Jarvis Landry for a two-yard touchdown pass and after it looked like, the Raiders stopped Duke Johnson on the two-point conversion, it was reviewed and the call was overturned to give the Browns a 28-14 lead.

After another punt by the Raiders, the Browns could have put the game away; however, that plan went awry.

Rookie Mo Hurst hit Mayfield, who fumbled the ball and Johnathan Hankins recovered the ball on the Browns seven-yard line.

Two plays later, Carr cut the Browns lead in half, as he found Jared Cook for a seven-yard touchdown pass.

Over the next three possessions, the two teams kept punting the ball back to each other that is until McCrane hit a 29-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Mayfield was then sacked again, and fumbled the ball and once again, and Hankins was all over it.

Carr then gave the Raiders the lead, when he found Jordy Nelson for a 19-yard touchdown pass to give the Raiders a three-point lead.

After another three and out by the Browns, McCrane kicked a career-long 44 field goal to increase the Raiders lead up to six.

The Raiders almost got the ball back on the kickoff, as McCrane recovered the fumble by Antonio Callaway; however, the call was reversed and the Browns took over.

It was Mayfield, who looked like the veteran and not the rookie, as he found Callaway for a 59-yard completion down to the Raiders’ one-yard line.

Carlos Hyde then scored on a one-yard run to give the Browns a one-point lead with 8:11 remaining in the game.

Once again, the Raiders were forced to punt the ball after a three-and-out, they shot themselves in the foot with penalties.

Dwayne Harris committed fair catch interference on Jabrill Peppers, to give the Browns the ball at their own 37-yard line.

Hyde then went 16 yards, and then six before Chubb took the handoff for Mayfield and scored from 41 yards out to extend the Browns lead to eight points.

“That was exciting. I’m happy for him, definitely. He fed off of me, I feed off of him. We gotta keep it going. I love when he breaks those runs,” said Hyde.

After the Browns successfully stopped the Raiders on fourth-and-one at the Browns nine-yard line, the Browns took over and were primed to run out the clock.

Unfortunately, the Browns were unable to run out the clock, as what looked like a first down on a Hyde run was overturned by the officials.

“I definitely thought that we had the first down. But they changed he call, We got to get it right there. If we’re going to win the game, we gotta get that one,” said Hyde.

The Raiders drove right down the field with no timeouts, and Carr found Cook for a seven-yard touchdown and the two-point was good to tie up the game with 30 seconds remaining in the game.

Mayfield and the Browns got the ball back, but Mayfield threw his second interception and then Carr kneeled on the ball to send the game into overtime.

The Raiders got the ball in overtime, but McCrane missed the 50-yard field goal and the Browns were unable to capitalize, as they went three and out to give the ball back to the Raiders.

Carr drove the Raiders down the field, and McCrane ended the game with the 29-yard field goal and Jon Gruden was a winner on the Raiders sideline for the first time since the 2001 AFC Playoffs.

NOTES: Donald Penn was forced to leave the game with a leg injury in the second half, while the Browns lost Safety Terrance Mitchell to a broken wrist in the first half.

UP NEXT: The Raiders head to Los Angeles, where the Raiders will face the Los Angeles Chargers at the Stubhub Center next Sunday at 1:05 pm PT.

Winless Raiders to host Baker Mayfield and the Browns in Week 4

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — With the first quarter of the season drawing to a close, the Oakland Raiders are in dire need of their first win…and they hope it’ll be versus the Cleveland Browns.

After playing two of their first three games of the season on the road, the Raiders return home to play two of their next three games beginning this Sunday when they will host the Browns and rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

Week 4’s matchup will mark only the second time since the Browns have traveled to the Black Hole and their most recent game, in 2015 at Cleveland, the Raiders defeated the Browns 27-20 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PT. The Browns are 12-10 all-time versus the Raiders in the regular season.

Last week, Oakland (0-3) lost to the first-place AFC East Miami Dolphins 28-20 in South Florida. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson had the biggest day for the Raiders, hauling in six catches for 173 yards (28.8 yards per catch) and a touchdown. In his last two meeting with the Dolphins, Nelson has destroyed Miami catching 15 passes for 280 yards (18.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.

Nelson became just the third Raider pass-catcher this season to top 100 yards in a game, joining tight end Jared Cook (180 yards against the Rams in Week 1), and fellow wide receiver Amari Cooper (116 yards against AFC West rival Denver in Week 2), making Oakland one of two teams to accomplish the feat.

Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 345 yards on 27-of-39 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions. It was Carr’s second 300-yard passing day of the season (Carr threw for 303 yards against the Rams in Week 1). Through the first three games of the season, Carr is sixth in the NFL in passing yards per game (302) and second in completion percentage (76.6).

Oakland held a 17-7 lead midway through the third quarter before the Dolphins scored 21 unanswered points in the second-half to overtake the Raiders. Before kicker Mike Nugent booted a 52-yard field goal, the Raiders didn’t score a single point in the fourth quarter in their previous two games.

Speaking of Nugent, the Raiders placed Nugent on injured reserve with a hip injury and signed kicker Matt McCrane. McCrane is in his first year in the NFL after signing as an undrafted free agent with Arizona at the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Strangely, the Raiders have led after three quarters in each of their previous three games but have yet to notch a win this season.

The Browns (1-1-1) are coming off 21-17 victory over the New York Jets in Cleveland on Thursday Night Football. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson is just 2-32-1 as he enters his third season at the helm. Jackson, who spent 2010 as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator, was promoted to head coach in 2011 where he led the club to an 8-8 finish, but wasn’t retained as the team hired Dennis Allen heading into the 2012 season.

Allen finished 8-28 in his two-plus seasons in Oakland before being fired four games into the 2014 season as the team got off to a 1-10 start.

For Cleveland, quarterback Baker Mayfield will make his first-career NFL start when he leads the Browns into the Black Hole. Mayfield was selected first overall by the Browns in this year’s NFL Draft, but the Browns opted to start the season with Taylor under center and wanted Mayfield to watch and learn.

With Cleveland trailing 14-3 shortly before halftime, the rookie replaced veteran Tyrod Taylor, who was already playing poorly completing just 4-of-14 passes for 19 yards, when Taylor suffered his third concussion in the past 13 months.

In the second half, Mayfield energize that team and the home crowd, helping the Browns outscore the Jets 18-3. Mayfield threw for 201 yards on 17-of-23 attempts and even caught a two-point conversion from wide receiver Jarvis Landry that tied the game 14-14 in the third quarter.

Landry caught a game-high eight catches for 103 yards against the Jets, and leads the Browns with 20 catches for 278 yards. Rookie wide receiver Antonio Callaway has the Browns’ lone touchdown catch this season.

Running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 98 yards on 22 attempts and scored two touchdowns last week and given the Raiders inability to stop the run, (Oakland surrenders 116.3 yards on the ground per game, which ranks 22nd in the NFL), there could be some opportunities for Hyde to have another big game.

Defensively, Cleveland has some good, young players on that side of the ball that new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams can mold into a formidable group.

Second-year defensive end Myles Garrett has become one of the more feared pass rushers in the NFL. Garrett’s four sacks this season are tied for the most in the NFL with New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan, Chicago defensive end Khalil Mack (sorry Raider Nation), and Von Miller.

Garrett also has two forced fumbles.

Fellow defensive lineman in second-year defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is quickly making a name for himself too, pacing second on the Browns with three sacks.

Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, who the Browns selected fourth in the same draft as Mayfield, has played great for Cleveland so far this season. In his first pro game, Ward intercepted Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice.

Ward leads the team with two interceptions and along with fellow cornerback Terrance Mitchell, has solidified Cleveland’s pass defense.

Following Sunday’s game, the Raiders heads south to Los Angeles for a tough matchup in the AFC West against the Chargers in Week 5 before flying to London to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, while Cleveland will head home to prepare for back-to-back visits from AFC North rival the Baltimore Ravens and Chargers.

It’s Just My Opinion: 49ers, Kaepernick need each other

AP file photo:  Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Cassius Marsh (91) rushes San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) on Sunday, January 1, 2017, at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 25-23. Al Golub/CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

SANTA CLARA Calif — With incumbent starter Colin Kaepernick most likely opting out of his contract, along with backups Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and Thad Lewis (who spent the entire 2016 season on injured reserve) all set to be unrestricted free agents, the San Francisco 49ers could find themselves in murky waters at the most important position once free agency opens up on March 9 at 1:00 p.m. PT.

The NFL Scouting Combine begins next week where the likes of Clemson signal-caller Deshaun Watson and North Carolina’s quarterback Mitch Trubisky will be on display for teams in dire need of a quarterback.

San Francisco (2-14), who own the second overall pick in April’s draft, fall in line with the 1-15 Cleveland Browns who have the first overall pick and are in desperate need of a quarterback, after having a league-high six different quarterbacks take a snap in 2016.

New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco’s fourth head coach in four years), who oversaw the NFL’s highest scoring offense at 33.8 points per game, doesn’t have a quarterback like Matt Ryan to run his uptempo offense currently on the roster for the 49ers.

Ryan passed for 4,944 yards with 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions while taking home the MVP trophy and being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year for his spectacular season guiding the Atlanta Falcons to NFC Championship, before losing to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

It may be tempting for Shanahan, along with new general manager John Lynch to spend their first round pick on either the aforementioned Watson or Trubisky and let him develop as the 49ers rebuild, but here’s a real idea: Kaepernick should opt-in and remain with the 49ers.

You may ask yourself, why would a natural, gifted athlete like Kaepernick, who started his 10th career game in Super Bowl XLVII (albeit a loss to the Baltimore Ravens), would want to continue a union with an organization that has gone down hill ever since parting ways with Jim Harbaugh in 2015?

It’s quite simple: Kaepernick could resurrect his career under a new regime (while pocketing the $14.5 million he’s owed by opting in for 2017, but gives the team the ability to trade him if the right deal comes along), and the 49ers as an organization, can begin to put the pieces back together with the help of a guy who can unite the locker room.

If you’re Kaepernick, staying with the 49ers gives you the best opportunity to be a starter and San Francisco seems like the more comfortable fit.

I can’t see Kaepernick playing for the Jets, whose head coach in Todd Bowles is entering the 2017 season on the hot seat.

Chicago, who wants to move away from the albatross that is quarterback Jay Cutler, is not an option. The Bears have been rumored to be interested in New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo and hold the third overall pick and could use that pick as trade bait to land the Illinois native.

For what it’s worth, if the Bears do dump Cutler as expected, many NFL insiders and “experts” believe that Cutler would be a fit with the 49ers.

Let me say this, “No.”

Cutler has no business being a starting quarterback in the NFL anymore and should retire, as he’s hinted this offseason.

Scratch off Cleveland and Buffalo from the list of possible landing spots for Kaepernick.

Hue Jackson is enamored with Watson and Trubisky and won’t pass up taking a quarterback this year after trading away Cleveland’s pick (No. 2 overall) last season to Philadelphia that turned into Carson Wentz.

Wentz threw for 3,782 yards and 16 touchdowns during his rookie campaign and looks like the Eagles’ franchise quarterback for the next 10 years.

Buffalo is expected to pick up Tyrod Taylor’s option worth $27.5 million in 2017. Taylor has enjoyed success in two seasons with the Bills, tossing back-to-back seasons with 3,000 yards to go along with 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

In 11 starts last season, Kaepernick threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns, and four interceptions, but the 49ers were just 1-10 during that stretch.

Kaepernick showed flashes of the quarterback that had defenses on their heels at times, but the 49ers were just an eye sore to watch that had many fans staying away from Levi Stadium in droves and changing the channel quickly.

But with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions (4:3 TD/INT ratio), Kaepernick still has the ability to grow into a serviceable quarterback and with the help of Shanahan, who has a history of working well with average quarterbacks like Brian Hoyer (44 TDs/26 INTs) and Robert Griffin III (42 TDs/26 INTs), Kaepernick could be the right man to lead the 49ers at quarterback in 2017.

Kaepernick, Shanahan, and Lynch all met with each other this past Wednesday, Lynch confirmed while appearing on KNBR radio in San Francisco, as first reported by ESPN Staff Writer Nick Wagoner.

Lynch was coy on the nature of the meeting, but mentioned that the group had a “great discussion,” and “Colin left excited, we left excited and I think as Kyle and I really believe, the evaluation is still very much fluid.”

During Lynch’s introductory news conference, Lynch mentioned that he and Kaepernick developed a strong rapport while the former safety was working as a color analyst on FOX.

Shanahan is certain to sign unrestricted free agent quarterback Matt Schaub, whom Shanahan worked with in Atlanta and Houston. Schaub could help Kaepernick learn the deep offensive playbook that Shanahan has developed over the years in the NFL while working for his father, Mike Shanahan.

The older Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers’ last Super Bowl title after the 1994 season, before leading the Denver Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowls at the end of the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

Quite honestly, Kaepernick should want to opt-in and sign a two-year extension giving him three more years with the 49ers and be the bridge to the real quarterback of the future of the 49ers: USC’s Sam Darnold.

Darnold looked NFL-ready, leading the Trojans to a 52-49 victory over Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. The freshman threw for 453 yards and five touchdowns and engineered an 80-yard game-tying drive with less than two minutes remaining.

His 473 total yards broke the Rose Bowl record of 467, which was set by Vince Young during the Texas quarterback’s all-time great performance against USC in 2006.

Darnold is a quarterback that I know Shanahan and Lynch would love to have as the face of the 49ers and build around in the upcoming years.

For now, Kaepernick and the 49ers are better together, rather than apart.

 

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 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.