Photo credit: freep.com
By Joe Hawkes
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders returned home from their whirlwind tour in which they logged over 20,000 miles with a gutsy, 31-24 victory over the visiting Detroit Lions on Sunday that pulled the team to the .500 mark at 4-4.
Quarterback Derek Carr threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow with 2:05 left in the game, cementing Oakland’s win in the team’s first game at home in seven weeks.
Carr’s clutch throw to Renfrow for the win got the Raiders off on the right foot, as they enter a critical three-game homestand that will be key in Oakland’s playoff chances this season. The Raiders face the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football on a short week, then host the Cincinnati Bengals at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Nov. 11.
Check out my takeaways from the Silver and Black’s win against the Lions:
Josh Jacobs is the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year without question
As much as Oakland’s win can be credited to its signal-caller (Carr completed 20-of-31 passes for 289 yards and 2 TDs), Jacobs’ performance was instrumental.
The rookie running back found gaping holes in Detroit’s defense, rushing for 120 yards and two scores on 28 carries. It was Jacobs’ third game this season in which he’s rushed for 120+ yards with 20+ carries.
With a 16-yard rush late in the first-half, Jacobs broke Marcus Allen’s franchise rookie record for rushing. Jacobs now has rushed for 740 yards and through eight games, breaking Allen’s mark of 697 set in the nine-game, strike-shortened 1982 season per Elias Sports Bureau.
Not only does Jacobs leads all rookies in rushing, but his six touchdowns and runs of 20+ yards (5) and 40+ yards (2) are tops among the group.
Raiders’ defense is opportunistic
Lions quarterback did have a big day against the Raiders’ suspect secondary, throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns, but Oakland did capitalize on two Detroit turnovers in the first half to take a 17-14 lead.
Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst recovered a fumble deep inside Oakland’s territory after Stafford botched a handoff to running back JD McKissic on Detroit’s opening drive of the game. The Raiders would turn that into an 11-play, 68-yard drive in 5:32 that culminated in Jacobs’ first score of the game, a 2-yard run that put Oakland ahead 7-0.
After the Lions took a 14-10 lead following a 59-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to wide receiver Kenny Golladay, Stafford tried to hookup with Golladay again, but Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley made a terrific play on the football by intercepting Stafford in the end zone.
The Raiders would turn that takeaway into points, with Jacobs capping off a 12-play, 80-yard drive in 5:14 with his second score of the game from 3-yards out to put Oakland ahead 17-14 going into halftime.
For as much as the takeaways led to 14 points for Oakland, those weren’t the biggest plays in my book by the defense in the game.
With Detroit inches away from scoring and facing a fourth down, the Raiders defense looking to preserve a 31-24 lead, Karl Joseph’s pass breakup of the potential game-tying touchdown in the back of the end zone was the biggest play made by the defense on the day.
Quote of the game
“I love this place. It’s special. To come home in front of them and get a win, especially the way we did it. It would be nice to win something 40-0 some time. But when you win one like this, it does so many good things for a team.” – Derek Carr talking about the feeling he gets playing in Oakland in front of Raider Nation.
The Raiders are playing their final season in Oakland this year, before moving to their new 65,000-seat home, Allegiant Stadium, in Las Vegas in 2020.
Thursday night’s matchup against the Chargers (4-5) should make for an enticing game.
The Chargers will enter the game fresh off the heels of a 26-11 victory over the visiting Green Bay Packers at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
Running back Melvin Gordon scored two touchdowns, and kicker Michael Badgely booted four field goals for the Chargers, who snapped a three-game home losing streak and handed the Packers (7-2) their second loss of the year.