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.