Seahawks-Raiders agree on deal for Lynch

Marshawn Lynch, a former NFL football running back with the Seattle Seahawks, speaks Thursday, May 5, 2016, at a job fair in Seattle sponsored by the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, an organization backed by Starbucks and other companies that seeks to increase employment and education opportunities for youth aged 16-24. The Seahawks announced Thursday that Lynch has been placed on the reserve/retired list. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — Retired running back Marshawn Lynch is set to come out of retirement after the Raiders and Seahawks agreed to a trade that will allow Lynch to play for Oakland, sources tell ESPN NFL Insider, Adam Schefter.

In order for the deal to be complete, Lynch must first pass a physical, which is expected to place on Wednesday at the team’s Alameda headquarters. Per Tom Pelissaro of USA Today, Seattle will receive Oakland’s 2018 5th-round pick in exchange for Lynch and the Seahawks’ 2018 6th-round.

Sources report that its a two-year deal (but essentially a one-year deal) worth a maximum value of $8.5 million with $3 million in base salary.

Lynch retired from the NFL after the 2015 season, was born and raised in Oakland and attended Oakland Technical High School where he was star. The length of the contract is interesting given the fact that the Raiders are heading to Las Vegas by 2019.

The NFL Network first reported the deal between Oakland and Seattle.

Lynch, who turned 31 this past Saturday, was the No. 12 pick in the 2007 draft by the Buffalo Bills out of Cal,  has rushed for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons. Lynch played through an injury-plagued 2015 season where he only rushed for 417 yards on 3.8 yards per carry in seven games.

Oakland is looking to fill the hole at running back, after losing last year’s starter Latavius Murray to the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. The Raiders had the sixth-best rushing attack in 2016 and think that adding Lynch to the mix with youngsters Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington could add even more punch to the Raiders’ offense.

The five-time Pro Bowl running back had his best season in 2012 where he rushed for a career-high 1,590 yards and 12 touchdowns while catching 23 passes for 196 yards and a score. Lynch was named first-team All-Pro that season.

The 5-foot-11 Lynch led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2013 and 2014 with 12 touchdowns and 13 touchdowns respectively. “Beast Mode” had four straight seasons rushing for at least 1,200 yards from 2011 through 2014.

Per ESPN Stats and Information, Lynch ranks second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns since 2007 with 74, only second behind running back Adrian Peterson’s 97 rushing touchdowns, who signed with the New Orleans Saints this week after spending his first 10 seasons in Minnesota.





Raiders close to deal with Marshawn Lynch; Seahawks still holds RB’s rights

Marshawn Lynch, right, a former NFL football running back with the Seattle Seahawks greets Sheri Schultz, left, the wife of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Thursday, May 5, 2016, before he spoke at a job fair in Seattle sponsored by the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, an organization backed by Starbucks and other companies that seeks to increase employment and education opportunities for youth aged 16-24. The Seahawks announced Thursday that Lynch has been placed on the reserve/retired list. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — “Beast Mode” back on the football field?

Almost a done deal.

NFL Network’s Michael Silver and Mike Garafolo reported Friday that Marshawn Lynch is nearing a new contract agreement with the 30-year-old running back.

But before Lynch can officially play for his hometown Raiders, Seattle must trade Lynch as they still hold his rights as he retired after the Seahawks’ Super Bowl 50 loss to the New England Patriots at the end of the 2014 season.

Sources close to the situation told Garafolo that Oakland and Seattle are optimistic that a deal can be struck, the two sides have yet to engage in trade talks for one of the NFL’s most punishing running backs when healthy.

Lynch sat out all of 2016 after an injury-filled 2015 (where he dealt with hamstrings/hernia injuries) but has been durable for the majority of his nine-year career. Three years removed from a Super Bowl championship (a season that Lynch rushed for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns), it’s fair to ask how much football does the former Oakland Tecbnical High School product have left?

The rumors have been swirling for weeks that Lynch was itching to resurrect his career and Oakland was his preferred choice, not Seattle. Lynch took to Twitter to clear the air of those rumors:

“If u kno me you kno my business is my business,” Lynch tweeted, “and if u don’t kno me that’s a fun fact for ya… when (expletive) get REAL I’ll let you kno!!!!”

Oakland, who have second-year running backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington slated to share the load in the backfield after letting starter Latavius Murray (and his 12 rushing touchdowns) depart for Minnesota via free agency, may believe Lynch is an upgrade and will add more bite to a deep running back corps.

NFL Network’s Steve Wyche noted that he was in Alameda this week and sources told him that one possible sticking point in a deal coming together between Oakland and Lynch, would be the compensation that Oakland would need to give Lynch. Wyche got indication that Oakland really wants to get a deal done and see Lynch as a key piece to a potential Super Bowl participant this season, but want some assurances from Lynch before the NFL Draft on Apr. 27.

According to, Oakland is sixth in the NFL with roughly $33 million in salary cap space and have key core players who are up for hefty extensions, most notably quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Khalil Mack.

Wyche was adamant that the Raiders didn’t want to dip to heavy into that cash to overpay for Lynch. Sources told Wyche that Oakland wants to, “take care of the horses.”

Carr and Mack are two of the Raiders’ biggest “horses” who’ve earned new contracts.

Should Lynch and the Raiders come to an agreement, it would give the Silver & Black some much needed great news, in wake of the organization’s announcement to relocate to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas in the next two years.




Oakland Raiders Commentary & Analysis with Joe Hawkes Beamon: Cook, Raiders fall short in Houston

Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (59) sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook (8) during the second half of an AFC Wild Card NFL football game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

HOUSTON, TX — Make no mistake, the Texans’ defense was a big catalyst for Houston’s 27-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Wild Card game at NRG Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they forced rookie quarterback Connor Cook into throwing three interceptions and sacking Cook three times.

Cook, who became the first rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start in a postseason game, completed just 18-of-45 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown.

Houston took an early 3-0 lead behind a 50-yard field goal from kicker Nick Novak.

Cook’s first interception came off a screen pass to running back Latavius Murray that Houston’s Pro Bowl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney snuffed out in Oakland’s territory. Running back Lamar Miller would coast into the end zone with a easy 4-yard touchdown run that pushed Houston’s lead to 10-0.

Oakland’s offense showed some signs of life by going to an uptempo offense in the first half, when Cook engineered a five-play, 38-yard drive that ended on running back Latavius Murray’s 2-yard score that put the Raiders on the board, 10-7. Murray was the bellcow on the drive, taking some heat off of Cook who only needed to throw the ball once.

Cook finished the first half completing just 4-of-14 passes for 41 yards, an interception and a 9.8 passer rating, but the entirety of Oakland’s loss doesn’t fall on the former Michigan State Spartan’s shoulders.

Just as Oakland (12-5) was adjusting to life without star quarterback Derek Carr, out with a broken fibula, Raiders’ Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn was scratched from the game due to a small fracture in his knee. The good news is that the fracture won’t require surgery, but Penn couldn’t suit up snapping a streak of 155 straight starts.

The injuries didn’t stop there for the Silver and Black.

Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson injured his ankle shortly before halftime where the Raiders were already trailing 20-7. Hudson missed a couple of snaps in the second half, but returned and finished the game.

Houston had more total yards (207) than Oakland (75) in the first half and collected 12 first downs to Oakland’s five.

Oakland’s premiere wide receiver duo of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were missing in action.

The combination that became just the second Raider wide receiver tandem to each record 1,000-yard receiving season since 2001 when Hall of Famer’s Jerry Rice and Tim Brown accomplished that feat, couldn’t find no separation against Houston’s No. 1 defense.

Crabtree and Cooper combined for just four catches, for 43 yards, on 17 targets (10 for Cooper and 7 for Cooper). For an offense that finished sixth overall during the regular season, managed just 2.9 yards per play while finishing 2-for-16 on third down.

Oakland was 0-for-7 on third down in the first half.

After Oakland’s first offensive touchdown of the game, the Raiders would go on to punt six straight times as the offense would sputter.

Crabtree left the game in the fourth quarter and didn’t return after being diagnosed with a concussion, was replaced by backup Andre Holmes.

On Oakland’s final scoring drive of the game with Crabtree in the locker room, Holmes would become Cook’s favorite target hauling in three catches for 37 yards, one of those receptions resulted in a 8-yard touchdown that made the score 27-14.

Holmes finished the game as Oakland’s leading receiver with four catches (on 5 targets) for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler completed 14-of-25 passes for 168 yards in his first start since being benched on Dec. 18 against the Jacksonville Jaguars where Osweiler was booed mercifully off the field by Texans fans.

The same fans that booed him that game, were the same fans that cheered Osweiler on this day.

Osweiler relied on a controlled passing game highlighted by a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (5 catches, 67 yards, TD), and steady running by starting running back Lamar Miller (31 carries, 73 yards, TD).

Houston held the edge in time of possession, holding onto the ball for 33:29, while Oakland possessed the ball for only 26:31.

The Texans (10-7) will either travel to New England or Kansas City next week for the Divisional Round once the winner of Sunday’s other AFC Wild Card game when the Miami Dolphins travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1:05 p.m. ET (10:05 a.m. PT for us West Coasters).

For Oakland, the losses to key offensive personnel was too hard to overcome and now head into the offseason earlier than they hoped.


Raiders try to wrap up AFC West title in Denver without Derek Carr in regular season finale

Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, left, watches as quarterback Derek Carr, bottom, is tended to by trainers during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — With a playoff spot already in their back pocket, the Raiders have a chance to clinch the AFC West title with a win in Denver (or a Kansas City loss in San Diego) Sunday at 1:25 p.m. to close out the 2016 regular season at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

But the 12-3 Raiders are going to have to go out and win the division (and the AFC’s No. 2 seed) without franchise quarterback and MVP candidate Derek Carr. Carr fractured his right fibula during Oakland’s 33-25 win over the visiting Indianapolis Colts in Week 16 on Christmas Eve.

The third-year quarterback completed 21-of-31 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns before being helped off the field following a sack by Colts defensive end Trent Cole in the third quarter. Carr’s leg got stuck in the Oakland Coliseum turf as Cole spun Carr around, fracturing his right fibula. On the season, Carr passed for 3,933 yards, 28 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.

The loss of Carr is devastating for the Silver and Black as they embark on their first postseason appearance since 2002, but Carr’s backup Matt McGloin is a guy that is ready for the challenge of leading a very talented team.

“I feel great,” McGloin said this week via “I know this team, these guys around me, this staff and this organization will do a great job of helping me out, embracing me, and making sure we keep moving in the right direction.”

McGloin, who threw for 1,547 yards, eight touchdowns, and eight interceptions in six starts for Oakland in 2013, will have the same offensive unit that took down the Broncos 30-20 in Week 9 in front of the country on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in the first matchup.

In his career, McGloin has thrown for 1,847 yards with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 58.3 percent of his passes.

Starting running back Latavius Murray bludgeoned one of the league’s best defenses on 20 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns that night in front of a sold out Raider Nation crowd at the Oakland Coliseum.

Rookie running back DeAndre Washington had career-day against the Colts, carrying the ball 12 times for a career-high 99 yards and two touchdowns, both for 22-yard scores that capped off four straight touchdowns for Oakland.

The tandem of Amari Cooper (78 catches, 1,110 yards, 4 TDs) and Michael Crabtree (84 catches, 956 yards, 8 TDs) are great weapons for the former Penn State quarterback to throw to.

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio believes in the closeness of his team and the coaches.

“We’ve got a good group of guys and a good group of men and a good group of coaches and players,” Del Rio said via “who are going to work hard to put together a good plan, and we go out and expect to win.”

Denver (8-7), who will miss the playoffs this year after winning the Super Bowl last year, is coming off a 33-10 loss to Kansas City (11-4) on Christmas Night at frigid and rainy Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City racked up 484 yards of total offense and held a 21-7 lead in the first quarter against the once vaunted Broncos defense, highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown run by rookie speedster Tyreek Hill and an 80-yard catch-and-run score by tight end Travis Kelce.

Both Hill and Kelce were named to the AFC Pro Bowl team as starters with Hill being named as a return specialist for his first selection of his career.

Hill, who has superb hands is second on the Chiefs with 56 catches for 547 yards and six touchdowns, has 497 yards on 38 returns including a 78-yard punt return for a score against Oakland in a 21-13 victory on Dec. 9 in Kansas City.

Hill also has an 86-yard kickoff return for touchdown that helped Kansas City take the Broncos in overtime,  30-27, in Denver on Nov. 27.

Kelce earned his second-straight Pro Bowl nod by having another impressive year for Kansas City  with 84 catches for 1,117 yards and four touchdowns.

The playoff-bound Chiefs are hoping that Denver can knock off Oakland because a Raider loss would give Kansas City the No. 2 seed and the first-round bye, and knock Oakland to the No. 5 seed where they would open the playoffs on the road in either Pittsburgh or Houston on Wildcard Weekend.

But the Raiders have shown that they can win on the road this season going 6-1 (well 7-1 if you count playing in Mexico City that was technically considered a Raider “home” game), but that was with Carr under center, not McGloin.

Second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian has surpassed the 3,000-yard passing mark for the first time in his career with 3,195 yards, but has engineered a Broncos offense that scores just 20.6 points per game, 20th in the league.

Siemian has thrown for 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a 83.9 passer rating.

But according to Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, Siemian will share some snaps this Sunday with former  first round draft pick Paxton Lynch.

“I think Trevor deserves the right to go back out there as a starter,” Kubiak said via the Denver Post. “He’s done a lot of good things this year. He’s a young player that needs to keep going.

“I want him to get the Kansas City taste out of his mouth. It was a tough outing. Paxton is also going to play. I’m preparing both and you’ll see them both in the game.”

Just like Oakland, Denver have a premiere wide receiving corps with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders leading the way.

Thomas leads the team with 86 catches for 1,036 yards and Sanders is second with 79 catches for 1,032 yards.

Both are tied for the team lead with five touchdowns a piece.

After starting the season 7-3, Denver is just 1-4 since.

Oakland won last season’s game in Denver on Dec. 13, 15-12, behind the dominate performance of defensive end Khalil Mack who tied a franchise-mark with five sacks off former Broncos quarterback now Houston Texas  high-priced backup, Brock Osweiler that day.

Raiders start slow, finishes fast in home win against Bills

AP photo: Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) and running back Jalen Richard (30) jump for joy after Cooper scores touchdown in the second half at the Oakland Coliseum Sunday against the Buffalo Bills

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — The Silver and Black found themselves down early, out of sync on offense, but found a way to erase a 24-9 deficit in the second half to pull away from the visiting Buffalo Bills, 38-24, Sunday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.

Now at 10-2, Oakland remains one game in front of the 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs ahead of this week’s showdown for AFC West supremacy on Thursday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Kansas City squeaked by the Falcons 29-28 in Atlanta earlier in the day.

Oakland scored 29 unanswered points in the second half and forced two turnovers created by the havoc-wreaking Khalil Mack that dashed any hopes of a Buffalo victory.

Derek Carr completed 19-of-35 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Raiders to their sixth straight win.

Carr tossed a 3-yard score to wide receiver Michael Crabtree to cut Buffalo’s lead to 24-16 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.

Then at the start of the fourth quarter, Carr hooked up with wide receiver Amari Cooper, who beat rookie cornerback Kevon  Seymour with a double-move, up the Bills’ sideline for a 37-yard touchdown catch that got Oakland within a point, 24-23.

Crabtree led the Raiders with seven catches for 74 yards (11 targets) and a touchdown, while Cooper hauled in two catches for 59 yards and a score.

The 22-year-old Cooper became just the seventh player 22-years-old or younger in NFL history to record 2,000 yards receiving within his first two years in the league.

Running back Latavius Murray finished with 82 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Murray’s 11 rushing touchdowns is second only to Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot’s 12 among all running backs.

Murray also became the first Raiders running back to score 10+ rushing touchdowns in a season since LaMont Jordan accomplished that feat in 2005 when Jordan had 10.

But Buffalo jumped out early on Oakland, scoring on their first two drives of the game to claim a 10-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to Buffalo’s sound running game and an intermediate passing attack.

LeSean McCoy gashed Oakland’s defense for 130 yards on 17 carries while dealing with cramps in the second half for Buffalo, and fellow running back Mike Gillislee scored two touchdowns on eight carries for 49 yards.

Buffalo (6-6) took it to Oakland on their opening drive of the second half for 66 yards on two running plays that set up their second touchdown of the game. McCoy darted up the middle of Oakland’s defense for a 54-yard run followed by quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s 12-yard scamper that gave Buffalo a 17-9 lead.

Taylor completed 18-of-35 passes for 191 yards and one interception and McCoy led all Bills with seven catches for 61 yards.

But when Oakland’s defense needed a play, it appeared that Mack would be the one who would  make it for the Silver and Black.

Mack tipped a Taylor pass at the line of scrimmage that was intercepted by safety Nate Allen, then Mack sealed the game with strip-sack and fumble recovery on the final play.

The Raiders stellar defensive end recorded a sack for the seventh consecutive week, the longest active streak in the league this season. No other player has more sacks than Mack during that span.






Raiders no longer flying under the radar

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND, Calif — It’s been a renaissance season for the Silver and Black in 2016.

At 7-2 and getting a chance to get healthy during their by week, Oakland is looking to finish the season off strong in what the team is hoping will end in a playoff appearance for the first time since 2002, also, the team’s last Super Bowl appearance.

Oakland has the fifth-ranked offense led by a quarterback that plays more like a 10-year veteran in third-year pro Derek Carr, a running back with a knack for touchdowns in Latavius Murray, and a stud wide receiver combo headlined by Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.

Carr is having a career-year as one of the elite passers in the league, ranking fifth in passing yards (2,505), tied for third in touchdowns (17),to go along with just three interceptions this season.

Oakland’s signal had a game for the ages in Week 8, throwing for a career-high 513 yards (breaking a franchise record held by Cotton Davidson, who threw for 427 yards in 1964), and four touchdowns in the Raiders wild 30-24 overtime victory of the Buccaneers in Tampa.

Carr became just the third quarterback in league history to pass for 500+ yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions joining Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle and Ben Roethlisberger according to the Elias Sports Bureau to accomplish that feat.

His 500-yard passing game was just the 20th such game in NFL history.

Carr’s performance earned him the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, joining teammates in punter Marquette King (AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 7 against Jacksonville), and linebacker Khalil Mack (AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 9 against Denver) to garner player of the week honors.

King punted five times (for 273 yards) and placed four of those punts landed inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line. King also had a punt sail 60 yards in the air.

Coming into the game, Murray didn’t have a game in which he rushed for  at least 60 yards until the fourth-year running back from Central Florida saw the third-ranked Broncos defense, who rank 29th in the league against the run by allowing 128.6 yards to opposing offenses.

Murray ran rough and hard against Denver, rumbling for 114 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns while being named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week for his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Murray’s eight rushing touchdowns are tied for second with Arizona running back David Johnson for the league lead among running backs, only trailing New England’s LeGarrette Blount and San Diego’s Melvin Gordon, who have nine rushing scores a piece.

Oakland’s defense has played better in recent weeks, particularly the last two weeks holding Tampa Bay and Denver to 270 and 299 yards of total offense respectively after giving up nearly 400 yards of total offense per game through the first seven games of the season.

Now that Mack has found his groove at getting to the quarterback, Oakland’s pass rush has seen major improvement.

Mack was unstoppable against the Broncos, registering two sacks, a forced fumble and recovery (all on the same play) in Oakland’s 30-20 victory over Denver that vaulted the Raiders to the top of the AFC West.

Mack also earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors against the Broncos last year in Week 14, tying a franchise record held by Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long with five sacks (all in the second half) in the Raiders’ 15-12 win in Denver.

After a slow start in which Mack only had one sack through five games for Oakland, the ferocious linebacker from Buffalo has recorded six sacks in his last four games bringing his season total to seven sacks after finishing with 15 a season ago.

No longer are the Raiders flying under the radar with the home stretch of the season in the windshield.

With their next three games at home (with the exception of Week 11 matchup against the Houston Texans in Mexico City at the Estadio Azteca, and in Oakland against the Carolina Panthers in Week 12 and the Buffalo Bills in Week 13), the Raiders could strengthen their position in the AFC with more wins for a fan base that is hungry for a winner.







The Final Snap: Murray’s big night too much for Denver

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP photo: Acrobatic Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) takes a leap into the end zone against the Denver Broncos during the first half on Sunday Night Football at the Oakland Coliseum

OAKLAND, Calif — The talk surrounding the Raiders’ 6-2 start was that Oakland hadn’t played an NFL heavyweight this season.

On Sunday night, the Raiders stepped out on to the national stage and took down one of the league’s premiere teams in the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos 30-20 to move into sole possession of the AFC West.

This is the first time that the Broncos have not had a share of first place in the division since Week 10 of 2013, per Elias Sports Bureau.

“Its a start. There’s a lot of games left and we’re in a really tough division,”said running back Latavius Murray after the game.

Murray recorded his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, rumbling for 114 yards on 20 carries and a career-high three touchdowns. Oakland’s bellcow anchored a rushing attack that thrashed the Broncos’ third-ranked defense for 223 yards, the most that Denver has allowed since Week 5 of 2012, per Elias Sports Bureau.

Coming into Sunday night’s prime time matchup with the Broncos, Murray hadn’t rushed for more than 60 yards in any game this season, which makes tonight’s performance that much sweeter.

Oakland played controlled football, controlling the time of possession 41:28 to 18:32, and out-gaining Denver 16 to 6 on first downs in the first half.

Much of that controlled football can be credited by the Raiders’ commitment to running the ball against the Broncos, and the offensive line that kept quarterback Derek Carr upright.

Carr completed 20-of-31 passes for 184 yards Sunday night, after throwing for a franchise record 513 yards in last week’s 30-24 gut-wrenching overtime victory in Tampa Bay.

Amari Cooper led Oakland with six catches for 56 yards, and Michael Crabtree had just two catches for 27 yards.

Crabtree didn’t record his first catch until the Raiders’ third drive of the second half.

But Oakland’s defense, who throughout the season have had trouble stopping teams and were missing cornerback Sean Smith (shoulder), played extremely well holding Denver to just 299 total yards.

Oakland forced Denver into four straight three-and-outs  to begin the game. The Broncos had five three-and-outs in the first half.

Quarterback Trevor Siemian completed 18-of-37 passes for 283 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, but appeared rattled early after completing just 1-of-7 passes for four yards in the first quarter.

Denver didn’t record its first first down until the second quarter after already trailing 13-0.

Defensive end Khalil Mack was just a nightmare to deal with for Denver, finishing with two sacks, three tackles (1 solo), a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. After getting off to a slow start to the season in which Mack had recorded just one sack in his first five games, Mack has six sacks in his last four games.

Now at 7-2 for the first time since 2001 and heading into the bye week, Oakland is riding high with a half-game lead over 6-2 Kansas City and a one-game lead over now 6-3 Denver with three divisional games remaining, but there is still plenty of work ahead for the Silver and Black.

The Raiders’ will be in the national spotlight once again after the bye week, when they face the Houston Texans (5-3) in a “home” game in Mexico City  on Monday Night Football on Nov. 21.





Oakland Raiders-Tampa Bay Buccaneers preview: Raiders look for Florida sweep in Tampa

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP photo: Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio goes out for a third quarter hand shake with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during their visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday

TAMPA, FL — With already four wins on the road this season, the Oakland Raiders have a chance to go 5-0 on the road if they can knock off the Buccaneers in Week 8 at Raymond James Stadium Sunday.

Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT.

The 33-16 Week 7 victory over the Jaguars in Jacksonville was a satisfying win for the organization and for head coach Jack Del Rio, who was fired by the Jaguars after nine seasons. Del Rio was booed by Jaguars fans while leading the Silver and Black on to the field.

After missing two games with turf toe, running back Latavius Murray returned to the starting lineup and gave the running game a boost by scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Murray led Oakland with 59 yards on 17 carries.

Quarterback Derek Carr continues to be one of the best passers in the league, after completing 23-of-37 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown to wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

After catching just two passes on four targets for 10 yards in Oakland’s 26-10 loss to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, Crabtree bounced back with eight catches (on 11 targets) for 96 yards. Crabtree hauled in a 2-yard touchdown catch to give Oakland a 20-6 lead shortly before halftime and the rout was on.

Oakland’s defense forced two interceptions and forced a fumble against a Jaguars (2-5) team that like Oakland, came into the 2016 season with high expectations but have turned into one of the more disappointing teams in the league.

Jacksonville finished with 344 yards of total offense, picking up most of those yards when the game was out of reach. It was the least amount of yards that Oakland’s 32nd ranked defense has surrendered this season.

Instead of traveling back to California then turning around to return to Florida, the Raiders (5-2) for the first time since 2001, remained in Florida and trained at the IMG Academy in Bradenton in preparation for Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay (3-3) is an intriguing opponent for the Silver and Black, who shouldn’t overlook this team heading into next week’s showdown with the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football in Oakland.

The Buccaneers traveled to the West Coast and thrashed another bottom-feeder in the San Francisco 49ers 34-17 in Week 7.

Running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who was picked up on waivers from the Chicago Bears, has filled in nicely for oft-injured starter Doug Martin with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.

After recording his first career 100-yard rushing game in a 17-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, Rodgers ran roughshod over the Niners for a career-high 154 yards on 26 carries. Oakland will need to stop the run early or Rodgers could have another breakout performance.

Tampa Bay found itself down 14-0 early before exploding for 27 unanswered points and piling up 249 yards on the ground. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston tossed three touchdowns and 269 yards on 21-of-30 passes and an interception.

Even without veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, Tampa Bay has some play-makers that can pose problems for Oakland’s defense.

Against San Francisco, wide receiver Mike Evans caught eight passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns, while fourth year wide receiver Russell Shepard hauled in five passes for 77 yards including a 19-yard touchdown catch from Winston right before the end of the first half.

Evans is tied with Crabtree for the league lead with six touchdown catches this season.

Backup running back Peyton Barber’s 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter iced the game for Tampa Bay. Barber finished with 84 yards on 12 carries.

One match up to watch out for will be between Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper and Buccaneers rookie cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.

Cooper lit up the former Florida cornerback with 10 catches for 201 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s 42-21 victory on Sep. 20, 2014 in Tuscaloosa.




Oakland Raiders-San Diego Chargers preview: Raiders host Chargers in AFC West battle

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP file photo: Oakland Raiders Michael Crabtree (15) runs a pass route against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday Crabtree who scored three touchdowns is looking forward to the challenge of the San Diego Chargers next Sunday

OAKLAND, Calif — It’s been three weeks since Raider Nation has seen their team up close, and the last time the Silver & Black were at the Oakland Coliseum, their home opener, they lost to the Atlanta Falcons 35-28 in Week 2 dropping Oakland’s record to 1-1.

After playing three of their first four games on the road, Oakland (3-1), will play their next two games at home, both against AFC West opponents, first hosting the San Diego Chargers Sunday in Week 5 action at 1:25 p.m. PT.

Oakland welcomes the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 16 (Week 6).

The Raiders slipped by the Ravens, 28-27, in Baltimore last Sunday.

Quarterback Derek Carr, as cool as a cucumber, drove Oakland 66 yards in six plays, and found wide receiver Michael Crabtree tip-toeing the back of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter.

The third-year quarterback from Fresno State has played more like a 10-year veteran during the first month of the season,  throwing for 1,066 yards, nine touchdowns, to just one interception.

“He is a guy that is very well-prepared,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said via “He’s really, I think, taken a step forward in terms of emotional control, the poise to be, kind of, surgeon-like and just be accurate with the ball and let his playmakers do their thing.”

Crabtree, who is off to a tremendous start to the season as well, dominated the Ravens’ second-ranked defense, scoring three touchdowns on seven catches for 88 yards.

The eight-year veteran from Texas Tech has become Carr’s big-play guy, leading the Raiders in receptions (26), touchdowns (4), and is second behind fellow wide out Amari Cooper (318) in receiving yards with 308.

Rookies are being thrust into live action for Oakland, especially as injuries begin to pile up.

The Raiders’ fifth-ranked rushing attack could be down a man Sunday, as starter Latavius Murray (toe) is not expected to play, so Oakland will rely heavily on rookie running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

Washington, who will likely start, is second on the team with 147 rushing yards on 23 carries, while Richard is third with 144 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.

Middle linebacker Ben Heeney and tight end Lee Smith, who were both placed on season-ending injured reserve this week, will rely on rookie middle linebacker Corey James to fill Heeney’s void.

James, who took over for Heeney during Oakland’s 17-10 road victory in Tennessee during Week 3, recorded a team-high 15 tackles (3 assisted) in Week 4.

Smith, who was key in Oakland’s ground game with his strong blocking, leaves those duties to second-year tight end Clive Walford and fourth-year tight end, Mychal Rivera

The offensive line has been dealing with some injuries at tackle with Menelik Watson and Austin Howard. Rookie Vadal Alexander stepped in against Baltimore and solidified a unit that didn’t allow a sack in the game to a Ravens team that entered Week 4 with six sacks.

San Diego (1-3) travel to Northern California as a broken down team,  blowing three leads in the fourth quarter in the team’s final five minutes of the game this season.

The Chargers blew a 13-point second half lead in a 35-34 loss to the New Orleans Saints, thanks to fumbles by wide receiver Travis Benjamin and running back Melvin Gordon.

Benjamin, who signed with San Diego in the offseason following four years in Cleveland, leads the Chargers with 21 catches for 277 and two touchdowns.

San Diego’s season has been decimated by injuries, with 14 players on injured reserve.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries have taken out top-flight wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back  Danny Woodhead on the offensive side, but that doesn’t seem to bother Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

Despite all of the season-ending injuries, and with security blanket in tight end Antonio Gates dealing with a hamstring injury, Rivers has continued to put up arcade-like numbers throwing for 1,110 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception.

Rivers’s 104.5 passer rating ranks seventh in the league behind Carr’s 104.6, while engineering an offense that averages 30.2 points per game.

Defensively, San Diego lost star linebacker Manti Te’o (Achilles) in the third game of the season, but linebackers Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown have filled in nicely combining for 44 tackles and two sacks.

The loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett for the season with a partially torn ACL really hurts San Diego’s pass defense, especially against Cooper and Crabtree.

Cornerback Casey Hayward has recorded three of the team’s six interceptions, while outside linebacker Melvin Ingram is the team leader with three sacks.

On paper, Oakland should dominate San Diego, but Rivers, who is 14-6 with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for his career against the Raiders, is the quarterback who can prevent Oakland from earning their first win at home Sunday if he gets hot.

Oakland took both meetings last year against San Diego.


Baltimore will be Oakland’s stiffest test of the season

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP file photo: Oakland Raider quarterback Derek Carr (4) during an audible against the Tennessee Titans Sun Sep 25th will throw against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday

OAKLAND, Calif — With all due respect to the Atlanta Falcons, who gave Oakland their only loss on the young season: you are still a suspect team with an inconsistent pass rush and a quarterback in Matt Ryan that is a great fantasy football league stat filler, not a championship quarterback.

Or the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans, whom Oakland has defeated this season.

Oakland faces their toughest test yet of the season, against Ravens team in Baltimore Sunday  in Week 4 in a game that could have a significant determine playoff seeding in the AFC.

Sunday’s game will showcase the NFL’s second-ranked offense in the Raiders, who are averaging 436 yards and 26.7 points per game (Atlanta leads the NFL, averaging 448 yards and 34.7 points per game), against Baltimore, who are just allowing 254.3 yards and 14.7 points game, second behind Seattle’s 250.3 yards and 12.3 points per game.

Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr lit up a depleted Ravens’ defense in the two team’s match up last season in Oakland, throwing for a career-high 351 yards on 30-of-46 passes, three touchdowns and one interception in the Raiders’ 37-33 victory.

Carr’s 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts with 26 seconds left in the game capped off a 9-play, 80-yard drive after Carr went 7-of-9 on the final drive.

Last week, Carr completed 21-of-35 for 249 yards, one touchdown, and one interception leading the Raiders (2-1) to a 17-10 victory in Nashville, their second road win of the season.

For the season, Carr has thrown for 867 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception.

Oakland’s ground game racked up 123 yards, with starting running back Latavius Murray scoring his third rushing touchdown on the season.

Oakland’s 32nd ranked defense, who gave up 500 yards of total offense in back-to-back games to start the season, held Tennessee to 393 yards.

Rookie safety Karl Joseph, making his first career start, led the Raiders with 10 tackles (4 assisted), and cornerback Sean Smith recorded his first interception as a Raider.

The Ravens are coming off a tight, 19-17, road victory in Jacksonville Sunday, thanks to a Justin Tucker 54-yard field goal with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Baltimore is off to it’s third 3-0 start in franchise history, their first since 2009.

Baltimore starting quarterback Joe Flacco is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL entering his ninth season, already with six 3,000-yard passing seasons, a 10-5 playoff record, and a Super Bowl ring.

Even though Flacco has passed for 774 yards, he’s been uneven with the football, throwing three touchdowns and four interceptions, two against a young Jaguars’ defense last week.

However, Flacco was one pass away for tying an NFL record for consecutive completions in a game (22), but did break his own franchise record of 14 straight completions in a game, which he set in 2009.

Oakland should have their hands full with wide receiver Mike Wallace, who signed with Baltimore during the offseason.

Wallace, who is one of the more dangerous deep-ball receivers in the NFL, has caught all of Baltimore’s receiving touchdowns.

On the season, Wallace has 10 catches for 166 yards, while fellow wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is second on the team (behind tight end Dennis Pitta’s 18 catches), with 16.

Smith Sr. registered 10 catches for 150 yards last year against Oakland and can go off in a heartbeat, if Oakland doesn’t loses track of him.

Baltimore’s defense were relentless in Week 3 against Jacksonville, holding the Jaguars to just 216 total yards. The Ravens held Jacksonville to just 2.3 yards per rush on 21 carries for 48 yards.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, now in his 14th year with Baltimore, is tied for the team lead in sacks with defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan with three.

Jernigan should see plenty of former Ravens’ offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, who returns to Baltimore for the first time after signing a five-year, $58.5 million deal with Oakland in the offseason. Osemele spent his first four seasons with the Ravens from 2012-15.

Oakland, having to make the near five-hour cross-country flight, looks to improve on a 1-16 record in their last 17 games in the Eastern time zone with a victory.

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