Oakland Raiders welcome Ravens to Oakland for key Week 5 tilt

Photo credit: OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — After playing three of their first four games of the season on the road, the Raiders begin a three-game home stand when they host the visiting Baltimore Ravens at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Sunday’s matchup will mark the third-straight season that the Raiders and Ravens have hooked up, in 2015 and in Baltimore last season, with Oakland winning the previous two meetings by one-score each.

Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. PT.

Oakland (2-2) is lost to the Denver Broncos 16-10 last week on the road in the Mile High City.

Defensively, Oakland limited the Broncos to just 298 yards of total offense and 155 net passing yards. Defensive end Khalil Mack registered two of Oakland’s four sacks on Denver starting quarterback Trevor Siemian, with defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr. and linebacker Bruce Irvin collecting a sack a piece.

Mack also recorded seven tackles in the game and with his two sacks, now has four sacks on the season, the most he’s had through the season’s first quarter.

Through four games, the Raiders rank 13th in the NFL on defense, limiting opponents to 19.8 points per game. Opponents have only scored seven touchdowns against the Raiders so far this season.

Not only was the loss to their bitter AFC West rival stinging, but the lost of starting quarterback Derek Carr to a traverse process fracture in his lower back in the process is even a bigger loss. Carr was injured late in the third quarter after taking a knee in the back by defensive end Adam Gotsis, while being sacked by Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe.

Backup quarterback EJ Manuel came in relief of Carr, completing 11-of-17 passes for 106 yards, but threw an interception in the final minutes that ended Oakland’s chances of a comeback.

With Carr shelved for the next 2-6 weeks after a CAT scan revealed the fracture on Monday morning, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio named Manuel the starter against Baltimore.

A former first-round pick in 2013 by the Buffalo Bills out of Florida State, Manuel has thrown for 3,608 yards with 19 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Manuel has completed 58-percent of his passes in 29 career games played, with 17 career starts.

For the second-straight week, Oakland’s offense sputtered racking up just 258 yards total, but converted just 2-of-12 on third down after going 0-for-11 on third down in the Silver and Black’s 27-10 loss in Washington back in Week 3.

Oakland was missing starting wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who sat out Week 4 with a chest injury suffered in the Washington game, and the Broncos were double-teaming Amari Cooper with a safety helping over the top of the offense.

Crabtree remains questionable for Sunday’s game and has been Oakland’s top playmaker with a team-leading three touchdowns receiving, but the aforementioned Cooper has been a no-show the past two weeks.

In both of Oakland’s recent losses, Cooper has registered just three catches for 15 yards and zero touchdowns and a slew of drops. Cooper leads the NFL with seven-on-target drops according to ESPN Stats and Information.  The former Alabama wide receiver has to step up and regain the form that led him to back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in two of his first four seasons in the NFL.

The offense, which ranks 17th in the NFL averaging 22.8 points per game, has to find better ways of moving the football and getting running back Marshawn Lynch involved more. Lynch, who only has 45 rushes for 151 yards and one touchdown, is part of a ground-attack that only averages 86.2 rushing yards per game, 24th in the NFL out of 32 teams.

Baltimore (2-2) is in a similar place as the Raiders are entering Sunday’s game.

Like Oakland, Baltimore has lost two-straight games following a 2-0 start and are looking to rebound after losing to a fellow rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-9 at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 4. The Ravens at one point, found themselves down 19-0 midway through the AFC North battle.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco completed 31-of-49 passes for 235 yards, a touchdown and two back-breaking interceptions in the fourth quarter. For the season, Flacco has completed 73-of-118 passes (61.9-pct) for 601 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions for a Ravens’ offense that ranks 31st in the league, averaging just 15.0 points per game.

Baltimore’s rushing attack could be key against Oakland Sunday, as the Ravens average 127.3 yards rushing per game, which ranks ninth in the NFL. Running back Alex Collins, who the Ravens activated from their practice squad in September, has gained 206 yards rushing on 25 attempts (8.2 avg) in three games this season.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Collins is one of three NFL running backs to gain over 200 rushing yards on fewer than 45 carries this season, joining Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray (42 for 215) and Philadelphia’s LaGarrette Blount (42 for 249).

Tight end Benjamin Watson and running back Javorius Allen leads Baltimore with 16 catches a piece, while Watson leads the team with 146 receiving yards. Jeremy Maclin is a chain-moving wide receiver for the Ravens, but Mike Wallace is Baltimore’s best deep threat.

Oakland is thin at cornerback with David Amerson (concussion) and rookie Gareon Conley (shin) both questionable for Sunday’s game.

But Baltimore’s defense, which has been suspect at times this season, can still cause headaches for opposing offenses. Through four games this season, the Ravens have registered an NFL-best nine interceptions.

Safety Eric Weddle, and cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Brandon Carr each have two interceptions a piece, making the Ravens the only team in the league with three players with at least two interceptions through Week 5.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs leads the Ravens with three sacks this season, while inside linebacker C.J. Mosley leads Baltimore with 38 tackles.

Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr to miss 2-6 weeks with spinal fracture

Photo credit: NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — Raiders starting quarterback suffered a traverse process fracture after taking a knee to his lower back late in the third quarter in Oakland’s 16-10 road loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday, and is expected to miss 2-6 weeks.

News of Carr’s injury was first reported via the Bay Area News Group.

According to additional reports, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio found out about Carr’s injury about 10 minutes before he met the media Monday morning. Del Rio noted that Carr had an X-ray and an MRI during the morning, but initial tests didn’t reveal anything.

But a CAT scan was performed and revealed the fracture.

Backup quarterback EJ Manuel will take over Carr’s starting duties for the 2-2 Raiders, according to Del Rio. Manuel stepped in for Carr and played well, completing 7-of-11 passes for 106 yards, but through an interception late in the fourth quarter that iced the game for Denver.

Manuel will start for the Raiders Sunday against the visiting Baltimore Ravens (2-2). Oakland begins a stretch of three-straight home games after starting the season having played three of their first four games on the road.

Before leaving the game, Carr completed 10-of-18 passes for 143 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Holton in the second quarter.

For the season, Carr has completed 74-of-109 passes for 753 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions with a 101.2 passer rating through four games.

Raiders lose to Broncos 16-10 as Carr leaves game with back spasms

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr lays the field after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

DENVER — Another Sunday and another loss for the Silver and Black, but this loss hurts a bit more.

Oakland (2-2) loss to 16-10 to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in a game that the Raiders saw their franchise player, quarterback Derek Carr, leave the game in the third quarter with reported back spasms after getting kneed in the back after being sacked by Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe.

Carr completed 10-of-18 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown before being replaced by backup quarterback EJ Manuel.

With Oakland trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, Carr hooked up with reserve wide receiver Johnny Holton for a 64-yard touchdown that capped a five-play, 99-yard drive for the Silver and Black that had cut Denver’s lead to 10-7. The 99-yard drive was Oakland’s first drive of 90-plus yards since Oct. 2, 2011 against New England according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Following Riley Dixon’s punt that sailed 37 yards before settling at the Oakland 42-yard line with 4:16 left in the fourth quarter, Manuel got Oakland to the Broncos’ own 42-yard line with 1:46 left following series of completions.

On the ensuing play, Manuel threw a high pass intended for wide receiver Amari Cooper that was intercepted by Denver safety Justin Simmons to stick the fork in Oakland. Oakland trailed by six with 5:23 left after kicker Girogio Tavecchio nailed a 38-yard field goal.

In relief of Carr, Manuel completed 11-of-17 passes for 106 yards.

For the second straight week, Cooper was a no-show for Oakland, finishing with just two catches for nine yards and his NFL-leading seventh dropped pass of the season. To Cooper’s credit, the Broncos double-teamed him for the most of the game since fellow wide receiver Michael Crabtree missed the game with a chest injury.

It was Crabtree’s first missed game since 2013 when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Denver’s top-ranked defense against the run was on full display Sunday, bottling up running back Marshawn Lynch and Oakland’s ground game to just 24 yards rushing.

Lynch finished with just nine carries for 12 yards. For the season, Lynch has just 45 carries for 151 yards and one touchdown through four games.

Oakland recorded 258 yards of total offense, but was 2-of-12 on third downs against the Broncos after going 0-for-11 on third downs in Washington last Sunday.

Simply put, the Broncos kept Oakland out of sync the entire game.

Defensively, Oakland held Denver to 298 yards of total offense, but were gashed on the ground by the Broncos for 143 yards rushing. Running back CJ Anderson gave Oakland’s defense fits, carrying the ball 20 times for 95 yards, including a 40-yard run down the heart of the Raiders defense in the third quarter.

Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack registered two of Oakland’s four sacks on the day. After recording 11 tackles (five assisted) in Washington last week to lead all Oakland defenders, linebacker Cory James led the team again with 10 tackles against the Broncos.

As stated earlier, this loss hurts for the Silver and Black.

Not only do you sit in third-place in the tough AFC West behind 3-0 Kansas City and the now 3-1 Broncos, but your franchise quarterback is getting sacked at an alarming rate.

After just allowing 18 sacks last season in 16 games last season, Oakland’s high-priced offensive line have allowed nine sacks through four games this season.

Carr is expected to be fine for Oakland’s next game, but if you’re a Raiders fan, you got to be concerned that your signal-caller is getting beat up early in the season.

Oakland after playing three of their first four games on the road, the Raiders are home for three straight weeks as they will host Baltimore, Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Takeaways from Raiders preseason opener at Arizona

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr warms up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

GLENDALE — With the majority of the starting lineup on both sides of the football  sitting out, the Oakland Raiders entered their first preseason game in Arizona looking to develop depth around the championship-caliber roster headlined by franchise quarterback Derek Carr and defensive linchpin, defensive tackle Khalil Mack.

Even though the Silver and Black fell to the Cardinals 20-10 Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, Oakland had some bright spots in the game:

The battle for the No. 2 quarterback

Former Buffalo starting quarterback EJ Manuel started the game for Oakland and was impressive in his first appearance in a Raiders uniform. Manuel looked sharp in the first half, finishing 10-of-12 for 107 and a passer rating of 103.8.

In the second quarter, the fourth-year pro out of Florida St., made a nice throw over a Cardinals defensive back that found tight end Clive Walford for a 30-yard gain that set up a 43-yard field goal by kicker Giorgio Tavecchio that finally got Oakland on the board, 17-3 right before halftime.

Second-year quarterback Connor Cook wasn’t as effective as Manuel, but did lead the Raiders to their only touchdown score of the night.

In the third quarter, Cook engineered a five-play, 63-yard drive, keyed by a 29-yard screen pass to backup running back John Crockett that would setup Crockett’s one-yard score that pulled Oakland closer, 17-10, albeit against Arizona’s third- and fourth-team units.

All indications are that Manuel will cement his position has Carr’s backup once the regular season begins, but Cook (who made NFL history by becoming the first rookie quarterback to make his pro debut in a playoff game last season), will make the decision tough for Del Rio and Co. as the preseason progresses.

The linebacker room

A position that has some question marks coming into the season, the linebackers for Oakland could actually be a strength for the Silver and Black.

With Bruce Irvin firmly entrenched as the team’s starting “SAM” linebacker, Cory James and rookie Marquel Lee made cases to join Irvin in the starting lineup in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sept. 10.

James, in his second year with Oakland out of Colorado St., led the Raiders with seven tackles against Arizona and is currently listed as the team’s starting “WILL” linebacker on the unofficial depth chart.

Rookie Marquel Lee started as the team’s “MIKE” linebacker and finished with six tackles (five solo). Lee, was drafted in the fifth round by the Raiders in this year’s NFL draft, recovered a forced fumble by defensive tackle Justin “Jelly” Ellis in the first half.

The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon still needs to improve is footwork in pass coverage as Lee did find problems covering tight ends on curl- and in-routes.

Overall, the Raiders’ defense racked up four sacks, two a piece by fellow linebacker LaTroy Lewis and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester, possibly developing more depth for a team that must improve a 26th-ranked defense in 2016.

Oakland (1-0) host the Los Angeles Rams next Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Rams (1-0) defeated the Dallas Cowboys 13-10 Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.