This resilient Oakland Raiders team doesn’t resemble the same three- to four-win clubs over the past three seasons.
The Silver and Black earned their second comeback victory on the road in inclement weather. A defensive holding penalty on Tennessee Titans cornerback B.W. Webb extended the Raiders’ final offensive drive, and quarterback Derek Carr seized the scoring opportunity.
Some will point to luck or a phantom penalty, but the Titans didn’t hand over the points.
Carr and wideout Seth Roberts made the best out of a second chance in a high-pressure scenario. To the Raiders’ credit, their young core didn’t crumble with legitimate playoff hopes on the line.
Oakland also made some strides and telling roster moves for desirable results. What stood out most from the Raiders’ Week 12 victory? What should we expect going forward?
Total offense for the Raiders, proving — at least for them — that though defense might win championships, Oakland doesn’t win without a good offense.
Sunday marked the sixth time the Raiders, who went into the game with the NFL’s 12th-ranked offense (358.2), have amassed more than 400 yards of offense — they are 5-1 in those games (the loss was to Pittsburgh).
The Raiders return to AFC West play Sunday when they host Alex Smith, left, and Kansas City.
Titans’ rushing yards.
In their three-game losing streak, the Raiders had allowed an average of 189.
Touchdowns — in 11 games — for Michael Crabtree, who had five in his final 21 games with the 49ers.
The Raiders are tied with the Jets for fewest allowed this season (14).
Raiders’ David Amerson delivers at cornerback
NASHVILLE — The Raiders’ coaches finally made what looked to be an obvious move Sunday, and were rewarded more than they could have imagined.
Oakland benched struggling 2013 first-round pick DJ Hayden and started David Amerson at cornerback against the Titans.
Amerson “played great,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said.
Amerson, a second-round pick in 2013, admits that he carries a chip on his shoulder after being cut by Washington.
At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Amerson has speed, a long reach and the dexterity to make plays on the ball when it approaches.
The coaching staff handles Hayden with kid gloves, and Del Rio said Hayden wasn’t necessarily benched.
In the NFL, there’s no such thing as a disappointing win or good loss. The Raiders earned a victory in an imperfect, sloppy and hard-fought contest—none of those adjectives show up in the win column.
Oakland stands as a 5-6 team still in the playoff hunt with a division rival and current AFC Wild Card team next on its schedule. Its Week 13 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs is nothing less than a statement game for the Raiders.
Doubt has crept back into the psyche of Raider Nation, but the opportunity to extend the season remains within reach.
Commitment to Excellence: Carr Trusting Receivers
We could analyze quarterback Derek Carr’s three-touchdown performance, but it’s the trust in his players that made this particular victory possible.
All week, news clippings and chatter about wide receiver Amari Cooper’s drops circulated as a concern for Raiders offense. During the week, Carr answered those critics with confidence in his rookie wideout in a weekly press conference.
On Sunday, he targeted Cooper with conviction. The rookie came out and put together another solid performance, catching seven passes for 115 yards against a top-tier secondary.
He also broke into the record books and will be remembered as one of the most productive rookies in franchise history.
Cooper will drop a few passes, but he’s going to offset and outweigh those miscues with spectacular moments as a bona fide playmaker.
Carr also cycled through his reads to find an unassuming playmaker in Sunday’s outcome. Wide receiver Seth Roberts played the best game of his short career, catching six passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns—including the game-winning score.
In the locker room, head coach Jack Del Rio gleefully handed the game ball to Roberts for his stellar performance.
Roberts has definitely earned Carr’s trust in critical moments as a two-time recipient of a game-winning touchdown catch.
Silver Lining: Giving Up on Hayden? Amerson Up Next?
General manager Reggie McKenzie certainly hoped cornerback D.J. Hayden would transition from an oft-injured struggling cornerback to a solid starter in the league. That optimism took a major hit on Sunday.
The coaching staff’s patience with Hayden temporarily ran its course, as he watched from the sidelines in a reserve role against the Titans.
In an expanded role, cornerback David Amerson displayed his skill set as a solid defender on the perimeter.
In some aspects, Amerson has outperformed his fellow cornerbacks by a wide margin, per Silver & Black Pride’s Levi Damien.
Amerson’s solid performances may force McKenzie to swallow the bitter truth about his struggling first-round pick in Hayden. It stings to swing and miss on a top-15 pick, but the Raiders have potentially found a player to compensate for the poor selection.
For a cornerback, it’s tough to regain confidence after losing traction on a starting position. With that said, cornerback Neiko Thorpe’s rough outing gives Hayden a chance to step in on nickel packages going forward.
Black Cloud: Rushing Offense Hitting a Wall
As previously discussed, the Raiders limit their offense by placing the onus on running back Latavius Murray to carry the rushing offense.
In sloppy conditions, the Raiders leaned on the third-year running back to shorten the second half with positive runs against the No. 18-ranked run defense.
The Titans aided the Raiders with some penalties, but Murray failed to rev up the engine to the Tay Train. The running backs accumulated 79 rushing yards on 26 carries for the game.
Many point to center Rodney Hudson’s absence as the culprit regarding Murray’s struggles, but the starting running back has failed to surpass 65 rushing yards in seven out of 11 contests—averaging four or fewer yards per carry in six of those games.
The Raiders’ inability to run the ball, especially in critical moments, goes beyond missing their starting center, per Associated Press writer Josh Dubow:
The Raiders have a good starting running back, but he’s not good enough to shoulder the load on his own.
Essentially, Oakland doesn’t have a closer in the backfield or a running back willing to bounce carries outside the guards on a consistent basis.
As a result, defenses sniff out Murray’s predictable tendencies. When leading by a small margin, the Raiders fail to close games by keeping the clock ticking on manageable second and third downs.
As spectacular as the passing offense could become, the Raiders need to integrate a second impact running back or put more trust in fullback Jamize Olawale to handle more than five carries per game. Without a complementary ball-carrier to Murray, Oakland’s full potential on offense falls short of elite.
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Oakland Raiders Week 12 play-by-play and statistics courtesy of NFL.com.
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Raiders’ Amari Cooper gets plenty of chances to catch passes
The Raiders made clear they wanted to get their rookie receiver involved early and often, a week after he had only one catch at Detroit.
The Titans were unhappy with the late holding call on cornerback B.W. Webb, which gave the Raiders new life with 1:50 left.
“They were throwing left all the way,” Tennessee interim head coach Mike Mularkey said.
Though the paid attendance was listed as 58,075, there weren’t even close to half that many fans in attendance on a rainy day.
Roberts finished with 113 receiving yards and Carr said, “I feel like he could have had 200 yards if he didn’t run backward.”
Carr was referring to the last play of the first half when, with two second left, Roberts caught a pass and ran for 20 yards down the middle of the field before circling around to keep the play alive.
The Raiders really wanted to run the ball in the second half, giving Latavius Murray 11 carries for 28 yards in the first 19 minutes.
On the Titans’ first touchdown drive, Marcus Mariota completed three passes to tight ends for 62 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Craig Stevens.
The Raiders’ Denico Autry blocked an extra-point try and ran it back to the other end zone, but it was erased because of a forward lateral from cornerback TJ Carrie. …
Carr took a shot to the ribs and was knocked out of the game for one play on the Raiders’ first series.
That win came in large part thanks to a stellar performance from Derek Carr, who tossed three touchdowns and threw for 330 yards. Amari Cooper didn’t come away with any of those scores but finished with 115 yards on seven receptions.
Cooper was unable to score largely because of Seth Roberts, who emerged with a six-catch, 113-yard, two-touchdown evening. Roberts had never made more than three catches in an NFL game before Sunday.
Here is a look at how we should assess the Raiders offense going forward from a fantasy perspective.
Carr has emerged as an every-week start in most formats. He has posted multiple touchdowns in eight of 11 starts and thrown for at least three scores in four of his last six contests. Yardage was missing early in the season, but Carr has now topped 300 yards in four of his last five games.
The Raiders stigma here is the only thing that causes any hesitation. Carr is a good young quarterback who is playing in a solid system with decent young talent around him. He’s probably never going to be Aaron Rodgers, but Carr has done enough this season to earn respect and trust.
Start him in your lineup without any worries.
The same goes for Cooper, who is a WR2 or flex play in most standard formats. He should zoom past the 1,000-yard mark as Carr’s favorite target. The quarterback has targeted him at least nine times in eight different games this season.
Carr and Cooper could do more to establish better consistency. Cooper hasn’t scored in his last three games, and Sunday was his first time over the 100-yard mark in a month. After starting with two 100-yard contests in his first three games, he has only hit that mark twice since.
This is to be expected for rookie receivers. Not every guy can step in and be Odell Beckham Jr. instantly. Cooper is having a brilliant rookie campaign, but it’s tough to gauge from a week-to-week perspective.
Unless Michael Crabtree falls off the planet, Roberts shouldn’t be owned in any formats. Crabtree has been Carr’s co-favorite all season, and one bad game (from a yardage perspective—he scored a touchdown) isn’t going to change that overnight.
Roberts is, well, not relevant. He might be in the future, though, so keep an eye out for his targets next week.
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The Raiders had success throwing the ball early, then really tried to establish running the ball when they were up 17-6 in the third quarter.
The Raiders did get a little lucky as Tennessee apparently tired of throwing the ball to tight ends (they had nine catches for 133 yards).
New returner Jeremy Ross looked good, but his fumbling problems followed him to the Raiders.
Sebastian Janikowski made a 24-yard field goal and Jack Del Rio talked himself out of letting him try a 65-yarder.
The Raiders came away with a win, renewed confidence in the passing game and a new starting cornerback in place of struggling DJ Hayden.
The running game and some really costly penalties on the defense will be discussed by coaches at length as they prepare for another “playoff game” against Kansas City (6-5).
NASHVILLE — Charles Woodson, the future Hall of Famer, was yelling at Seth Roberts, the former practice squader, at the top of his lungs as the reporters and cameramen moved closer Sunday afternoon. “Tell ’em Seth!” Woodson said. “Tell ’em how you put the team on your back.” Roberts’ 12-yard touchdown catch with 1:21 left saved the Raiders’ season, giving them a 24-21 win over the Titans. Oakland desperately needed a win after three straight losses and again can talk about the playoffs at 5-6.
The Oakland Raiders nearly blew their playoff hopes away, but they recovered in a resilient victory over the Tennessee Titans in a sloppy game at Nissan Stadium on Sunday.
Raider Nation shouldn’t pound their chests in triumph, but let out a sigh of relief in a game that could’ve sent the team home with a 4-7 record.
The first half ended with very little fireworks, but the drama increased with the rainfall in the second half.
Oakland hung on to a slight lead over a hard-nosed defense and dominated time of possession throughout the contest. However, penalties and a wet football helped a late fourth-quarter surge for the Titans.
After Tennessee took the lead with approximately four minutes and 13 seconds left in the game, quarterback Derek Carr faced a 90-yard drive for a score. He marched the offense down the field, and Titans’ cornerback B.W. Webb committed a defensive holding penalty on fourth down to extend the drive.
Carr then capitalized with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts on a crisp route toward the end zone. Safety Nate Allen sealed the victory with an interception on the Titans’ final drive.
The stadium opened in October 1922, with Cal beating USC 12-0 in a regular-season matchup.
Except for 1942, when World War II forced it to be moved to Durham, N.C., the Rose Bowl game has been played in the stadium bearing its name since 1923.
The Rose Bowl game — and, by extension, the stadium — truly earned its place on the American sporting landscape after World War II when the Big Ten and the conference now known as the Pac-12 each agreed to send a team to play in the game on or near New Year’s Day.
For years, while much of the nation would be dealing with ugly weather on Jan. 1, fans could turn on their TVs and see a Midwest school take on a West Coast school in a large, glorious stadium usually bathed in sunshine.
“At that time, everybody — I don’t care if you were in junior high school, high school, college or professional football — everybody knew what the hell the Rose Bowl was,” said former Raiders receiver Fred Biletnikoff, the MVP of Super Bowl XI.
The Steelers took the lead for good on MVP Terry Bradshaw’s 73-yard TD pass to John Stallworth early in the fourth quarter as Pittsburgh topped the Los Angeles Rams 31-19.
Stanford Stadium (SB XIX, January 1985) and the Rose Bowl are the only two venues in Super Bowl history not to have housed an NFL or AFL team on a regular basis.
Since that Dallas-Buffalo matchup in 1993, the NFL hasn’t held its marquee game in Pasadena.
[...] one benefit of an NFL team returning to the L.A. area would be the possibility of another Super Bowl in Pasadena.