Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Dec. 29, 2013
The Oakland Raiders faced a tough match-up for their season finale as they hosted the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
The Broncos handled the Raiders early on just as they had done to most opponents for the majority of the year, defeating the Raiders easily 34-14.
The Raiders offense struggled to get anything going with Terrelle Pryor back as the starting quarterback, going scoreless in the first half.
The lone highlight for the Raiders in the first half came when Pryor scrambled for an 11-yard gain, giving the team a first down and giving him 540 rushing yards on the season, the most of any quarterback in Raiders franchise history. Rich Gannon previously held the record with 529 rushing yards, set during the 2000 season.
But that was about it for highlights for the Raiders in the first half, as Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense scored on every possession.
Manning came into the game needing 266 passing yards to break Drew Brees’ NFL record for most passing yards in a season, and that’s exactly what he got.
Manning carved up the Raiders defense in the first half, completing 25/28 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns to give the Broncos the 31-0 lead in the first half.
Fittingly, Manning’s record-breaking pass came on first and goal from the five yard line as he found wide receiver Damaryius Thomas for the touchdown, his fourth of the day. Already up 31-0, Manning gave up the quarterback duties to Brock Osweiler in the second half.
The Raiders looked as if they were going to get on the scoreboard finally in the third quarter when backup fullback Jamize Olawale broke free to block a Britton Colquitt punt, but the Raiders offense still couldn’t capitalize. After going three and out, kicker Sebastian Janikowski hooked it wide right to miss his ninth field goal of the year. Janikowski is now 21/30 on the season (70 percent).
The Broncos seemingly let off the gas in the second half with Osweiler in at quarterback and didn’t get back on the board until about halfway through the fourth quarter.
After punting earlier in the half instead of going for a 54-yard field goal, Broncos head coach John Fox decided to kick a 54-yard field goal that Matt Prater nailed to give the Broncos the 34-0 lead.
The Broncos defense came into the game allowing 25.7 yards per game but the Raiders were unable to score until roughly four minutes remaining in the game. Down 34-0, Pryor orchestrated an eight-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a 14-yard touchdown pass to Rod Streater.
The Raiders would score one more touchdown when Pryor found tight end Nick Kasa in the end zone for his first-career touchdown in the regular season, cutting the lead to 34-14 in the final minute.
But that would be it for the Raiders as they would fail to recover the onside kick, allowing the Broncos to wind the clock out for the 34-14 victory.
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Dec. 22, 2013
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders headed into Sunday's match-up with two complete different story lines on the season. The Raiders face questions about their future with rumors of a coaching change swirling around, while the Chargers still held hope of making the playoffs after the Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills during the morning games.
With the Raiders struggling to get their offense going, the Chargers took control of the first quarter with a 16-play possession on their first drive, winding 9:15 off the clock but only resulting in a field goal from Nick Novak to put the Chargers up 3-0 early. Cornerback Mike Jenkins came up to make a big hit on Chargers running back Danny Woodhead to limit the Chargers to the field goal attempt.
The Raiders were able to take advantage of a couple of Chargers turnovers in the second quarter to get some points on the board.
[caption id="attachment_12384" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/dmc2.jpg"><img alt="Raiders running back Darren McFadden scores his first touchdown since week eight" src="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/dmc2-300x198.jpg" width="300" height="198" /></a> Raiders running back Darren McFadden scores his first touchdown since week eight[/caption]
Oakland's first score came off of a fumble by Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers went up to make a call adjustment at the line of scrimmage but center Nick Hardwick snapped the ball and Raiders linebacker Miles Burris recovered the loose ball on the 42-yard line.
Raiders running back Darren McFadden punched the ball in from five yards out to give him his first touchdown since week eight. The score gave the Raiders the 10-3 lead. The touchdown was made possible by an acrobatic catch by tight end Mychal Rivera, who hauled in a 37-yard reception from Matt McGloin to give the Raiders first and goal from the five.
[caption id="attachment_12385" align="alignright" width="198"]<a href="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/jenkins1.jpg"><img alt="Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins picks off Phillip Rivers" src="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/jenkins1-198x300.jpg" width="198" height="300" /></a> Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins picks off Phillip Rivers[/caption]
The Raiders would force another turnover as Rivers and the Chargers were driving down the field. Jenkins would make another big play as he leaped in front of wide receiver Vincent Brown to come down with the interception, giving the Raiders the ball on their own 10-yard line.
But the Raiders could not capitalize on the gained possession. McGloin gave the ball right back to the Chargers as he was picked off by safety Eric Weddle for his 8th interception of the season. Chargers running back Ryan Mathews would run the ball in from seven yards out to give the Chargers the lead again, 10-7.
It looked as if the Raiders would be giving the ball back to the Chargers with enough time for them to tack on to their lead but Chargers rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen muffed Marquette King's punt, giving the Raider another chance to get on the board before the half.
The Raiders used a nice play on a screen to Marcel Reece to get to the two-yard line with first and goal. But the Chargers defense would stand, forcing two incomplete passes and run for no gain. The Raiders would settle for a field goal, heading into halftime tied with the Chargers 10-10.
The Chargers would be the first to score in the second half as well as Rivers found Allen wide open in the end zone with a pick play to give the Chargers the 17-0 lead.
With wide receiver Jacoby Ford a healthy scratch, rookie Greg Jenkins handled return duties and made a crucial mistake. Jenkins brought a ball out from relatively deep in the end zone and fumbled the ball with the Raiders down 20-10 late in the third quarter. The defense would ultimately hold, but the Chargers would take a 23-10 lead off of the turnover.
[caption id="attachment_12386" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/streater4.jpg"><img alt="Streater goes up for a touchdown though the play was ultimately ruled incomplete" src="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/streater4-300x198.jpg" width="300" height="198" /></a> Streater goes up for a touchdown though the play was ultimately ruled incomplete[/caption]
The Raiders seemed to be making a late run at the Chargers after forcing field goals and McGloin finding a wide-open Rod Streater at the goal line. After one referee ruled it a touchdown, another said the ball came out and was incomplete. Allen challenged the play but the ruling on the field stood, resulting in an incomplete pass.
The play in question occurred with 4:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Raiders would extend the play and get down to the Chargers one-yard line, before an illegal formation penalty would force a fourth and goal from the six yard line with just :59 remaining. With no time, McGloin tossed a ball up at the goal line and Reece dropped the reception.
Given the ball on-downs, Rivers could take a knee and secure the win as the Raiders had no timeouts remaining.
The Raiders return home to finish off the season as they host the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, who has already broken the record for most touchdown passes in a season (51).
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Dec. 15, 2013
The Oakland Raiders returned home after dropping their last two games on the road but didn't see any increase success as Jamaal Charles and the Kansas City Chiefs came to town.
The Raiders defense, which has not looked good as of late, hit a new low as they gave up 56 points to the Chiefs in their 56-31 loss. The 56 points is the most points ever allowed by the Raiders in franchise history.
Andy Reid turned to his speedy back early and often as Charles led the rout of the Raiders early with a screen pass from Alex Smith to quickly take the lead. Following a 50-yard kickoff return to the 49-yard line by Quentin Demps, Smith through a screen out to the left to Charles who scampered 49 yards untouched for the touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
That would become the theme for the day, as Charles finished with eight receptions for 195 yards and four touchdowns. And if it isn't broken, why fix it?
The Chiefs went right back to the Charles well on their second drive. After being pushed back to a 3rd and 19, Smith swung it out back to his left for a screen to Charles once again who went 39 yards for another touchdown to put the Chiefs up 14-3.
Then it was time for the Chiefs defense to get on the board. On 3rd and three, Chiefs safety read Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin's eyes and intercepted his pass and returned it all the way for a touchdown, putting the Chiefs up 21-3 in the first quarter.
Kansas City held the best turnover ratio coming into the game at +15, and they only increased that number today as they forced another seven. McGloin had five of his own (four interceptions and one fumbled snap), while special teams specialist Taiwan Jones added a fumble of his own on a kick return. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who replaced McGloin in the fourth quarter, threw an interception as well. The Chiefs only had one turnover of their own, a fumble by Smith.
Berry had a second interception in the second quarter. The turnover once again culminated in a screen pass for a touchdown from Charles, this time from 16 yards out and to put the Chiefs up 35-10.
The Raiders were able to head into halftime only down 35-17, scoring on two goal-line touchdowns from running back Rashad Jennings.
The Raiders seemingly made adjustments on offense to start the second half, scoring two touchdowns to cut the Chiefs lead to just four points.
McGloin was able to find cornerback/running back Taiwan Jones for a big 52-yard gain that set up a six-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Andre Holmes, for his first-career touchdown.
After a big stop on defense, the Raiders were able to get back on the board with a touchdown pass to tight end Mychal Rivera for the touchdown. The touchdown was made possible by a spectacular one-handed catch by Holmes for a gain of 28 yards on 3rd and 7. The touchdown made the score 35-31 with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But that would be the closest the Raiders would get to the Chiefs as Charles once again beat the Raiders defense for yet another touchdown reception. On 3rd and one, Smith found Charles on a wheel route for a 71-yard touchdown reception. Linebacker Miles Burris was in coverage but could not keep upu with the much-speedier back.
Things escalated quickly as Jones' fumble came on the following kickoff, giving Smith and the Chiefs offense a short field. Smith capitalized with a six-yard touchdown reception to tight end Sean McGrath, making the score 49-31.
The Chiefs final touchdown would occur following yet another McGloin interception in the fourth quarter. Backup running back Knile Davis, who was inserted after Reid pulled Charles, broke free for a 17-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs the final score of 56-31.
Pryor replaced the McGloin for the rest of the game but was largely ineffective as well, finishing 1/4 for 12 yards and one interception. McGloin was 18/36 for 297 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Things don't get any easier for the Raiders as they head to San Diego to take on the Chargers followed up by hosting the Denver Broncos for the season-finale. Both teams will likely be playing for playoff contention and/or seeding.
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Dec. 8, 2013
The Raiders streak of losses in the Eastern Time Zone was extended to 13 games with their 37-27 loss in the New York to the Jets on Sunday.
Oakland's defense once again struggled and were unable to slow down a Jets offense that has struggled for much of the season.
Geno Smith and the Jets offense were able to consistently convert on third down, converting 53 percent of their third-down attempts (7/13). The Raiders defense's inability to get off the field on third down assisted to the Jets scoring a season-high 37 points.
The Jets got out to the early lead after receiving the opening kickoff, converting on a 41-yard field goal from Nick Folk to take the early 3-0 lead.
The Raiders had a chance to capitalize on an early interception from Smith with a great diving catch from linebacker Kevin Burnett, but failed to get any points out of it as kicker Sebastian Janikowski's struggles continued with a missed field goal attempt.
The Raiders defense couldn't come up with a stop on Smith's next drive as he was able to find Jeremy Kerley for a 25-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 10-0.
The Raiders first points came in the second quarter when Janikowski redeemed himself and made a 41-yard field goal of his own to bring the Raiders back within one score. The drive was led by backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor who finished 2/5 for 20 yards and three rushes for four yards. Pryor would not return to the field the rest of the game.
A key mishap for the Raiders occurred on special teams in the second quarter, which is unusual for a special teams unit that has been so strong this season. Already pinned back on their own 18-yard line, punter Marquette King had his punt blocked and returned for a touchdown by Antonio Allen. The score extended the Jets lead to 20-3 heading into halftime.
With running backs Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart all out with injuries, the Raiders turned to fullback Marcel Reece to handle the halfback duties. Reece provided a spark to the Raiders offense early in the second half as he outran the entire Jets defense to scamper a career-long 63-yards for a touchdown. Reece was solid all day, running the ball 19 times for 123 yards, another career-high, and the one touchdown.
But the Raiders defense couldn't hold the momentum as Smith led the Jets back down the field quickly with a 10-play drive culminating in a eight-yard touchdown run by Smith on a read-option. The score extended the Jets lead to 27-10.
The big plays continued for the Raiders as they answered with a quick strike, this time Matt McGloin thread the needle to find Rod Streater for a 48-yard touchdown. Streater led the Raiders in receiving with seven receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown.
But that would be as close as the Raiders would get the entire game, down by 10. The problem remained with the Raiders defense, as they continuously failed to slow down Smith and the Jets offense.
The Raiders did make a late run in the game when McGloin found tight end Mychal Rivera for a one-yard touchdown reception on fourth down, cutting the lead to 37-27 with only 2:24 remaining in the game.
Janikowski then kicked a perfect onside kick but two Raiders collided going for the ball and Kevin Burnett had it slip away from him and the Jets recovered the ball. From there, the Jets were able to run the clock down giving McGloin little time and securing their 37-27 victory and handing the Raiders their 9th loss.
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 28, 2013
The Oakland Raiders jumped out to an early lead as they took on the Dallas Cowboys but couldn't hang on as they eventually fell 31-24 on Thanksgiving Day.
Whether it was the short week or the inability to make adjustments at half, the Raiders were unable to regain momentum in the second half after a costly defensive letdown late in the first half.
It certainly didn't take long for the Oakland Raiders to feast on a Cowboys mistake to jump out to an early lead, capitalizing on a fumble on the opening-kickoff, just as they did against the Giants earlier this year.
Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams made a poor decision to take the ball out from eight-yards deep in the end zone and was hit and stripped of the ball before new Raider Greg Jenkins recovered the ball and took it 23-yards for the touchdown. Jenkins was signed off the practice squad before last week's game and it was his first career touchdown.
Coming off of a game in which they gave up an 80-yard game-winning drive to the Titans, the Raiders defense came out to play and limited the Cowboys to just 126 yards in the first half, 73 of which occurred during Dallas' two-minute drill to cut the lead just before halftime.
The Cowboys were unable to get things going in the first half as their first touchdown occurred after a costly mistake by Matt McGloin and the Raiders offense.
Jenkins, who replaced Jacoby Ford on punt returns, made a mistake and made a fair catch on the five-yard line, backing McGloin up. McGloin and Stefen Wisniewski fumbled the center-quarterback exchange to give the ball to the Cowboys on the Raiders' two yard line. From there, it was Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray getting in for the two-yard touchdown, tying the game late in the first quarter.
After struggling on third-down plays on both sides of the ball last week, McGloin and the Raiders offense were stellar in the first half, going on a streak of seven-consecutive conversions. The Raiders capitalized by jumping out to a 21-7 lead early, with running back Rashad Jennings rushing for a pair of one-yard touchdowns, with one occurring just after the two-minute warning of the first half.
But Tony Romo and the Cowboys were able to gain some momentum as Romo ran the two-minute drill to perfection to answer Jennings' touchdown.
Romo led his offense down the field 73-yards rather quickly, capping the eight-play drive off with a four-yard touchdown run by Murray on a draw play. The touchdown drive gave the Raiders the 21-14 lead heading into halftime.
Though they kept the lead at half, it was quite clear that the momentum had shifted in favor of the Cowboys at halftime.
Dallas' defense came out and forced a Raiders punt on the first possession of the second half, giving the ball back to Romo with a chance to tie the game.
Romo, who seemed to find his rhythm on that final drive of the first half, continued that momentum in the second half. Romo took that momentum and turned it into another touchdown drive, going 87 yards on ten plays to tie the game up at 21-21. This time it was Romo finding his receiver Dez Bryant on the fade for the touchdown from eight-yards out.
But the Cowboys weren't done there, going for another touchdown on their next drive to make it 21-unanswered points. Murray capitalized with a seven-yard touchdown run up the middle, his third of the game which gabe the Cowboys the 28-21 lead.
Still unable to get their offense going, the Raider defense came up big forcing the first punt of the second half after sacking Romo on third down on their next drive.
But once again the Raiders offense was unable to capitalize, even after McGloin found wide receiver Andre Holmes for a 35-yard gain on the first play, their biggest gain of the game. McGloin almost threw an interception when looking for fullback Marcel Reece, but then threw an ill-advised jump ball to the Raiders shortest wide receiver Ford (5-foot-9), who got boxed out and had the pass intercepted by Cowboys corner Brandon Carr in the endzone.
From there, Romo and the Cowboys offense would milk the clock away with a 14 play, 79-yard drive that took 6:03 off the clock and culminated in a 19-yard field goal, giving the Cowboys a ten-point lead.
McGloin was able to drive the Raiders 53 yards in seven plays, giving the Raiders a chance after a 45-yard field goal make by Sebastian Janikowski to cut the lead to just one touchdown.
Forced to go for an onside kick, Janikowski laid the ball on its side and kicked it, though the Raiders were unable to come up with it, securing the Cowboys 31-24 victory. Janikowski was just 2/20 on onside kick attempts before the try.
McGloin started the game 11/15 in the first half but finished just 18/30 for 255 yards and no touchdowns and the one interception.
The Raiders will remain on the road and will take on the Jets in New York next Sunday, after a much-needed break to try and right the ship to finish the rest of the season strong.
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 28, 2013
The Oakland Raiders returned home to take on the Tennessee Titans with both teams holding onto hopes of winning to get to 5-6 and climb into the sixth and final AFC playoff spot.
In a hard-fought battle throughout the game, it was the Titans who left Oakland successful as the Raiders suffered from two missed field goal attempts along with the inability to get off the field on defensive third downs.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski's season-struggles continued as he missed another two field goal attempts, leaving six total points off the scoreboard. As the final score of 23-19 indicates, those six points were crucial.
Janikowski, who was so reliable last year, finished the game 4/6 and is now 15/22 this season (68.2 percent). The strong kicker only missed three all of last season (31/34), with all misses coming from 50 yards or longer.
It remains difficult to know what exactly is wrong with the field goal unit and why there have been so many misses, but the Raiders can ill-afford to miss any opportunities to put points on the board, as it showed Sunday afternoon.
“We’re not making them, not consistently enough," Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said of the field goal struggles. "We have to continue to work to get better there. I feel like Sebastian is going to work through this. I still have all the confidence that when I send him out there that it’s going to go through. So it’s just something that we have to go through and we have to get better in that area.”
Much of the Raiders demise can also be attributed to the defense's inability to get off the field on third down. The Titans were able to rip apart the Raiders defense on third down, finishing the game 10/18 on third-down conversions, including ending the game by converting six of their final seven third-down attempts.
The most important third down came with the Raiders clinging to their 19-16 lead on a 3rd and goal from the ten-yard line with just 15 second left. Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back and was able to find wide receiver Kendall Wright for the touchdown in front of Raiders corner Tracy Porter, giving the Titans the 23-19 lead with just ten seconds remaining.
Allen said after the game that the Titans just simply made the correct play call and read, finding Wright in between two defenders in zone for the touchdown, Porter confirmed that.
"He made a great read," Porter said of Fitzpatrick's final play. "The position I was in was on purpose and they threw a pitch right between me and the corner and it was difficult for both of us to make the play. It's just what happened."
The Raiders ran two final plays but failed to complete a miraculous play for the victory, giving the Titans the victory.
The Titans final drive included 14 plays for 80 yards while eating up 6:00 of the quarter. Fitzpatrick and the Titans were able to convert on three third downs, all of five yards or greater.
"They just out executed us, plain and simple," Allen said of his team's struggles on third down defensively. "Game plan, whether guys were out of position on certain things, coverages, we were just out executed. They have a pretty good quarterback that can make things happen with his arms as well as his legs and we didn't wrap up on our tackles. I, myself, definitely need to wrap up on tackles as well."
Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin and the offense were able to move the ball but struggled to finalize the drives with touchdowns, settling for three field goals in the first half.
Despite taking a 9-6 lead into halftime, the Raiders could of held a bigger lead.
Raiders backup running back Jeremy Stewart bursted through the Titans punt-blocking formation to block Brett Kerns' punt, giving the ball to the Raiders on Titans 37-yard line with 11 seconds left. McGloin then completed a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Rod Streater down the left side to put the Raiders in prime field-goal range, but Janikowski was unable to convert as he missed a half-ending 32-yard field goal. The blocked punt by Stewart was the fourth blocked punt of the season for the team.
The first touchdown of the game didn't happen until the third quarter with both defenses holding in the first half.
Fitzpatrick took a shot downfield and found wide receiver Justin Hunter who was wide open, and completely shook Raiders defensive backs Phillip Adams and Brandian Ross before scampering 54 yards for the touchdown and to give the Titans the 13-9 lead early in the third quarter.
Oakland's offense was unable to achieve a touchdown of its own until midway through the fourth quarter, down 16-12.
On 1st and 10 from the Titans 27-yard line, McGloin stayed in the pocket just long enough to get the ball off and drop in a perfect pass to fullback Marcel Reece for the 27-yard touchdown pass. The undrafter rookie, making his second-career start, finished 19/32 for 260 yards and one touchdown and one interception.
The interception, his first of the season, came at a costly time in the first quarter as he locked in on Reece and the Titans linebacker undercut the pass to intercept the ball and give the Titans the ball on the Raiders 11-yard line. Luckily, the Raiders were able to hold the Titans to just a field goal.
"Just a bad decision by me, that's really it," the young quarterback said of the mistake. "I didn't put the ball where it needed to be."
Allen did state after the game that McGloin's play did warrant him another chance to start Thursday against the Cowboys in Dallas.
“Yeah, I thought Matt played well. And for him to lead us back when we needed a touchdown, he got us the touchdown we needed to give us the lead; we just couldn’t hold it defensively. So yeah, I thought Matt played well.”
Running back Rashad Jennings had another nice game filling in for the injured Darren McFadden, rushing for 73 yards on 16 carries and hauling four receptions for 49 yards.
A scary moment occurred in the second quarter when rookie tight end Mychal Rivera attempted to haul in a pass but was hit as he was going down by Titans safety Michael Griffin, knocking his helmet off and knocking Rivera out. Rivera laid on the ground for a minute or two before getting up and walking off under his own power. Rivera returned to the sideline to rejoin his teammates after being diagnosed with a concussion.
The Raiders look to get back into the win column on Thanksgiving when they take on the Dallas Cowboys.
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 17, 2013
With Terrelle Pryor sidelined with his sprained MCL, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen turned to his undrafted rookie Matt McGloin to lead the team for his first NFL start.
McGloin filled in admirably for Pryor, showing poise in the pocket and making tough throws en route to the Raiders 28-23 win over the Texans in Houston. But McGloin got some big help from his defense, who were forced to make a goal-line stand to secure the Raiders' fourth win of the season, along with their first win on the road.
Much like their last time in Houston in 2011, the Raiders defense came up big late in the fourth quarter as Houston quarterback Matt Schaub attempted to orchestrate a game-winning drive.
Down 28-23 and the ball on their 36-yard line with under four minutes remaining, Schaub, who entered the game in the fourth quarter for the benched Case Keenum, was able to carve up the Raiders defense and get the ball down to the Raiders three-yard line before the drive stalled. It looked as if running back Ben Tate would be able to take a dumpoff pass into the end zone but safety Charles Woodson came up to deliver a big hit and drop him at the three, with the ball coming loose before he recovered it to keep the ball for the Texans.
Still able to get a first down at the one yard line, Tate tried rushing the ball in but was hit hard behind the line of scrimmage by Raiders linebacker Kevin Burnett, forcing a fourth and two for the Texans. The Raiders defense looked to have come up with the stop the first time but a false start on the Texans kept their hopes alive, though backed them up to the eight yard line for a 4th and seven to keep them alive.
Schaub looked for his trustworthy wide receiver Andre Johnson in the end zone, but the Raiders defense was prepared and had the All-Pro wideout well covered as the ball fell harmlessly to the ground in the end zone, after nearly being intercepted by safety Usama Young. The stand was very similar to the 2011 stand that occurred a day after the passing of Al Davis, and ended with Michael Huff intercepting Schaub in the end zone.
McGloin and the Raiders were able to quickly jump on the Texans and get out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, capitalizing on a couple of costly turnovers by the Texans.
McGloin's first drive benefited from a fumble by Garrett Graham (forced by Charles Woodson), giving the ball to the Raiders offense on Houston's 16-yard line. McGloin threw his first pass six plays later, a five-yard strike to Denarius Moore for a touchdown.
The young quarterback's second touchdown throw of the day occurred after an interception by Keenum, who was picked off by middle linebacker Nick Roach. McGloin capitalized on the opportunity with a 16-yard laser to Rod Streater to give the Raiders the 14-0 lead.
But the Texans weren't going to go down that easily, as Keenum and the Texans scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-14 lead heading into the locker room at the half.
The Raiders retook the lead in the third quarter when McGloin stepped up into the pocket and threw a beautiful ball to his rookie tight end Mychal Rivera in the end zone for the 26-yard touchdown connection. McGloin finished the game 18/32 fro 197 yards and three touchdowns.
Running back Rashad Jennings continues to impress in his opportunities with the absence of Darren McFadden due to a hamstring injury. Jennings rushed for 150 yards including a big 80-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to extend the Raiders lead to 28-17. The big back now has two hundred-yard rushing days on the year (two starts), while McFadden doesn't have any.
The Raiders return home next week to take on the Tennessee Titans.
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 10, 2013
The Oakland Raiders went into New York looking to get back on track against the Giants after their 49-20 blowout loss to the Eagles last week, but found little success.
After giving up a record-tying seven passing touchdowns to Nick Foles last week, the Raiders defense was able to step up and hold Eli Manning and the Giants to just 251 yards. Instead, it was the Raiders offense that struggled to get anything going once again, finishing the game with just 213 total yards.
Of those 213 total yards, Rashad Jennings accounted for 107 total yards - 88 rushing yards and 19 receiving yards. Jennings was the lone bright spot on offense for the Raiders, coming in and starting for the injured Darren McFadden.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor's struggles continued to struggle as he was just 11/26 for 122 yards and two costly turnovers - one interception and one fumble.
Pryor's interception came on a slant patter to wide receiver Denarius Moore but Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas watched as Pryor locked on Moore and jumped the route, returning the ball to the Raiders five-yard line. The interception came when the Raiders were driving to another possible score at the Giants' 33-yard line and already up 20-14. The Giants quickly capitalized on a one-yard touchdown by running back Andre Brown, who had a big day in his season debut after suffering a broken leg in the preseason. Brown rushed a career-high 30 times for 115 yards and one touchdown.
Oakland's defense and special teams kept them in the game, contributing to 17 of the Raiders 20 points.
Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes was able to recover a fumble on the opening kickoff when Jerrel Jernigan coughed up the ball, returning the ball down to the Giants' five yard line. Oakland capitalized with a one-yard touchdown run from Pryor, giving them the early 7-0 lead.
The defense forced a turnover of their own in the first quarter with Lamarr Houston forcing a fumble on running back Peyton Hillis, giving the Raiders the ball in the red zone again. But this time the Raiders were unable to get the ball into the end zone and had to settle for a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.
[caption id="attachment_12073" align="alignright" width="300"]<a href="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/porter1.jpg"><img alt="Cornerback Tracy Porter celebrates his touchdown after intercepting Eli Manning" src="http://www.sbreport.net/wp-content/porter1-300x199.jpg" width="300" height="199" /></a> Cornerback Tracy Porter celebrates his touchdown after intercepting Eli Manning[/caption]
Cornerback Tracy Porter would help the offense by jumping a route and picking off Eli Manning for a 43-yard interception for a touchdown to re-give the Raiders the lead at 17-14.
The Raiders special teams unit did make a mistake early in the game when Jack Crawford missed a block in a punting formation and the Giants broke through the middle to block Marquette King's punt and recover for a touchdown.
Pryor's fumble came with the Raiders down 24-20 with just over three minutes remaining in the game and the offense trying to orchestrate a game-winning drive. On 3rd and 10, Pryor held on to the ball for a long time, giving Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka enough time to get into the backfield and strip Pryor of the ball.
From there, Brown kept his strong game going as the Raiders defense was unable to stop them from getting two first downs, allowing the Giants to run the clock out and hand the Raiders their sixth loss of the season.
The Raiders go back out on the road and head to Houston to take on the Texans next week.
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 3, 2013
A week after Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor rushed into the record books with his electrifying 93-yard touchdown run, history was made once again at O.Co Coliseum, but this time at the expense of the Raiders defense.
The Raiders defense just couldn't find a way to contain quarterback Nick Foles and Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense. Foles threw his way into the history books by tying Peyton Manning's NFL record with seven touchdown passes, doing it the 4:38 mark in the third quarter when he found wide receiver Riley Cooper for a five-yard touchdown.
Oakland's defense had only allowed 330.9 yards per game coming into the contest, but nearly gave up that in the first half alone as the Eagles went into halftime with 328 yards. Foles himself was 15/19 for 260 yards and four touchdowns, good enough for a perfect 158.3 passer rating. All this after the Eagles had not scored an offensive touchdown since week six.
Despite giving up staggering numbers on the defensive side of the ball, rookie linebacker Sio Moore believes the Raiders defense is better than what showed on the field today.
"That game is not who we are. They did a good job of executing and making plays when they needed to make plays and taking advantage of opportunities," Moore said. "We're better than that and we've got to work hard to be better."
Foles finished the game with more touchdowns than incompletions, ending his night in the beginning of the fourth quarter with 406 yards and seven touchdowns on 22/28 throwing while leading the Eagles to the 49-20 rout of the Raiders
"Really, we just got beat today. Really in all phases we weren't able to do the things that we needed to do to have success," Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said of Sunday's game.
It didn't take long for the Eagles to get on the board, using just 3:58 to drive 84 yards in 10 plays, culminating in a two-yard touchdown pass from Foles to his tight end Brent Celek. The 3:58 drive was the longest it would take the Eagles to score on any of their scoring drives, while having three scoring drives that took less than one minute.
Foles continuously chose Raiders rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden as his victim and found success doing so, at one point finding Cooper for touchdowns on two consecutive plays from the line of scrimmage. The first came when Hayden seemingly stopped his coverage and Cooper kept running down field to haul in a 17-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone. On the Eagles' next offensive play, Foles found Cooper on a post route for a 63-yard touchdown, with Hayden falling in his coverage and blowing the game wide open to give the Eagles the early 21-3 lead.
Cooper led all Eagles receivers with 139 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
With the Eagles offense running on all cylinders, Terrelle Pryor was unable to get his offense to drive consistently against an Eagles offense that ranked 31st in the league, giving up 401.8 yards a game coming into Sunday.
Pryor looked to be off to another big start as he found Rod Streater on a crossing route allowing the second-year wide receiver to use a solid block by fellow receiver Denarius Moore to scamper 66 yards down to the nine-yard line. Though from there, the offense was forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski. Streater led Raiders receivers with five receptions for 98 yards.
With starting running back Darren McFadden being forced to the bench after aggravating his hamstring injury, the Raiders were able to cut the lead to 21-10 with an eight-yard touchdown run by Rashad Jennings. Jennings finished the game with 15 rushes for 102 yards, and one touchdown.
The Raiders offense didn't have problems moving the ball, they just struggled to put up points to show for it. In fact, the Raiders out-gained the Eagles 560-542 total yards.
Pryor and the offense's struggles to find the end zone continued into the second half as the young quarterback threw two interceptions as he attempted to get back into the end zone. The Raiders were only able to add three more points with their starting offense, with the other seven coming from Jeremy Stewart and Matt McGloin in garbage time.
From an injury standpoint McFadden left with a hamstring injury, Streater injured his hip and Pryor injured his knee. Allen did not know the severity any of the injuries.
The Raiders head out on the road for the next two weeks, taking on the Giants in New York followed up by the Texans in Houston.
Despite such a lopsided loss, head coach Dennis Allen and his team know they must put the defeat behind them and work to get back in the win column.
"Everyday is a new day so you can't sit back and think about what's happened in the past, you've got to move forward and go to the next one," Allen said. "We had a bad game defensively, we've got to put it behind us, we've got to move on and we've got to learn from it, we've got to be better, and we will."
Moore is following the same strategy and knows that the defense can't focus on past events, but must focus on preparing for the next game.
"Nobody likes to lose, nobody likes to be blown-out," Moore said. "You've got to come back the right way and handle it like a pro, take it to the chin and head back to work tomorrow and swallow the pill. It's a hard pill to swallow but we have to because we've got the New York Giants next week."
Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Oct. 27, 2013
The Raiders hadn't been victorious coming off of a bye week since 2002, while the Pittsburgh Steelers hadn't won a game in Oakland since 1995. But come Sunday, one of those streaks had to come to an end.
Fortunately for Oakland, the Raiders were able to shake their post-bye week streak as they defeated the Steelers 21-18 on Sunday at O.Co Coliseum, keeping the Steelers losing streak in Oakland intact.
In what seems to have become the Raiders recipe for winning thus far, the offense was able to get off to a quick start but it was the defense that held the lead for the Raiders as the offense began to sputter as the game continued.
It took all but one play for quarterback Terrelle Pryor to get the Raiders on the scoreboard, meanwhile etching his name in the franchise record books, as well as the NFL record books. On the first play from scrimmage, the athletic quarterback kept the ball on a zone-read option and scampered downfield 93 yards for a touchdown on the game's first play from the line of scrimmage. A key block by wide receiver Rod Streater helped break Pryor free as he rushed himself into the record books. Pryor's 93-yard run was the longest-running touchdown in Oakland Raiders franchise history as well as the longest touchdown run in NFL quarterback history. The previous Raiders franchise record was 92 yards by running back Bo Jackson, while the previous quarterback record was former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, who had an 80-yard rushing touchdown in 1996.
Pryor knew that he needed Streater to block the one man that stood in his way.
"When I gashed out I was like alright, he has to block (Troy) Polamalu; I was saying that in my head, like Polamalu has to get blocked," Pryor said about the play following the game. "When I was coming around the corner I saw Ryan Clark flying over with Darren on the fake, so if he gets this block on Polamalu, I’m going straight up and going to the house. Rod (Streater) did a god job of not holding or anything, no penalty, and it was a great play."
The Raiders would not give up the lead from there on out, nor would the game be tied.
Oakland's defense set the tone defensively right from their first series, forcing Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense to two consecutive three-and-outs to start the game.
Following the second three-and-out, backup running back Rashad Jennings was able to get into the backfield and get to the punt, partially deflecting it resulting in just a three-yard punt by Zoltan Mesko.
The Raiders offense would capitalize by punching the ball into the endzone with a seven-yard run by running back Darren McFadden.
McFadden was able to double his rushing-touchdown total on the day as he took the ball out of the wildcat later in the game and rolled out to his right as if to throw the ball, but then tucked the ball and ran into the endzone for the touchdown to put the Raiders up 21-3.
Not everything was smooth for the offense in the first half though as Pryor threw two more interceptions, making it a total of seven now through eight games. Pryor's first interception came as he rolled out left and looked for rookie Brice Butler deep, but Pryor appeared to not set his feet and the ball soared over Butler as it fell right into Polamalu's hands.
"I have to see it on film, I also think the wind just took it off of me," Pryor said of his first interception. "I was trying to touch it and the wind just kind of took it and it just blew up. The wind was kind of going today. I was trying to fit it in there beecause he was pretty much wide open after he left the guy. There's stuff I need to work on and can't have that, can't have turnovers, and I know that, but got the win."
Pryor's second interception of the day came late in the final minutes of the first half when he threw a perfect ball to Butler on a short-crossing route but Butler had the ball clank off his hands and into a defenders arms. Luckily for the Raiders, the turnover wasn't costly as Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham missed the 34-yard field goal wide right, giving the Raiders the 21-3 lead at the half. Suisham would miss a 32-yard field goal attempt on the first drive of the second half as well, proving to be very costly in the eventual three-point loss.
It would be up to the Raiders defense to secure the win as the offense would sputter into the finish line, adding no more points to their lead. In fact, the Raiders would only gain 35 yards in the second half.
The Raiders went ultra conservative in the play calling in the second half and continued to run the ball in an attempt to run the clock out and not give the Steelers enough time for a comeback victory, even if Pryor wanted to try and do it all and end the game himself.
"We're up 21 and our defense is playing great," Pryor said of the decision to try and run the clock out. "With Darren, one of the best backs I believe in the NFL, we just got to -- our coach, we thought we could run the time out. It didn't work the way we thought. We weren't staying on the field. We were getting in third down and long. It's very tough to throw the ball third down and long. I believe they're No. 1 in the NFL in third and long. It's hard to run on first and second and do that, throw on third. But I think strategically the coaches thought, hey, if we run the ball and pick up some first downs and keep the clock running, I believe that's what the strategy was. At the end of the day we won."
Pryor wasn't the only one making costly mistakes. Wide receiver Jacoby Ford almost had a crucial muffed punt, but then later fumbled the ball on a reception, giving the Steelers a short field on the Raiders 11-yard line. Allen knows that his team can't afford to give the ball away like that.
"We all feel good about winning a game, but we have to understand is you put the ball on the ground in a game like that, you’re giving them an opportunity to get back in the game and you can’t do that. Good football teams, they don’t do that," Allen said. "And part of it is I think they make some plays, but part of it is just our ability to focus in. Right before the half, we have a pass that hits Brice right in the hands and pops up and they get an interception. Jacoby’s play on the punt return that could have been a huge play in the game, luckily we got the call in our favor. What I’m going to visit with our guys about is you have to understand what wins and loses in this game. When you’re in these games like this, the only way they have a chance to get back in the game is for you to turn the ball over and make mistakes and we can’t do that."
The team won because of the defense's ability to get pressure on Big Ben while coming away with a crucial turnovers late in the game. Early in the fourth quarter, cornerback Mike Jenkins played Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders' "go route" perfectly and came away with a long interception.
Just a couple of drives later, Jenkins hit Sanders hard and jarred the ball loose for fellow corner Tracy Porter to make a remarkable fingertip catch, plucking the ball away from the ground for the interception.
"I just wrapped my keys," Jenkins said of his interception. "Just pretty much doing what I needed to do. I was in the right spot at the right time and I made a play."
The Raiders also made the Steelers one-dimensional as the defense was able to hold the Steelers rushing attack to just 35 yards on the ground. In addition, Roethlisberger was constantly under pressure and the Raiders were able to bring him down to record five sacks. Rookie linebacker Sio Moore had two of them.
"We made it our job to make sure we harassed the quarterback throughout the day and stop the run and we were able to do that," Moore said of the philosophy coming into the game. "And the biggest thing is we were able to do that when it came down to the fourth quarter and were able to finish.
"You have to hold on for dear life a little bit with Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a good quarterback and he knows how to escape guys; half the time you think he’s sacked. The biggest thing we were saying throughout the week was when he’s down, he’s not down, so keep going."
Despite the two fourth-quarter interceptions, the Steelers were able to score 15 points in the fourth quarter to bring the Raiders lead to just a field goal. The Steelers final points came on a third and eight play when Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston whiffed on a sack and Roethlisberger escaped to find Sanders for the eight-yard touchdown reception. Sanders would then score on the two-point conversion to cut the lead to just three.
With just 1:24 remaining in the game, the Steelers were forced to attempt an onside kick. The kick was recovered by none other than the special teams standout Jennings, who had deflected the punt earlier.
"That’s what you expect out of a guy that’s been around, been a pro," Allen said of Jennings. "That’s what these guys get paid to do; they get paid to make the plays that they’re supposed to make. I thought he did a great job. He’s been great for us in special teams. He’s done a nice job of coming in and filling in for Darren when Darren goes out. He’s obviously been a valued asset for our football team."
From there, the Raiders were able to run the clock out down to just 28 seconds, giving the Steelers time for one more shot. But Roethlisberger found Sanders over the middle but the Steelers were forced to watch time run out with no timeouts, as the Raiders secured their 21-18 victory.