Photo credit: @Raiders
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND — Returning from their Bye Week, the Raiders return to action in Week 8 as they will welcome the visiting Indianapolis Colts to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday. Kickoff for the game is at 1:05 p.m. PT. It will be the first true home game for the Silver and Black since their Week 4 win over the Cleveland Browns 45-42 in overtime on Sept. 30.
The Raiders (1-5) are looking for back-to-back wins over the Colts after defeating Indianapolis 33-25 in Oakland on Christmas Eve in 2016. That was also the game where quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula and was lost for the rest of the season in which Oakland, who were 12-3 at the time and heading into the playoffs for the first time since their Super Bowl season of 2002, prior to Carr’s injury.
Oakland (1-5) entered their Bye Week after losing to the Seattle Seahawks 27-3 in London, England in Week 6. Carr completed 23-of-31 passes for just 142 yards, but was sacked six times in the game. Oakland’s offense managed just 185 yards total and was just 4-of-12 on third downs.
Defensively, rookie defense end Arden Key made his first start of his career and recorded his first sack, but Oakland’s defense was gashed for 369 yards of total offense by Seattle.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 222 yards and three touchdowns (one interception by Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley, who was making his first start of the season for Oakland).
But the week off for Oakland would be an eventful one, as the team unexpectedly traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. News of the trade was first reported by ESPN’s Josina Anderson. Dallas is sending Oakland a first-round pick in 2019 for the wideout, who has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown this season in six games.
The former first-round pick by Oakland in 2015 was in the NFL’s concussion protocol after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Seahawks. In his first two seasons in the NFL out of Alabama, Cooper had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl after each season.
With the team already dealing away star defensive end Khalil Mack to Chicago a week before the season for a 2019 first-round pick, and including their own (which could be in the top-five if the season continues to spiral downward), Oakland has three first-round picks in 2019.
You add the fact the team placed running back Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve with a groin injury, the Raiders will feature Doug Martin and Jalen Richard in the backfield the rest of the way. Richard’s career-high 31 receptions rank sixth among all running backs in 2018.
Indianapolis (2-5) drubbed the Buffalo Bills 37-5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 7.
Quarterback Andrew Luck completed 17-of-23 passes for 156 yards and four touchdowns. Luck has been hot in his last four games, throwing 15 touchdowns over that stretch. The Colts dominated the time of possession, controlling the game for 33:19 to Buffalo’s 26:41 and was nearly unstoppable on third downs, converting 7-of-13 chances (53 percent).
Second-year Marlon Mack rumbled over Buffalo’s defense, rushing the ball 19 times for 126 of the Colts’ 220 yards, the most rushing yards in a game for Indianapolis since 2007 per the Elias Sports Bureau.
Rookie linebacker Darrius Leonard was all over the field against the Bills, racking up 17 combined tackles (12 solo, 5 assisted). In six games this season for the Colts, the second-round pick in 2018 has recorded double-digit tackles in four of them including a career-high 19 combined tackles (15 solo, 4 assisted) in a 21-9 win over Washington back in Week 2.
Indianapolis’ defense sacked Bills quarterback Derek Anderson twice and intercepted him three times. The Colts limited Buffalo on third downs (2-of-9 for 22 percent).
Following Sunday’s game, the Raiders will travel to Santa Clara to take on their Bay Area rival, the San Francisco 49ers for Thursday Night Football, while the Colts will head home to host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in an AFC South battle.