Photo credit: @BNBlitzNow
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
OAKLAND — After having 10 days off, the Raiders get back on the football field this Sunday as they travel east to take on the Buffalo Bills in a key matchup for Week 8.
Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. ET or 10:00 a.m. PT for all you (including me) west coasters.
Last Thursday night, the Silver and Black got back into the win column with a 31-30 comeback victory over their bitter rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. Oakland (3-4) were down six late in the fourth quarter before starting quarterback Derek Carr engineered an 11-play, 85-yard drive in 2:25 that resulted on a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree as time expired.
Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio’s PAT on the next play proved to be the difference maker, snapping Oakland’s four-game losing streak following a 2-0 start.
In the process, Carr earned his NFL-leading 12th comeback victory since 2015. Carr completed 29-of-52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns with 101.2 passer rating.
Amari Cooper had a career-night, hauling in 11 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns of 38 and 45 yards. Cooper’s 210 yards ranked second in single-game franchise history to Art Powell’s 247 yards in 1963.
Cooper was named the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week for his offensive outburst against the Chiefs.
Just to put Cooper’s performance in a bigger perspective: after recording five catches for 62 yards and one touchdown in Oakland’s 26-16 victory in Tennessee in Week 1, Cooper struggled, recording just 13 catches for 84 yards and no touchdowns in Weeks 2-6.
Tight end Jared Cook made big plays also against a good Chiefs defense, catching six passes for 107 yards, including a 27-yard reception on the Raiders’ final drive to setup Oakland at the Kansas City 1-yard line.
On defense, newly signed middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman led Oakland with 11 tackles on the night.
During pregame introductions, Bowman was greeted with a loud ovation from Raider Nation. Bowman spent his first seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers where he was voted to three Pro Bowl teams (in 2012, ’13, ’15) and four All-Pro teams (in 2011-13, ’15).
Oakland will head into Buffalo without the services for starting running back Marshawn Lynch, who has been suspended by the NFL for one game after making contact with an official during Thursday’s contest.
Lynch was ejected in the first half after he ran onto the field and made contact with an official after trying to separate Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters from a scrum that broke out. The Raiders starting running back was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected.
Lynch and Peters are cousins from West Oakland. Peters actually testified on Lynch’s behalf at his appeal hearing, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Buffalo (4-2) is coming off a 30-27 victory at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7.
Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 20-of-33 passes for 268 yards and one touchdown with a 98.5 passer rating. Taylor is a mobile quarterback that can give the Raiders problems as he can make plays in the running game too.
Running back LeSean McCoy racked up 91 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay. Not only does McCoy lead the Bills with 370 yards rushing on 110 carries this season, but he’s Buffalo’s top receiver, leading the team with 32 catches and his second behind tight end Charles Clay with 220 yards receiving through six games.
Clay leads Buffalo with 258 yards receiving.
Defensively, Buffalo ranks fourth in the NFL in points surrendered, allowing just 16.8 points per game. Oakland’s offense ranks 15th in the league, scoring 22.1 points per game.
Buffalo ranks seventh in the league in stopping the run, allowing just 84.5 yards rushing per game.
Buffalo’s secondary is one of the strongest in the league, led by safety Micah Hyde who is tied for the league lead with four interceptions. Hyde signed a five-year, $30.5 million deal with Buffalo in the offseason after spending his first four seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
Sunday’s game in Buffalo marks the first of a two-game swing through the AFC East for Oakland. The Raiders travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins in Week 9.
Oakland is already 1-0 against the AFC East this year, after blasting the New York Jets 45-20 in Week 2 in the Raiders’ home opener.
The Raiders have won two of the last three meetings with Buffalo (in 2014 and ’16), while the Bills last defeated Oakland in 2011.