The Sunday Spotlight: Rookies and the defense aid Ravens in 34-17 win over Raiders

Photo credit: @Ravens

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for a score and ran for another, and linebacker Terrell Suggs returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown helping the Ravens dispatch the visiting Oakland Raiders, 34-17 on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Rookie running back Gus Edwards rushed for 118 yards on 23 carries, his second-straight game that he’s rushed for over 100 yards. Edwards, who went undrafted in this year’s NFL draft out of Rutgers, rushed for 115 yards on 17 carries last week in Baltimore’s 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ravens backup cornerback Cyrus Jones took a punt 70 yards to for a touchdown that helped the Ravens (6-5) win for back-to-back games for the first time since September.

The Ravens would carry a 13-10 halftime lead into the locker room.

On the Ravens’ first drive in the third quarter, Jackson would lead the Ravens on a 13-play, 75-yard drive in 6:50 that ended in a 5-yard scoring run by the Louisville product that pushed Baltimore’s lead to 20-10.

Following a Derek Carr 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook (who made an unbelievable one-handed catch as he’s falling to the ground) that cut Baltimore’s lead to 20-17, Jackson would engineer a 17-play, 71-yard drive that chewed up 8:51 off the clock that was capped off by an 8-yard slant-route touchdown catch by former Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree that extended the Ravens’ lead to 27-17.

Crabtree, who was cut in the offseason by Oakland, finished with three catches for 21 yards on six targets.

Baltimore relied heavily on the running game that kept the Raiders off balance for most of the day, as Jackson led Baltimore on two touchdown drives that consumed 16 minutes of game time stretching from the third into the fourth quarter.

Oakland’s 31st-ranked running defense couldn’t stop the Ravens on Sunday, allowing 242 rushing yards on 43 attempts.

Jackson, who started at quarterback for the second-straight week in place of regular starter Joe Flacco whose been dealing with a injured right hip, did throw two interceptions on passes that were tipped but otherwise, played efficiently for Baltimore.

After not recording a sack through three quarters, the Ravens finally started to get pressure on Carr, sacking the Raiders starting quarterback on three-straight plays in the fourth quarter. Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon, who entered Week 12 with just three sacks on the season, recorded all three sacks on Carr.

Judon’s first sack resulted in a Carr fumble that was quickly scooped up by linebacker Terrell Suggs who then raced 43 yards for a touchdown that made the score 34-17, ending any hope for the Raiders.

Carr threw for 194 yards and one touchdown on 16-of-34 passes for Oakland (2-9), who scored a touchdown on their first possession for the second-straight week. Carr led Oakland on a 12-play, 81-yard drive in 6:15 that included a 30-yard completion to backup tight end Lee Smith on fourth-and-1 that was capped off by running back Doug Martin’s 1-yard touchdown run.

The scoring play for Martin was his first of the season for the Silver and Black. Martin scored his last touchdown last October as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Martin recorded 72 yards total (51 rushing and 21 receiving) on 14 touches (11 rushes and 3 catches) for the game. Second-year wide receiver Marcell Ateman was the only other Raider with three catches, finishing with just 21 yards. Ateman led the team with 10 targets.

Wide receiver Seth Roberts led Oakland with 54 yards receiving on two catches. Roberts’ 44-yard catch from Carr in the third quarter would setup tight end Jared Cook’s 16-yard touchdown catch that made the score 20-10 following a 5-yard touchdown run by Jackson to begin the third quarter.

For the second straight week, the Raiders’ defense recorded two interceptions with safeties Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist each notching a takeaway.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead recorded 14 tackles and linebacker Nicholas Morrow recorded just the 10th sack by Oakland this season in the first quarter.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, the Raiders return home to face the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time this season. Kansas City (9-2) who is currently on a bye week, leads the AFC West and are coming off a wild 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 18 in a game that was originally set to take place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The Ravens will travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in Week 13.

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Green-Harden battle could just be the beginning of a physical series; Cano says he didn’t know he was taking steroids; Does Gruden know what he’s doing?

Photo credit: @clevezirm

On the Headlines Sports podcast with Tony Renteria:

#1 Tony will be looking back a bit on that first game with the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors when the Rockets’ James Harden and the Warriors’ Draymond Green got into a scrap in the first few minutes.

#2 The Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Can came clean admitting he took a substance Furosemide, a diuretic he told reporters that he was given the substance by a doctor in the Dominican Republic, but didn’t realize it was a banned substance. Cano was suspended by MLB for 80 games and is one of the highest-paid players in the MLB.

#3 Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has been getting some criticism about the way he’s handled personnel so far. He’s let go of Michael Crabtree, punter Marquete King and now Kahlil Mack’s contract, whose contract is coming up could be leaving. The Raiders are looking for some cap room.

#4 In spite of the A’s having the usual arm problems their starters have been coming through with Sean Manaea helping Oakland get a one run 6-5 win and Tuesday night with pitcher Daniel Mengden improving his record to 3-4, going six innings, eight hits, two runs, and three strikeouts and two wins in the series against Boston.

#5 The Giants, after losing five straight all on the road, have now won three straight and are preparing for the Colorado Rockies starting on Thursday night. The Rockies, who are in second place in the NL West, will be a test for San Francisco at AT&T Park after success against a last-place Reds team.

Tony does Headline Sports each Thursday at

Despite doubts, Jon Gruden is the right mechanic to fix Derek Carr and the Raiders

Photo credit: @BleacherReport

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — For those who thought it was a cold-blooded move by Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis to fire former head coach Jack Del Rio 20 minutes after a 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers to close out a disappointing 2017 at 6-10, let me just put you at ease:

It was rightfully timed, but honestly, it could’ve came earlier in the year.

In fact, Davis’ frustration can be traced back to Week 4. After starting the season 2-0 with impressive wins against the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets, the Raiders would go on to lose their next four straight games, bringing their record to 2-4.

Following a 2-2 stretch in late November and early December that pulled the Raiders into a three-way tie in the AFC West at 6-6, the Raiders never looked like the team that finished 12-4 in 2016 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Davis didn’t talk to reporters after Oakland’s fourth straight loss to end the season, but those close to the owner have said that Davis has grown frustrated with the team’s lackluster performance, most notably on the offensive side of the football, after committing big money contracts to quarterback Derek Carr and offensive linemen Gabe Jackson, Donald Penn and Kelechi Osemele in recent seasons.

Davis wanted to turn the page quickly to 2018 and handing the keys to the franchise over to former Raiders head coach and current ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden was supposedly the way to do it.

According to multiple reports, Gruden is expected to be named the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders, which also includes an ownership stake in the team. No deal is official, but the deal is “imminent” according to the reports.

In his first stint with Oakland, Gruden compiled a 64-38 regular season record, including a 4-2 postseason record. Gruden also led the Raiders to the AFC Championship Game in 2000, but was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for draft picks following the 2001 season after a contract dispute with Mark’s father, Al.

Gruden would lead the Buccaneers to a 48-21 victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII following the 2002 season. During his seven years in West Florida, he was 112-57 in the regular season, including a 3-2 postseason record.

The reunion between the Raiders and Gruden makes sense. Gruden is beloved by Raider Nation in Oakland. He never wanted to leave the Silver and Black and had the team on the verge of a Super Bowl championship, and Davis desperately wants to win a Super Bowl for the City of Oakland before the team moves to Las Vegas in 2020.

Gruden’s eventual hiring will do wonders for the Raiders, but most notably for quarterback Derek Carr, who regressed a bit in 2017. Carr did suffer a broken bone in his back, where he missed just one game but didn’t look healthy or confident all year.

After back-to-back seasons of averaging 3,900 yards and 25 touchdowns for a 93.9 quarterback rating, Carr took a step back in 2017, throwing for just 3,496 yards and 22 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 86.4.

In 2017, Carr threw 13 interceptions after throwing just six in 2016.

Carr’s top wide receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, didn’t scare many teams this season. After an 89-catch, 1,003-yard receiving season in 2016, Crabtree finished with the season as the team’s leader in catches (58) and touchdowns (8) to go along with 618 yards in 14 games played after missing two games.

But Cooper’s 2017 season was just harder to figure out. Cooper was on his way of becoming one of the more electrifying wide receivers in the NFL with back-to-back 1,000-yards seasons, finished with just 680 yards receiving on 48 catches with seven touchdowns.

Tight end Jared Cook led Oakland in receiving yards with 688 on 54 catches for two touchdowns in his first season in Oakland.

But Carr is the the driver of the offense and Gruden will be tasked to repair a broken offense that finished 23rd in the NFL in scoring offense at 18.8 points per game in 2017 under first-time offensive coordinator Todd Downing after finishing fifth in scoring offense at 26.0 points per game in 2016 under then-offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Whispers around the organization suggest that Carr had a hand in the shakeup at offensive coordinator, switching from the demanding Musgrave to the laid back Downing.

Simply put, Carr and Downing were best buddies and Musgrave was the third wheel. Carr and Downing hated having Musgrave’s hands in the offensive popcorn bucket and had to go.

Musgrave’s contract wasn’t renewed after the 2016 concluded.

If/when Gruden is named head coach of the Raiders, Downing won’t be retained which will put Carr on notice immediately with the new coaching staff. Gruden, along with former franchise quarterback Rich Gannon who is rumored to join Gruden’s staff as the quarterback coach, will make it their personal goal to get every ounce of talent out of Carr.

From footwork to calling the plays in the huddle, Carr will be broken down and rebuilt by Gruden and Gannon.

In the end, the play of the the Raiders’ $125 million quarterback will determine the team’s success, but Gruden will be responsible for delivering the organization’s elusive fourth Super Bowl title it thirsts for.

Raiders return to national stage, play Eagles in Philadelphia Christmas night

Photo credit: @SuperBowl2018US

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — Similar with the Dallas Cowboys, the Oakland Raiders gear up for another unfamiliar opponent when they travel east this week to take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on Christmas night at 5:30 p.m. PT. This is Oakland’s first appearance on MNF this year, while it’s Philadelphia’s second appearance this season.

This is Oakland’s first game in Philadelphia since 2005 and their final trip east this season. The Raiders hold a 6-5 edge over the Eagles in 11 games played all-time.

Last Sunday night, the Raiders (6-7) lost a close game, 20-17, over the visiting Dallas Cowboys in prime-time on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Oakland’s defense held Dallas (8-6) to just 330 yards of total offense.

Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack penetrated Dallas’s top-ranked offensive line for two sacks on the night. With 10.5 sacks on the season, Mack is in the top-10 in the NFL in sacks and has posted a sack in five-straight games since Week 11.

Cornerback Sean Smith recorded two interceptions off Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott, matching Oakland’s season total coming into the game. Oakland has just four interceptions this season. Middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman led the defense once again with 11 solo tackles against Dallas.

Offensively, the Raiders continued to struggle scoring points Sunday. Oakland was shut out in the first half for the fourth time this season as the Cowboys took a 10-0 lead into halftime.

Starting quarterback Derek Carr threw for just 171 yards on 21-of-38 passing and two touchdowns, both to starting wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree finished with seven catches for 39 yards to go along with his two scores. WR Seth Roberts (starting for wide receiver Amari Cooper who missed his second-straight game with a left ankle injury), led Oakland with 52 receiving yards on three catches.

On the ground, Oakland rushed for 122 yards, including 76 yards from starting running back Marshawn Lynch and 47 yards from Carr.

With their playoff chances on life support, the Raiders are facing a must-win game against the team with league’s best record in the Eagles.

Philadelphia (12-2) clinched their first playoff berth since 2013 behind second-year head coach Doug Pederson. Pederson finished 7-9 in his first season at the helm of the Eagles. In last week’s 34-29 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, Philadelphia also secured a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs and have the inside track on the No. 1 seed.

The Eagles lead the NFL in scoring per game (31.3), second in rushing yards per game (140.5), and third in total yards per game (386.9). Before suffering a season-ending ACL injury during Philadelphia’s 43-35 victory in Los Angeles over the Rams, second-year quarterback Carson Wentz was having an MVP-type of season throwing for a franchise-record and league-leading 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.

In 13 games this season, Wentz threw for 3,296 yards to go along with a 101.9 quarterback rating. In his rookie season, Wentz threw for 3,782 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions with a 79.3 quarterback rating.

With Wentz out for the remainder of the year, the Eagles turned to sixth-year pro in backup quarterback Nick Foles. In his start last week against the Giants, Foles threw for 237 yards on 24-of-38 passing and four touchdowns. The last time Foles saw the Raiders, it was in 2013 and he destroyed the Silver and Black.

Foles tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in Philadelphia’s 49-20 victory at Oakland on Nov. 3, 2013. Foles threw for 406 yards on 22-of-28 passing for a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 in the contest.

Oakland’s 23rd ranked passing defense must be on high alert for an Eagles squad that have three receivers who’ve registered 700-plus receiving yards: wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (781), wide receiver Nelson Agholor (722) and tight end Zach Ertz (719). The trio have combined for 25 touchdown catches this season, with Jeffery scoring a team-best nine while Ertz and Agholor each are one behind with eight scores.

Ertz leads the team with 63 receptions.

Eighth-year running back LeGarrette Blount leads the Eagles with 717 rushing yards on 159 carries (4.5 avg) and two touchdowns in is first year with Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL this season. First-year Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has this unit playing top-notch football this season, forcing turnovers almost automatically. Schwartz’ defense has recorded 17 interceptions this season, good for third in the NFL.  Starting cornerbacks Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and starting safety Rodney McLeod are tied for the team lead with three interceptions apiece.

Mills has the team’s lone defensive touchdown scored this season. Defensive end Brandon Graham has a career-best 9.5 sacks this season, tied for eighth in the NFC.

Next Sunday, the Raiders will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers on a short week to close out the 2017 regular season. This will mark Oakland’s first trip to the StubHub Center.

Raiders’ offense a no show in Kansas City

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) has works with referee Carl Cheffers (51) and umpire Bill Schuster (129) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. The Kansas City Chiefs won 26-15. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

With the chance to move into sole possession of first-place in the AFC West, the Raiders (6-7) didn’t put up much of a fight against their bitter rival the Kansas City Chiefs (7-6), losing at Arrowhead Stadium 26-15 Sunday afternoon.

The two teams came into the game tied atop of the division with identical 6-6 records, along with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers, who host Washington Sunday, face the Chiefs in Kansas City next Saturday night.

The Raiders’ defense pressured Chiefs’ starting quarterback Alex Smith all day, sacking him four times, two by linebacker Bruce Irvin. Oakland also recorded just their second interception of the season by safety Karl Joseph, but the unit wore down as the Chiefs controlled the clock for 36:30 of the game. Kansas City racked up 408 yards of total offense, 268 of those yards thrown by Smith, who completed 20-of-34 passes on the day.

Chiefs’ starting running back Kareem Hunt rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown.

Oakland’s offensive unit mustered just 268 yards of total offense Sunday.

Kansas City jumped out to a 26-0 lead before Marshawn Lynch’s 22-yard touchdown run put the Raiders on the board with 8:51 to go in the game. Lynch finished the game with 61 yards on seven carries as the Raiders ran the ball just 11 times in the game.

Starting quarterback Derek Carr completed 24-of-41 passes for 211 yards one touchdown and two interceptions with a 60.1 passer rating for the game. Kansas City sacked Carr three times. In Carr’s last game against Kansas City on Oct. 19, he destroyed the Chiefs passing for 417 yards on 29-of-52 passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions and a 101.2 passer rating.

“It sucked,” Carr said via the Raiders’ official website. “It wasn’t good enough. And you put it all on me–don’t you blame one coach, one player.”

Oakland’s loss falls squarely on the offense, not just on Carr.

In the first half, Oakland had five possessions: four punts and one interception and were shutout through three quarters. The Raiders made just four first downs and were out-gained offensively by Kansas City, 362-110 yards through three quarters. The offense looked unfocused and lacked creativity against the NFL’s 30th-ranked defense in the Chiefs.

Tight end Jared Cook led Oakland with 75 yards on five receptions and a 29-yard touchdown catch down the middle of the field from Carr to trim Kansas City’s lead to 26-13 before Carr found wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a quick-slant route for a two-point conversion late in the game.

Crabtree finished with a team-leading seven receptions for 60 yards. To illustrate the Raiders’ struggles on offense Sunday, can be traced to a play in the third quarter.

On second down from his own 5-yard line, Carr launched a pass deep to Crabtree that fell short of the wide receiver. After diving for the football, Crabtree rolled over and remained seated with his shoulders slumped. It was a play that Carr and Crabtree connected on quite a few times last season.

“We had some opportunities we just didn’t connect on,” Carr said. “And that just can’t happen. There’s no easy way to go through this one. This one sucked.”

Wide receiver Amari Cooper, who missed Oakland’s 24-17 win over the New York Giants last Sunday with a left ankle injury, tried to give it a go Sunday, but didn’t look nowhere near healthy. Cooper re-aggravated the injury after being rolled up from behind on a downfield block for running back DeAndre Washington on a running play in the second quarter.

Cooper finished with zero receptions against Kansas City after posting career-highs in receptions in a game (11) and receiving yards (210) and two touchdowns against the Chiefs on Oct. 19.

This loss greatly hurts Oakland’s chances at making the AFC playoffs in back-to-back seasons. The Raiders finished 12-4 in 2016.

“We obviously came in with high hopes,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said after the game via the San Francisco Chronicle. “Everything we wanted to accomplish in our season was in front of us. It was a big day and a big moment. And we did not play well.”

Next Sunday, the Raiders host the visiting Dallas Cowboys at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in the team’s final home game of 2017. The Cowboys (7-6) kept their playoff chances in the NFC alive with a dominating win over the New York Giants, 30-10, at MetLife Stadium.

Cowboys’ starting quarterback Dak Prescott overwhelmed the Giants, passing for a career-high 332 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions on 20-of-30 passing.

Kickoff for the prime-time game is at 5:25 p.m. PT.

Raiders get set for crucial AFC divisional game with Chiefs in Kansas City

Photo credit: @RAIDERS

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — After back-to-back wins at home over the Broncos and the Giants, the Raiders head on the road to take on the Chiefs in Kansas City Sunday in a critical AFC West matchup. The Raiders are looking to complete the season sweep over the Chiefs after dispatching Kansas City, 31-30, in Week 7 at Oakland that halted Kansas City’s 11-game divisional win streak.

Kickoff is at 10:00 a.m. PT from Arrowhead Stadium. With both teams–along with the Los Angeles Chargers–sporting identical 6-6 records, the winner of this game would be in the driver seat of the division with three games to go in the regular season.

For the second straight week, Oakland’s defense held the opposing team to under 300 yards of total offense in limiting the Giants to 265 yards in Week 13. Defensive lineman Denico Autry recorded one of Oakland’s three sacks, his third in the last two games. Defensive end Khalil Mack and linebacker Bruce Irvin each posted a sack off of Giants starting quarterback Geno Smith.

Middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman led the team with eight solo tackles (one assisted).

Running back Marshawn Lynch carried the offensive load for Oakland, running for a 100 yards in a game since October 2015 as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Lynch rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries, including a 51-yard touchdown run on Oakland’s first drive of the game. It was Lynch’s second-straight 100-yard game for Oakland this season.

Lynch owes the Raiders a big performance against the Chiefs, after getting ejected from the previous game for making contact with an official after coming off the bench to aid in defusing an altercation between Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters, and the Raiders offensive line.

Lynch and Peters are “cousins” with the two having close ties from growing up in West Oakland.

With Oakland’s wide receiver corps depleted with Michael Crabtree serving a one-game suspension for fighting with Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, and Amari Cooper out with a concussion/left ankle injury, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson step up for the Silver and Black leading the team with 79 yards receiving on four receptions. Patterson’s 59-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter, helped seal Oakland’s victory over the Giants.

Crabtree is expected to be ready to go against the Chiefs, but Cooper is a different story. Cooper did clear the league’s concussion protocol, the team announced Wednesday, but has yet to practice on the sprained left ankle. If you’re part of Raider Nation, you better take a wait-and-see approach with Cooper.

Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr completed 22-of-36 passing for 287 yards and a touchdown, a nine-yard toss to wide receiver Johnny Holton in the fourth quarter.

Carr’s biggest performance of 2017 came against the Chiefs in front of a national audience on NBC’s Thursday Night Football, throwing for a ridiculous 417 yards on 29-of-52 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Carr and Cooper were in perfect harmony that night, with Cooper having a career night with 11 receptions (on 15 targets) for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper scored on touchdowns of 38- and 45-yards respectively.

In seven career games against Kansas City, Carr is just 2-5 against the Chiefs, his worst record against one team. Carr is just 3-4 against the Broncos in seven career games, his second-worst record against one team.

But Sunday’s game is essentially a playoff game for Oakland’s signal-caller, who sports a 0-3 record at Arrowhead Stadium. Carr knows that he must play well in order for the Raiders to leave Kansas City with a win.

Speaking before Wednesday’s practice, Carr acknowledge that the Silver and Black have their work cut out for them facing the Chiefs.

“Definitely number one right now, especially this week,” Carr said via the team’s official website. “It’s definitely up there. It’s something that we have not been able to do since I’ve been here. We have to get on that.

“We have a tough task ahead of us because, although their record is the same as ours, we’re both pretty good football teams. We have to go out there and play hard.”

After starting the season 5-0, including an impressive 42-27 win at New England in Week 1, Kansas City’s season has fallen into a tailspin. The Chiefs are just 1-6 in their last seven games and are currently riding a four-game losing streak after falling to the New York Jets, 38-31, at MetLife Stadium in an offensive shootout last Sunday.

Kansas City’s offense racked up 474 yards of total offense against the Jets, with starting quarterback Alex Smith having a huge day throwing and running the football. Smith threw for 366 yards on 19-of-33 passing, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. The former Utah quarterback also had a 70-yard run in the game.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill erupted for six receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns, while tight end Travis Kelce finished with four receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Kansas City was shredded by the Jets allowing 488 yards of total offense to Gang Green. Journeyman quarterback Josh McCown threw for 331 yards on 26-of-36 passing and a touchdown. Kansas City’s secondary allowed wide receivers Jermaine Kearse (9 receptions for 157 yards) and Robby Anderson (8 receptions for 107 yards) to run uncovered for most of the game.

The Jets converted 13-of-20 third downs and hogged the time of possession, controlling the clock for 42:49 and didn’t allow the Chiefs to get near McCown. Justin Houston, Kansas City’s most feared pass-rusher, was held to just one tackle for the game.

That won’t cut it for a team who has a rich history of getting to the quarterback with guys named Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith and Tamba Hali just to name a few.

In Kansas City’s biggest game of the season, the team will play without the aforementioned Peters, who was suspended by the team Wednesday for leaving the field while the game was still being played against the Jets. Peters also threw a penalty flag in the stands after a Jet touchdown.

With Peters out against the Raiders, the Chiefs already leaky secondary has gotten weaker and that could be a place where Oakland could attack. Teams are averaging 252.8 passing yards a game against the Chiefs this season. Kansas City ranks 28th in the league against the pass.

Oakland averages 241.2 passing yards per game this season, good for 15th in the league. Overall, the Silver and Black rank 21st in the league averaging 20.8 points per game.

Following Sunday’s game, the Raiders will host the visiting Dallas Cowboys at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in Oakland’s final home game of the regular season, while Kansas City hosts the Chargers in another pivotal AFC West matchup in Week 15.

NFL sits Crabtree and Talib two games apiece for fighting

Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) fights Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

ALAMEDA–Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib have been suspended two games apiece without pay by the NFL for their fight during Sunday’s game, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter Monday night.

Those same sources told Schefter that both Crabtree and Talib will appeal their suspensions.

Crabtree, Talib and Raiders guard Gabe Jackson were ejected with 11:47 left in the first quarter. Crabtree and Talib were ejected for fighting, while Jackson was ejected for making contact with an official.

Jackson was not suspended.

The fight occurred after Crabtree blocked Talib on a 5-yard run by Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch on a second-and-6 play from the Raiders’ 24-yard line on Oakland’s second possession of the game. Crabtree kept pushing Talib out of bounds near the Broncos’ sideline.

The duo exchanged shoves before they threw punches at each other. On Monday, Talib said that Crabtree threw the first punch at him. During the fight, Talib ripped Crabtree’s necklace from around his neck in the same manner as Talib did in a game last season.

“I came out there to play football on Sunday. I don’t really know what he came out there to do. … He came out here on this extra stuff, so one thing led to another,” Talib said Monday per ESPN’s Broncos Insider Jeff Legwold. “It’s unfortunate. I wish it didn’t happen, but it happened, so just have to move on.”

Oakland defeated Denver 21-14 Sunday to send the Broncos to their seventh straight loss after starting the season 3-1.

The 5-6 Raiders host the 2-9 New York Giants in Week 13.

Raiders look for second half turnaround after bye week head to Mexico City Nov. 19th

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) signs autographs at the end of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Raiders defeated the Dolphins 27-24. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — With nine games in the books, the Raiders are 4-5 at the bye week. Coming into the 2017 season, not many people had the Silver and Black under .500 especially with the offensive talent the Raiders sport led by starting quarterback Derek Carr.

In eight games (Carr missed Week 5 with a back injury), Oakland’s signal-caller has thrown for 1,954 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Carr is completing a career-high 65.2-percent of his passes this season and is on pace for another 3,000-yard passing season (his fourth-straight).

As much as wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper get most of the praise in the passing game, it has been tight end Jared Cook that has proven to be Carr’s most trusted pass-catcher through the first half of the season.

Cook leads Oakland in receptions (39) and receiving yards (499) this season. The nine-year veteran is just 13 receptions away from tying his career-high of 52 he established in 2014 as a member of the then-St. Louis Rams, and is just 261 receiving yards away of from surpassing his career-high of 759 yards he set in his third season with the Tennessee Titans in 2011.

Cook caught a team-leading eight passes for 128 yards in Oakland’s 27-24 win in Miami last Sunday in prime time on NBC Sunday Night Football.

For Oakland, it was a much needed win coming off a 34-14 loss in Buffalo the previous Sunday, and entering Hard Rock Stadium having lost the previous five straight matchups to the Dolphins.

Despite struggling with dropping the football early in the season, Cooper is second on the team with 38 receptions for 462 yards and three touchdowns. His 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-30 victory over AFC West rival the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7 helped snap Oakland’s four-game losing streak after starting the season 2-0.

Crabtree has 36 receptions for 451 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns, three of those scores came in Oakland 45-20 demolishing over the visiting New York Jets in Week 2.

Running back Marshawn Lynch leads the Raiders ground game with 323 yards rushing and four touchdowns this season. The Oakland-native hasn’t put up big numbers this season in his return to the football field after a year of retirement, but his ability to slow down the game and pick up first-downs could be key for the Raiders down the stretch.

If Oakland is leading in the fourth quarter, the ball should be fed to No. 24. No questions asked. Lynch had a bounce back performance against the Dolphins, rushing for 57 yards on 14 carries for two touchdowns after serving a one-game suspension the previous week for making contact with an official against the Chiefs in Week 7.

The NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year in defensive end Khalil Mack leads Oakland with 4.5 sacks this season and continues to be a terror to opposing offensive linemen, but its been the play of cornerback TJ Carrie that flies under the radar.

Carrie is tied with fellow secondary mates Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph for the team-lead with 50 tackles and has four passes defensed in eight games. The in-season pickup of inside linebacker NaVarro Bowman, who was released by the San Francisco 49ers after seven seasons on Oct. 13, has added a veteran presence and leader with big-game experience to the locker room.

In three games with the Raiders, Bowman has registered 32 tackles (11 tackles in back-to-back games and 10 tackles against the Dolphins), immediately paying dividends for Oakland.

But the fact that the Raiders haven’t recorded an interception through the team’s first nine games (an NFL record), is still a problem. The team’s top pick in last April’s NFL Draft  in cornerback Gareon Conley was expected to be a big part of the defense, but has only played in a handful of plays this year while battling shin splints.

For those of you who are wondering, the 1982 Houston Oilers own the record for fewest interceptions recorded by a defense in a season with three, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Along with the then-1982 Baltimore Colts, the 2005 edition of the Raiders are tied for second in NFL history recording just five interceptions.

When Oakland returns from the bye week, they will have to prepare for quarterback Tom Brady and the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots in Mexico City on Nov. 19.

The 40-year-old Brady is still going strong in his 18th season in the league, second among passers in yards (2,541) and touchdowns (16). His two interceptions are the second-fewest thrown by starting quarterbacks behind Kansas City’s Alex Smith, (league-high 18 touchdowns) who threw his first interception of the season in Week 9.

Before Oakland plays New England, the Raiders will be rooting for the Patriots (6-2) in Week 10, who travel to Denver to take on the Broncos (3-5) Sunday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in prime time.


Oak Raiders face Dolphins in Miami on Sunday Night Football

Photo credit: @zesty_raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — The Raiders conclude a two-game road trip with a visit to the Sunshine State when they face the Miami Dolphins in prime-time on Sunday Night Football at Hard Rock Stadium. This is the first matchup between Oakland and Miami since 2014 with the Dolphins routing the Raiders 38-14 at Wembley Stadium in London.

The Raiders haven’t played in Miami since 2012 and are currently riding a five-game losing streak to the Dolphins since 2008, with the all-time series tied 16-16-1.

Oakland (3-5) fell to the Buffalo Bills 34-14 in Orchard Park last Sunday. Instead of flying across country to Oakland to prepare for the Dolphins, the Raiders opted to travel to Sarasota, Fla. and stay at the IMG Academy for the second straight year.

Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr threw for 313 yards on 31-of-49 passes with one touchdown and two interceptions. Carr took the offense on the opening drive of the game 81 yards in 13 plays that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Jamize Olawale, but didn’t score their second touchdown of the game until the fourth quarter.

Running back DeAndre Washington led the team in rushing with 26 yards, but also was the leading receiver with eight receptions for 62 yards and a 4-yard touchdown catch from Carr. Washington was Oakland’s bellcow Sunday due to the absence of starting running back Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch was suspended for one game after making contact with an official in Oakland’s win over their arch rival, the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, didn’t play Sunday against the Bills, who drafted Lynch in 2007 out of California.

Lynch is expected to play Sunday.

Wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper combined for 10 receptions for 131 yards, but didn’t find the end zone. Crabtree led Oakland with 83 yards, while Cooper totaled just 48 yards after exploding for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 11 receptions against Kansas City.

After posting 505 yards of total offense in Week 7, Oakland had just 331 yards of total offense in Week 8.

Bills running back LeSean McCoy ran all over Oakland’s defense, rushing for 151 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown. McCoy’s 48-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter proved to be the death-blow for Oakland in rainy Western New York on Sunday.

Miami (4-3) were pummeled 40-0 by the Ravens, in prime-time, on Thursday Night Football in Baltimore. Quarterback Matt Moore who started in place of Jay Cutler, who was out with cracked ribs, looked shell-shocked against an aggressive Ravens’ defense.

Moore threw for 176 yards on 25-of-44 passes and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns by the Ravens. The Dolphins were held to just 196 yards of total offense in Baltimore. Miami enters Week 9 game against Oakland with the NFL’s worse scoring offense, averaging just 13.1 points per game and the 31st ranked rushing offense averaging a ghastly 76.4 yards per game.

Cutler is expected to suit up against Oakland Sunday. On the season, Cutler has thrown for 995 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions with a 78.8 passer rating. Now in his 12th season, the veteran signal-caller actually retired prior to this season and was set to work in the broadcast booth for FOX television, but was persuaded by Dolphins head coach Adam Gase to return to football.

With Gase as his offensive coordinator, Cutler enjoyed one of his best seasons of his career in 2015 while with the Chicago Bears, throwing for 3.659 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 games.

The trading of starting running back Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles at the trade deadline Tuesday for a fourth-round pick was head-scratching.

2016 was the third-year running back’s best season, rushing for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns on 260 carries for the playoff-bound Dolphins. Ajayi had three games in which he rushed for at least 200 yards last season and was the heartbeat for Miami’s offense.

This season, Ajayi has rushed for 465 yards on 138 carries, but zero touchdowns. The Dolphins will look to give more opportunities to second-year running back Kenyan Drake and fourth-year pro Damien Williams, who have accounted for just 57 yards on 22 carries.

Oakland’s shaky secondary must find ways to slow down Miami’s wide receivers in Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills.

Landry is one the league’s most explosive play-makers, leading the Dolphins with 50 receptions for 398 yards. Landry’s 50 receptions ranks second in the NFL behind Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown’s 57, while his three touchdown catches ranks second on the Dolphins.

Stills leads Miami with four touchdowns on 25 receptions for 313 yards.

Miami have one of the league’s best defenses, ranking seventh in the league in total yards surrendering just 306.3 yards per game. The Dolphins have given up just 27 third-down conversions, which are the second-fewest in the NFL. They also make it hard for opposing offenses to pick up first downs, allowing just 130 first downs this season, good for eighth-fewest in the league.

Cameron Wake is the Dolphins top pass rusher, registering six of Miami’s 15 sacks this season.

Following Sunday night’s game, the Raiders return to the Bay Area for their bye week. After the Silver and Black’s bye week, Oakland travels to Mexico City for a “home” game against the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca in Week 11.

The Dolphins will be on prime-time again next week when they head to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football on Nov. 13.

Raiders win it on the final play of the game edge out Chiefs 31-30; Lynch ejected for contact with official

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) makes contact with back judge Greg Steed (12) during the first half of an NFL football game between the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Lynch was ejected after the play. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Jeremy Kahn

OAKLAND-If you thought the ending of the Oakland Raiders game against the Los Angeles Chargers was nerve wracking, fast forward a little over 96 hours later.

Derek Carr found Michael Crabtree for a two-yard touchdown pass with no time remaining in the game and Giorgio Tavecchio’s extra point gave the Raiders a 31-30 come-from-behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs before a crowd of 55,090 at the Coliseum.

The Carr to Crabtree touchdown ended an 11 play 85-yard drive in 2:25, giving the Raiders the win for the ages.

Carr began to drive the Raiders immediately, following an offensive pass interference penalty on Johnnie Holton. Following the penalty, Carr found Amari Cooper for 39-yard pass play; however, the Raiders began to falter and looked like it was going to be another hard-fought loss to a division rival.

On fourth-and-11, Carr found Jared Cook for a 13-yard pass play to the Chiefs 29-yard line. After back-to-back incomplete passes, Carr found Cook for what looked like a 29-yard touchdown pass; however, the play was overturned and Cook was marked down at the one-yard line and that is the bizarreness began.

Carr found Crabtree for a one-yard touchdown pass; however, it was nullified due to an Offensive Pass Interference call on Crabtree with seven seconds remaining.

After an incomplete pass to Cook with three seconds remaining was overturned due to a defensive holding penalty on Ron Parker, the Raiders got the ball on the Chiefs five-yard line with no time remaining in the game.

Since the game is not able to end on a defensive penalty, the game went on and it looked like the game was over, as Carr’s pass to Cordarrelle Patterson fell to the ground; however, for the second consecutive play, the Chiefs were called for a defensive holding, this time on Eric Murray.

Carr finally got the Raiders in the end zone on the third play of the drive with no time remaining on the clock, as he found Crabtree to tie up the game and Tavecchio’s subsequent extra point gave the Raiders a wild one-point victory.

It was a huge night for Carr, who went 29-for-52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns in his second game back after missing the 30-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens due to broken bones in his back.

After being in a huge rut to start the season, Amari Cooper broke out if his slump in a big way, as he caught 11 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns.

Cook caught six passes for 107 yards, while Crabtree caught three passes for 24 yards, including the game-winning touchdown pass with no time remaining in the game.

DeAndre Washington led the Raiders on the ground in rushing, as he carried the ball nine times for 33 yards. Jalen Richard also carried the ball nine times for 31 yards and Marshawn Lynch carried the ball just twice for nine yards before being ejected from the game in the second quarter after touching Line Judge Julian Mapp.

It also appeared that Lynch left the sidelines to break up a skirmish with Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, who went to McClymonds High School.

Lynch, of course is a 2004 graduate of rival Oakland Technical High School, the two perennial powerhouses in the Oakland Athletic League.

Navarro Bowman made his Raiders debut just three days after signing with the team after being released by the San Francisco 49ers.

In his debut, Bowman led the team with 11 tackles, and Reggie Nelson added eight from his safety position.

Alex Smith went 25-for-36 for 342 yards with three touchdowns, including a 64-yard touchdown pass to Tyreke Hill and a 63-yard touchdown pass to Alex Wilson, who caught the ball after it was tipped by Keith McGill.

Hill ended up with six catches for 125 yards and that one touchdown.

Rookie sensation Kareem Hunt carried the ball 18 times for 87 yards.