Raiders prepare for short turnaround with KC Chiefs rolling into Oakland for Thursday Night Football

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs the football during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. The Steelers defeated the Chiefs, 19-13. (Ryan Kang via AP)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — If I told fans of the Silver and Black if their beloved Raiders would be sitting at 2-4 after the first six weeks of the season, many of them would want to toss me in a garbage can and roll me down a hill.

Well, the Raiders are 2-4 and their  2017 NFL season is circling the drain in a major way.

With the Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) traveling to the Black Hole this week for the first of two meetings with Oakland this season on Thursday Night Football at 5:25 p.m. PT, the second game is Dec. 10 in Kansas City, this is a true must win game for the Silver and Black if they have any chance of saving their season.

Oakland is coming off a tough 17-16 loss at home to the visiting L.A. Chargers Sunday, their fourth-straight loss following a 2-0 start to the season. It was also the fourth-straight game that the Silver and Black was held under 20 points in a game.

After missing Oakland’s 30-17 loss at home in Week 5 to the Baltimore Ravens with a back injury, starting quarterback Derek Carr returned to action for the Silver and Black against the Chargers in Week 6, completing 21-of-30 passes for 171 yards with a touchdown but threw two interceptions. Carr threw a 23-yard touchdown to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who led the team with six catches for 52 yards on 10 targets.

Running back Marshawn Lynch recorded 63 of Oakland’s 109 rushing yards on 13 carries. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson took a handoff and blazed past the Chargers’ defense for a 47-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Defensively for Oakland, linebacker Bruce Irvin recorded his second sack of the season to go along with six tackles. Cornerback TJ Carrie led Oakland with eight tackles. Oakland allowed 343 yards of total offense to the Chargers, with most of the damage coming from running back Melvin Gordon.

Gordon was the Chargers’ offense, with a 150 total yards (83 rushing and 67 receiving) on 34 touches (25 rushes and nine catches) and two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving). Second-year tight end Hunter Henry gave the Raiders fits on Sunday, hauling in five catches for 90 yards.

With the addition of four-time All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman to the defense, the Raiders are hoping that the middle linebacker position will be stabilized for the rest of the year.

Bowman, a seven-year pro out of Penn State, requested his release from the San Francisco 49ers on Friday after losing playing time, signed a one-year deal worth $3 million on Monday.

Kansas City was the last team to lose a game this season after dropping a 19-13 contest to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 6, giving the Steelers their third straight win over the Chiefs in the last two seasons, counting last year’s meeting in the playoffs.

Strangely, Sunday’s matchup between Pittsburgh and Kansas City was eerily similar to their playoff game in January, an 18-16 Steelers’ win on Kansas City’s home turf.

Chiefs starting quarterback Alex Smith completed just 19-of-34 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown, a 57-yard pass to wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas in the fourth quarter that pulled Kansas City within 12-10 with 6:13 left in the game.

Pittsburgh shut down the NFL’s hottest offense, limiting the Chiefs to 251 yards of total offense and holding the NFL’s top scoring offense per game (32.8) to just 13 points.

Smith leads the league in passer rating (119.2), second in touchdown passes (12) and is third in passing yards (1,637). Kansas City’s signal-caller has yet to throw an interception in 202 passes this season.

The Steelers also held the NFL’s top rusher, rookie running back Kareem Hunt, to just nine carries for 21 yards.

But Pittsburgh sliced up a very good Chiefs defense by racking up 439 yards of total offense. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 252 yards on 17-of-25 passes with a touchdown and one interception. Eight of Roethlisberger’s completions went to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who hauled in 155 yards and a 51-yard touchdown catch that put Pittsburgh up 19-10 in the fourth quarter.

Running back Le’Veon Bell found gaping holes in the Chiefs’ run defense, carrying the ball 32 times for 179 yards and a touchdown. Bell also rushed for 170 yards against Kansas City in the playoffs.

The Chiefs have great playmakers in cornerback and Oakland native, Marcus Peters and fellow cornerback Terrance Mitchell. Peters and Mitchell each have two interceptions this season for a Chiefs secondary that have five for the year, pacing 13th in the NFL.

Veteran linebacker Justin Houston leads Kansas City with 5.5 sacks, ranking seventh in the NFL.

Kansas City sits on top of the AFC West, while Oakland is sitting in the basement of the division. With a win for Kansas City, it could be the final nail in the coffin of the Raiders’ season as it will drop the team to 2-5 and put the season on life support.

But, win on Thursday night on primetime, and it could put the team back on course.

Kansas City has won the last five-straight games against Oakland, with the Raiders’ last victory over the Chiefs, coincidentally, on Nov. 20, 2014, which was a game on Thursday Night Football.

The 0-10 Raiders defeated the 7-3 Chiefs 24-20 in a rainy game in Oakland.

Thursday night’s game will conclude Oakland’s three-game homestand, with Oakland’s next game coming in Buffalo on Oct. 29.

 

 

 

 

Oakland Raiders host Los Angeles Chargers Sunday in first of two meetings for this season

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) greets injured Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr after an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. The Ravens won 30-17. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — Looking to get back into the win column and avoid their first four-game losing streak since losing 16-straight regular season games from Nov. 24, 2013 to Nov. 16, 2014, the Raiders welcome one of their AFC West rivals in the Los Angeles Chargers for an important matchup in Week 5.

Oakland (2-3) is currently in the middle of a three-game home stand at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, having lost in Week 5 to the Baltimore Ravens 30-17 and host their most bitter rival, the Kansas City Chiefs, on Oct. 19 in prime-time on Thursday Night Football.

Kickoff for Sunday’s game is at 1:25 p.m. PT.

With starting quarterback Derek Carr sidelined for the game with a traverse process fracture in his back, backup quarterback EJ Manuel filled in admirably for Carr completing 13-of-26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown in his first start for the Silver and Black. Manuel found a comfort level with wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the game, connecting with Crabtree for a 41-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter.

Crabtree finished as the Raiders’ top receiver for the day, collecting six catches for 82 yards to go along with the aforementioned touchdown after missing Oakland’s 16-10 loss Week 3 loss in Denver.

Oakland’s other starting wide receiver Amari Cooper was again a no-show, recording just one catch for eight yards on two targets. The ground game was paced by running back Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for 43 yards on 12 carries and his second touchdown of the year (all at home). Backup running back Jalen Richard contributed to the offense as well, rushing for 37 yards on nine carries.

The Raiders do expect Carr to start Sunday and hope to rejuvenate an offense that ranks in the middle of the league in points per game (21.6), which is good for 16th, but rank 23rd in rushing yards per game (90.6), 26th in passing yards (188.6), and 30th in total yards per game (279.2) through the first five games of the season.

Carr has thrown for 753 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions this year.

Last year through five games, Oakland ranked sixth in total offense scoring just a shade under 28 points per game.

Oakland’s offensive line, which was a pillar of strength for the team last year after only giving up 18 sacks in 16 games, have already surrendered 12 sacks this season through five games.

With the Chargers ranking third in the NFL with 17 sacks this season, the offensive line will have their work cut out for them. Defensive end Melvin Ingram leads the Chargers and the AFC in sacks with 7.5, while fellow defensive end Joey Bosa is not far off with 4.5 sacks.

Bosa made an immediate impact in his first pro game last year against the Raiders, sacking Carr twice en route to 10.5 sacks and being named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year after missing the first four games of the season in a contract dispute.

Second-year outside linebacker Jatavis Brown has become one of the league’s surest tacklers, leading the Chargers with 46 tackles (32 solo) this season. Last year when the Chargers called San Diego home, they finished tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions.

This season, the Chargers have recorded just two picks and have been bludgeoned by opposing teams on the ground. Los Angeles ranks dead-last in stopping the run, allowing 161.2 yards rushing per game.

In Week 2, the Chargers allowed 122 yards to Jay Ajayi, 172 yards to Kareem Hunt in Week 3, and 136 yards to LeGarrette Blount in Week 4.

That should bode well for Oakland, who still has yet to have a running back crack 100 yards rushing in a game this season. Lynch leads the Raiders with 57 carries for 194 yards and two touchdowns, while Richard is second on the team in rushing with 24 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown.

But the second-year Richard leads Oakland with 5.3 yards per carry this season, not the 10-year veteran in Lynch, who is second with 3.4 yards per carry.

Los Angeles (1-4) picked up their first win of the 2017 season, winning 27-22 against the winless New York Giants (0-5) at MetLife Stadium last Sunday. Starting quarterback Philip Rivers completed 21-of-44 passes for 254 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Now in his 14th season, Rivers ranks in the top-10 among all starting quarterbacks this year, pacing fifth in passing yards (1,365) and seventh in touchdown passes (9). His 266.8 passing yards per game ranks sixth among passers. Rivers has only thrown five interceptions this season and has been sacked just six times, a testament to the Chargers much improved offensive line.

The Chargers average 19.8 points per game, ranking 19th in the league, but can put up yards offensively, ranking 11th averaging 345.6 yards per game.

Running back Melvin Gordon was unstoppable running the ball and catching the ball against the Giants. Gordon carried the ball 20 times for 105 yards and led the Chargers with a game-high six catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns.

Gordon is tied for fourth in the NFL with five total touchdowns (two rushing, three receiving) this season.

The third-year running back from Wisconsin caught the game-winning touchdown from Rivers with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter to cement the Chargers’ victory.

Rivers is 14-8 in 22 career games against the Silver and Black, throwing for 37 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. His 37 touchdowns against the Raiders are the most that Rivers has thrown against any team in the NFL in his career.

Former California wide receiver Keenan Allen is the Chargers’ best wide receiver, leading the team with 28 catches for 401 yards and a touchdown.

Oakland has won the last four-straight meetings against the Chargers after sweeping both games in 2015 and 2016.

Los Angeles will host Oakland in Week 17 at the StubHub Center in Carson.

 

 

Oakland Raiders: Another disappearing act from Amari Cooper

Oakland Raiders quarterback EJ Manuel speaks at a news conference after an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — The season is starting to look grim for the Raiders, who lost for the third-straight week losing to the Baltimore Ravens 30-17 at home in Week 5 following a 2-0 start.

Coming into the game, Oakland had “W” written on paper, seeing that Baltimore was outscored 70-17 by their opponents in their last two losses following a 2-0 start of their own.

Oakland (2-3) did start backup quarterback EJ Manuel for the injured Derek Carr and Manuel did a good job, completing 13-of-26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. Manuel stepped in a ran the Raiders’ offense as best as he could on Sunday, finding a connection with wide receiver Michael Crabtree early and often.

Crabtree finished with team-highs in catches (6), targets (8) and receiving yards (82), most of those yards coming on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Manuel in the second quarter after Baltimore was already leading 21-3.

Crabtree leads Oakland with four touchdown catches this season after today’s game.

But where was fellow wide receiver Amari Cooper today? In fact, where has Cooper been this entire season?

Cooper didn’t record his first and only catch of the game until 12:35 in the fourth quarter, for eight yards. He had just two targets on the day.

After recording nine catches on 18 targets for 95 yards and a touchdown in Oakland’s first two wins of the season, Cooper has just four catches on 15 targets for 23 yards and zero touchdowns in the last three losses for the Silver and Black.

Cooper has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his first two years in the Bay Area and is considered to be Oakland’s best play-maker, but he has looked nothing like it or the ‘superstar’ every Raider fan believes he is this season.

Is it a mental thing?

Leading the league with seven drop passes according to Pro Football Focus can have that affect on a wide receiver. Maybe the drops are becoming a mental block for No. 89?

Oakland has played teams with good secondaries in recent weeks like Washington and AFC West rival Denver and better wide receivers than Cooper have had trouble this season finding success against those teams, but Cooper has to perform better if the Raiders have any chance of winning football games and making a run at the Super Bowl this year.

The Raiders are expected to get back Carr from his transverse process fracture he suffered in Denver (possibly as early as next week with the visiting 1-4 L.A. Chargers coming to town) and Cooper could reignite his season with Carr’s return.

If Carr and Cooper are on the same page, Oakland’s offense will take off without an issue.

For Oakland’s sake and their season, will the real Amari Cooper please stand up?

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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland Raiders are off to Denver to open up divisional play against the Broncos this Sunday

Photo credit: Raiders Report (@raiders_fanly)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — The Raiders travel to Denver to take on fellow AFC West rival, the Broncos, Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to open divisional play for the Silver and Black.

Both teams are looking to get back into the win column after both losing on the road in Week 3.

Oakland (2-1) was humbled by the Redskins 27-10 in Washington on prime-time in a game that the Redskins held quarterback Derek Carr and the high-power Raiders offense to just 128 yards in 48 plays ran. The offense didn’t hit the 100-yard mark in total offense until the fourth quarter.

Carr had a game to forget, completing just 19-of-31 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions with a 52.9 passer rating. Tight end Jared Cook led all Oakland receivers with 43 yards on four receptions. Cook scored his first touchdown in a Raider uniform on a 21-yard pass from Carr.

Carr was also sacked four times, another rarity for the Silver and Black who only surrendered 16 sacks in 2016.  Oakland’s stout offensive line has already gotten Carr sacked six times this season through three games.

Oakland’s defense was paced by linebacker Cory James, who recorded a team-high 12 tackles and one forced fumble. Defensive end Khalil Mack recorded his second sack of the season while finishing with nine tackles on the night for Oakland, who allowed 472 yards offensively to Washington on Sunday night.

Washington starting quarterback Kirk Cousins torched the Raiders, passing for 365 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions. Cousins completed 25-of-30 passes and finished with a blistering 150.7 passer rating against Oakland, who couldn’t keep running back Chris Thompson at bay the entire night.

Thompson hauled in six receptions for 150 yards (74 yards coming on an easy pitch-and-catch

But the lack of production from Oakland’s top receivers was the real eye-popping issue from the game.

Washington’s secondary led by the trash-talking Josh Norman, the Redskins’ top cornerback, were in the faces of Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Washington held the duo in check, limiting Cooper and Crabtree to just two receptions for 13 yards on eight targets.

Crabtree and Cooper will have their work cut out for them again Sunday when they have Denver’s stellar pair of cornerbacks in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., lined up against them, especially when  Crabtree and Talib line up.

Who can forget when Talib ripped off Crabtree’s gold chain following a play in last year’s season finale, a 24-6 victory for the Broncos at home?

The Crabtree/Talib matchup could be the best one-on-one matchup within the game, and could prove to be the difference maker in a win for either team.

Denver (2-1) is coming off a 26-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Western New York last week. The Broncos defense recorded four sacks and held Buffalo to 272 yards of total offense. Linebacker Brandon Marshall recorded a team-high 10 tackles and one sack.

Outside linebacker Von Miller also posted a sack, but his 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on third-and-six after not helping up Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, which was an absolute joke, proved to be critical in aiding the Bills to victory.

The Broncos’ defense is one of the best in the league, ranking first in rushing yards per game allowed (59.7), fourth in total yards per game allowed (263), 10th in passing yards per game allowed (203.3) and 16th in points per game allowed (21.3) through three games.

Oakland has the ninth-best offense in the league, averaging 27 points per game.

Offensively, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas led Denver with six receptions for 98 yards, but quarterback Trevor Siemian didn’t pass the ball well, completing 24-for-40 passes for 259 yards and like Carr in Washington, threw two interceptions against the Bills.

Siemian finished with a 58.2 passer rating on the day.

With Kansas City sitting on top of the AFC West at 3-0 and both teams needing to keep pace, Sunday’s game is most certainly a must win.

After the embarrassing showing in Washington where many critics started to question the Raiders’ effort on national television, what team will show up in Denver?

The one that resembled a powerhouse team after vanquishing Tennessee and the New York Jets almost with ease?

Or the team that was hung upside down by their ankles in Washington, watching all of their lunch money spill out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offensive woes dooms Carr and Raiders in Washington DC

Photo credit: Oakland Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

HYATTSVILLE, MD — Boy, you didn’t see that one coming from a mile away.

Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders were straight out humbled by Washington 27-10 Sunday night at FedEx Field to brought their record to 2-1 on the season.

Carr and the offense were completely out of sync, registering just 128 yards of total offense. The Raiders signal-caller completed just 19-of-31 passes for 118 and threw two interceptions (with a 52.9 passer rating) that led to a 14-0 lead for Washington at halftime.

Last season, Carr didn’t have a game in which he threw two interceptions in the contest. Before tonight’s two-interception clunker, Carr’s last two-interception game was in Week 15 of the 2015 season against the Green Bay Packers.

“Man, we just got our butt kicked,” Carr told reporters after the game, “This isn’t alarming, but we did get punched in the mouth.”

Punched in the mouth is an understatement.

Washington (2-1) took a pair of rusty pliers to Oakland’s mouth and pulled their teeth out. Oakland took care of the football in the first two games this season, but tonight was a different story.

Oakland couldn’t move the ball on third down, finishing 0-for-11 while Washington converted 7-of-15 on third downs. Washington controlled the time of possession, holding on to the football for 38:06 to just Oakland’s 21:54.

Oakland gained just seven first downs the entire night.

The Raiders didn’t record a first down until 11:34 into the second quarter, and that came off a penalty on Washington.

Wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were virtual no-shows, combining for two catches for 13 yards on eight targets on the night. Crabtree left the game in the fourth quarter after taking a wicked hit to the chest and didn’t return.

Running back Marshawn Lynch racked up 18 of Oakland’s 32 rushing yards and was a non-factor after Oakland had to abandon the run after Washington took a 21-0 lead at the 10:37 mark in the third quarter following a 52-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Josh Doctson.

Trust me, the offense had a hand in this debacle, but Oakland’s defense got pushed around and were hammered by Washington.

Doctson jumped over Oakland and former Washington cornerback David Amerson up the right sideline that was a gut-punch to a Raiders defense that surrendered 472 yards of total offense.

Cousins ripped Oakland to shreds, completing 25-of-30 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns with a 150.7 passer rating.

Washington running back Chris Thompson was unstoppable, dominating Oakland with six receptions for 150 yards and a 22-yard touchdown catch from Cousins.

Tight end Vernon Davis went back into the time machine, hauling in five catches for 58 yards, which included an 18-yard touchdown catch after gaining a step past cornerback Sean Smith down the middle of the field.

But what makes this loss so gruesome for the Silver and Black was that it occurred in prime-time in front of the entire country.

The over-priced offensive line, and rightfully so, was just out-worked by a speedy and powerful Washington defensive front that gave Oakland problems from the opening kickoff.

Carr, who was sacked just twice coming in two games coming into Week 3, was sacked four times by Washington. On Oakland’s second possession of the game, Carr was sacked on back-to-back drop-backs and the offensive line couldn’t maintain Washington’s speed on defense.

If it weren’t for a fumble by Washington wide receiver Jamison Crowder on a punt that Oakland recovered to set up a 21-yard touchdown pass from Carr to tight end Jared Cook (four receptions for 43 yards) to cut Washington’s lead to 21-7 with 3:52 left in the third quarter, the Raiders could’ve been shut out.

At one point, I’m looking at the stat sheet and the Raiders had just 74 yards of total offense. One of the league’s premier offenses was a shell of itself in the first of their franchise-record five prime-time games this season.

It will be a long flight back to the Bay Area for the Raiders and to a man, everyone on that team plane has to be upset. Everyone from the coaches to the players had a hand in this no-show of a football game.

Oakland has to now turn their attention to Week 4 and prepare for a trip to Denver for a key AFC West game next Sunday.

With both teams looking up at the undefeated Kansas City (3-0) in the division, the matchup against the Broncos (2-1) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is now a must-win for Oakland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redskins dominate Raiders on primetime television 27-10

Photo credit: Washington Redskins

By Jeremy Kahn

What could go wrong for the Oakland Raiders against the Washington Redskins most definitely went wrong.

Kirk Cousins threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns, as the Redskins defeated the Raiders 27-10 at FedEx Field.

Not only did Cousins have a huge night, but the Redskins also got a huge game from running back Chris Thompson, who picked up 188 yards and a touchdown.

The Redskins defense sacked Raiders quarterback Derek Carr four times, and held the Raiders to just 128 total yards of offense.

Cousins went 25-of-30 on the evening, that included touchdown passes to Thompson, Vernon Davis and the final touchdown pass was a 52-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson.

Thompson gained 38 yards on the ground, and 150 yards through the air, becoming only the second running back to gain 150 yards thru the air against the Raiders since they returned to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995.

In comparison to the Raiders 128 yards of total offense, the Redskins gained 472 yards of total offense and are now 2-1 on the young season.

Carr went 19-for-31 for 118 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Entering the game, Carr went 112 consecutive passes without throwing an interception; however, that ended on the second play of the game, as Montae Nicholson intercepted a Carr pass.

The duo of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper caught a combined two passes on the evening.

Marshawn Lynch carried the ball just six times for 18 yards.

Nothing went right for the Raiders on the evening, as they went 0-for-11 on third down conversions.

The Raiders offense gained just 47 yards in the first half, their lowest performance in a first half since Week 14 of the 2015 season against, this according to ESPN Stats and Info.

NOTES: Once again, the Raiders will stay on the road next week, as they face the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority at Mile High.

The only other running back to gain 150 yards of receiving was Jamal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Oakland-Washington Preview: Raiders travel East for prime-time game against Redskins

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) is congratulated by quarterback Derek Carr (4) and tackle Donald Penn (72) after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — Coming off a dominate 45-20 Week 2 victory against the lowly New York Jets in their home opener, the Raiders (2-0) play their first of five prime-time games with a cross-country trip to Washington to face the Redskins at FedEx Field with a 5:25 p.m. PT kickoff.

This will be the first game between the two teams since 2013, which resulted in a 24-14 win for Washington in Week 4 at Oakland.

Derek Carr shredded the Jets, completing 23-of-28 for 230 yards and three touchdowns, all to wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree led all receivers with six receptions for 80 yards while Carr posted a 136.6 passer rating in the game.

Oakland’s running game found open lanes in New York’s defense, racking up 180 yards on the ground, with a 6.7 yards per carry.

Running back Jalen Richard and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson each scored long rushing touchdowns, 52 and 43 yards respectfully. Oakland’s native son, Marshawn Lynch, scored his first touchdown in front of his hometown fans in the second quarter.

Lynch finished with 12 carries for 45 yards and one overly-publicized dance on the sideline early in the fourth quarter with the Raiders holding a commanding 35-13 lead.

Defensively, Oakland’s defense was sound, holding the Jets to 271 yards of total offense and forcing one fumble by safety Karl Joseph, who also registered his first career sack. Joseph’s sack was one of four recorded by the Silver and Black on the day.

Safety Reggie Nelson led the team with eight tackles and first-round rookie cornerback Gareon Conley made his NFL debut, recording a pass break up.

Washington (1-1) won in Los Angeles 27-20 behind a 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Ryan Grant in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.

Cousins finished 18-of-27 passing for 179 yards.

Washington’s top play-makers are tight end Jordan Reed and former Oakland quarterback-turned-wide receiver Terrelle Pryor led the Redskins in receptions (11) and receiving yards (97) respectfully.

While veteran Rob Kelley (22) and rookie running back Samaje Perrine (21) get the majority of carries, fourth-year runner Chris Thompson leads the team with two rushing touchdowns.

Chris Thompson is also a great pass catcher out of the backfield, hauling in one of two Washington’s touchdowns through the air to go along with seven catches for 81 yards this year.

On defense, linebacker Zach Brown is a tackling machine, ranking third in the NFL in tackles with 22 entering Week 3. Third-year linebacker Preston Smith leads the Redskins with two sacks, while fellow linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is second on the team with 1.5 sacks.

The seven-year pro from Purdue has one of Washington’s two interceptions for the season, returning it 24 yards for a touchdown.

Prediction: Raiders 28-17.

Oakland’s offense led by Carr have too many weapons for Washington to handle. Washington’s cornerback tandem of Bashaud Breeland and the trash-talking Josh Norman will be a great test for Oakland’s wide receiving combo of the aforementioned Crabtree, and Amari Cooper, but Carr has improved his throwing mechanics and now can make every throw seem effortless.

Combined that with a versatile ground attack led by Lynch and Richard, (not to mention DeAndre Washington) to go-along with a wild-card like Patterson, Washington will have problems covering all the players the entire night.

This game in Washington could be a “trap” game for the Silver and Black, with a trip to Denver looming in Week 4 if they take the Redskins lightly.

Don’t expect that to happen Sunday night from the Nation’s Capital for the Raiders who have bigger goals in mind this season.

 

 

Oakland Raiders Sunday Spotlight: Michael Crabtree

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — Michael Crabtree was a scoring machine against the visiting New York Jets, hauling in six catches (on six targets) for 80 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in Oakland’s 45-20 rout Sunday in the Silver and Black’s home opener.

Oakland is 2-0 for the first time since 2002, the last time the team played in the Super Bowl after winning the AFC Championship. Crabtree briefly left the game in the first quarter with an ankle issue, but returned to the game and was the Jets’ worse enemy the rest of the game.

With the Jets doubling fellow wide receiver Amari Cooper for most of the game, Crabtree took full advantage of single coverage, scoring on a 2-yard fade route up the left side in the first quarter, a 26-yard fly-route down the right side in the second quarter, and 1-yard option route in the fourth quarter that pushed Oakland’s lead to 42-13.

The Raiders racked up 410 yards of total offense against New York (0-2), who gave up 400-plus yards of total offense for the second straight week after surrendering 408 yards to the Bills in a 21-12 loss at Buffalo in Week 1.

In two games this season, Crabtree leads Oakland with 12 catches (on 13 targets) for 163 yards and four touchdowns.

Oakland heads to Washington next Sunday to play the first of their franchise-record five prime time games in 2017 on NBC Sunday Night Football. Crabtree could be in for a tough matchup against the Redskins, who have one of the NFL’s best shutdown cornerbacks in Josh Norman.

Washington (1-1) defeated the Rams 27-20 in Los Angeles Sunday after intercepting Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff in the final minute of the fourth quarter to seal the win.