Jones helps Raiders get out of the “doghouse”

Chiefs cornerback Ron Parker didn’t have a chance, as Raiders receiver James Jones said he wasn’t going to be denied on Thursday night’s game-winning touchdown catch. Quarterback Derek Carr saw the match-up with Jones lined up against the former safety, and changed the play at the 9-yard line. “It was a great check by Derek, he got us into the right play and I was able to get a double move on the safety, he took the bait and I killed him,” Jones said. The game-winning catch with 1:42 left was what Jones had in mind when the San Jose native and former Packer signed with the Raiders in the

Have the Oakland Raiders Finally Turned the Corner with Season’s 1st Win?

The Oakland Raiders have won a game for the first time in a calendar year. That’s not a joke—the Raiders pulled off the upset of the Kansas City Chiefs on a rain-soaked O.co Coliseum field, 24-20, Thursday night to move to 1-10.

With the victory, the Raiders avoided a losing streak of historical significance. While this season is clearly going nowhere for the Silver and Black, the win could signify a turning point for the moribund franchise, as it showcased its young talent on both sides of the ball.

“After this game people were going to laugh at us or respect us,” said safety Charles Woodson, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.

No one was laughing when running back Latavius Murray got the Raiders off to a fast start with two touchdown runs—one for 90 yards—before leaving the game in the second quarter with a concussion. Murray finished with 112 yards on four carries but helped the Raiders build a 14-0 lead. Assuming Murray can get healthy, the Raiders would be foolish not to make him the starter for the final five games to see if he can be the running back of the future.

Oakland’s young talent on defense kept the Chiefs in check for most of the game. Linebacker Sio Moore finished with 12 tackles and had a sack, linebacker Khalil Mack terrorized left tackle Eric Fisher all night and cornerback D.J. Hayden locked down his side of the field.

Then there was rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who orchestrated a game-winning drive when all the momentum had swung the way of the Chiefs. Down, 20-17, in the fourth quarter, the Raiders marched 80 yards on 17 plays for the go-ahead score—a nine-yard touchdown pass from Carr to wide receiver James Jones.

Carr converted a 4th-and-1 and 3rd-and-1 with quarterback sneaks on the game-winning drive and made several nice throws that allowed the Raiders to continue to run the ball. The drive took 7:21 off the clock and left little time for the Chiefs to make a comeback.

Although he actually struggled in the game, Carr’s growth and development is a positive sign for things to come in Oakland. Carr has too often tried to do too much to will his team to victory, but learned to lean on others Thursday night.

The Raiders still did things that only bad teams do, but they were finally able to overcome them. Wide receiver Denarius Moore muffed a punt return that resulted in three free points for the Chiefs before the end of the half. The defense was able to minimize the damage, but that’s still not a favorable situation for any team.

Oakland also had several chances to close out the game, but it couldn’t get anything going offensively without Murray. The Raiders ended up punting four times in five drives after Murray was hurt. Until the Raiders replaced tailback Darren McFadden with fullback Marcel Reece on the final drive, things were looking grim for the previously winless Raiders.

A trio of defensive penalties on a single play as the Chiefs tried to drive for the winning score also didn’t come back to haunt the Raiders. Penalties have been a problem for the Raiders in the past, but on this night, Oakland’s promising youth was able to overcome its immaturity.

Moore and Mack also celebrated a sack of quarterback Alex Smith on the final drive that forced the Raiders to take a timeout—a play that is sure to make blooper reels for years to come. The Raiders could laugh about it after the game, but that was just the kind of mistake this team has been notorious for during its streak of ineptitude.

While the Raiders still have a lot of work to do before they become a successful franchise again, there is now hope that the worst is over. Sixteen straight losses is not something that happens in the NFL often, and the Raiders have a core of young players to build around.

“The hex is gone and now it’s on,” said defensive lineman Antonio Smith after the game via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle

We’ve heard this story before, but this time, it just feels different.

The Raiders have a franchise quarterback and young talent on defense—and the push for a stadium is coming to a head. The Silver and Black are back from the dead, and that’s something worth celebrating.

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Derek Carr Showing Signs of Being Raiders’ Answer at QB

His career win-loss record is 1-10, but of all their current pieces, rookie quarterback Derek Carr may be the most solid foundation upon which the Oakland Raiders can build their future.

In one way, Carr faced one of the more difficult rookie scenarios when he was selected by Oakland in the second round of the draft. The Raiders were coming off of a 4-12 record in 2013, their 11th consecutive season below .500, and former head coach Dennis Allen was already on the hot seat five months before the draft. 

And here came Carr, thrown into the starting job in Week 1 while draft classmates Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles all sat at first to learn their respective systems. Given his first opportunity to make a statement in the NFL, Carr was essentially set up to fail, or at the very least have his spirit crushed. 

In another way, however, this season may turn out to be a great scenario for the rookie. The 1-10 Raiders are not destined for the playoffs. While there is always pressure to win, there is not the same pressure on Carr that is placed on almost every other starting NFL quarterback this season.

Carr can show off his skills, develop chemistry with his teammates and trust that the Raiders have seen something in him and will surround him with the coaching staff and teammates he needs to be successful in the future.

And with the mood in Oakland turned victorious after the Raiders earned their first win of the season in a nail-biter at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, that may be exactly what happens. 

The poise Carr displayed on his game-winning drive was instrumental to the win. 

Set aside Carr’s 1-10 win-loss record for a moment. The rookie is completing 58.8 percent of his passes for 2,249 yards and has thrown 14 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Compare those stats to his fellow rookie peers. 

ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said prior to the season that Carr was the furthest along among the rookie class and noted his great arm. That has proven to be the case so far in 2014; Carr has demonstrated an ability to take care of the football—notice that Carr’s and Bortles’ touchdown-to-interception ratios are nearly inverted—and his mental acuity has been obvious. 

“He has so many things you love to see in a quarterback,” Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group wrote in October. “Zip. Touch. Accuracy. Pocket presence. Quick release. Good feet. Feistiness. Smarts. And perhaps above all else, an almost maniacal dedication to detail.”

What does the future look like for Carr in Oakland? Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller reported in October that Raiders owner Mark Davis wants to build around Carr, and because his play has only improved since then, that’s likely still the case. 

The report also came after Allen was shown the door, and Carr may just be special enough that he can help lure a top head coach prospect to Oakland (or, by that time, perhaps Los Angeles). 

Many new coaches prefer to draft their own quarterback, but Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie have made it clear that they believe Carr is the future, and coaching prospects would almost certainly need to be on the same page. 

“We are in really good shape, based on the way Reggie put all the contracts together and everything else,” David told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Thursday prior to the win.

We have a new face on offense, which Derek could be the face of the future. We have a face on defense with Khalil Mack. Gabe Jackson might be a player. We have something to start building around. I don’t know that we’ve had the ability to say that over the past few years.”

The Raiders have a formidable remaining schedule with matchups against the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos, but they also face the Chiefs again in three weeks. If they can keep the momentum going from tonight’s win, they may be able to sweep them. A Week 16 matchup against the Buffalo Bills could also be an opportunity for Carr and the Raiders to pad their win column.

But regardless of how many wins are next to his name at the conclusion of this season, the future is bright for Carr, and the Raiders with him.  

Read more Oakland Raiders news on BleacherReport.com

Despite Injury, Latavius Murray Proving Himself as Raiders’ Most Talented Back

Four carries.

Four carries is all it took for us to realize that Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray is by far the most talented back on the entire Silver and Black roster.

It was a rainy, muddy, sloppy night of football filled with illicit passes, strong stretches of defense and gut-wrenching drives. The Raiders’ 24-20 victory over the now 7-4 Kansas City Chiefs wasn’t pretty, but without the four touches Murray received, it would never have happened.

The first two scores of the game were all because of Murray. Starting at 6:33 in the first quarter, he found his way into the end zone after exploding around the edge from 11 yards out.

Even though it wasn’t a run you’ll remember in the coming weeks, the Raiders haven’t had a back who’s been able to plant his feet and kick the football outside in what feels like a decade.

On the other hand, Murray’s second touchdown run already has become the defining highlight of his young career.

After being handed the ball by his quarterback, Derek Carr, Murray found a cutback lane and burst through the second level of the Chiefs defense.

With just one defender to beat, he turned on the jets and carried the rock 90 yards in the pouring rain for not only the longest touchdown of the Raiders’ season, but as the team’s official Twitter feed broadcast out to the world, it was also “the longest offensive play” by any team in 2014:

The beauty of that run was how simple it was. This wasn’t a fancy play call dialed up by offensive coordinator Greg Olson. As Bleacher Report’s Matt Bowen tweeted, this was nothing more than a simple counterplay:

Murray’s two touchdown runs gave this fanbase and coaching staff a renewed sense of hope, even after they suffered 10 consecutive losses to open up the season.

On his fourth carry, all of those jars of sunshine and hope hit a snag.

Moving his way through the Chiefs’ defensive front, Murray was smashed by a slew of oncoming Kansas City defenders, which in turn jarred the football loose.

You could tell right away that he wasn’t himself. The hit was brutal. The crack of the helmet could be heard echoing through the television.

After leaving the field, the good people over at Rotoworld let us know Murray wouldn’t be making a valiant return because of a concussion:

Four carries, 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns: The sample size may have been minuscule, but those numbers have now cemented Murray as the go-to running back for the Raiders.

We saw it Thursday night. The second-year man who spent the entire 2013 season on injured reserve has all of the tools you’d want in a starting tailback.

At 6’3″, he’s a physical freak. Combine that size with the fact that he ran a 4.38-yard 40-yard dash at his pro day in 2013, and what you have is a promising young football player the Raiders can build their backfield around.

Murray’s name isn’t well known outside of those who worship the Silver and Black. He was a former sixth-round draft pick who spent his Van Wilder days at the University of Central Florida. For those people now running with open arms to their fantasy football waiver wires, here’s a few facts you should know about the 23-year-old:

Leaving the comforts of Central Florida, he had 453 carries to his name for 2,424 yards and 37 touchdowns. Those numbers are great and all, but the real diamond in the rough was the fact that he never fumbled the football.

No, really. He never coughed the football up while wearing a UCF uniform.

The NFL is all about protecting the pigskin. You have to learn the art of carrying the rock if you want to survive in this league. Murray’s track record in that department is super clean.

You would think with all of that size, speed and the fact he never lets the football go, Murray would have gone a lot higher in the draft. But even with those assets, sites like WalterFootball.com had him ranked as the No. 14 halfback in the entire draft class.

Now, 14 carries into his NFL career, it’s looking more and more like Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie landed himself quite the football player.

Despite his injury on Thursday Night Football, this guy is proving to be the most talented running back in the city of Oakland. We’ve seen enough out of Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew to realize their time is over.

At 1-10, it’s time to cut ties with the past and focus on the future. That future starts by unleashing a steady dose of Latavius Murray for the rest of the year.


Unless noted otherwise, all game scores and information come courtesy of ESPN.com.

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Raiders can finally smile, get their first win of season

The sun came out for the Raiders on Thursday night, on a cold and rainy night. Oakland has been playing hard for interim coach Tony Sparano – which is something at 0-10 — and was rewarded with its first win, 24-20, of the season, snapping a 16-game losing streak dating back to last year. But it wasn’t going to be easy. Obviously. The Raiders blew a 17-3 lead midway through the third quarter, and fell behind 20-17 before Marcel Reece, Derek Carr and James Jones saved the first good day this season. Reece, the underused fullback who has six carries on the season coming into the game, ran seven times

Mychal Rivera, Derek Carr, James Jones’ Post-Week 12 Fantasy Reaction

Just as quickly as Mychal Rivera became a promising fantasy option, he proved to be a disappointment on Thursday Night Football.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Oakland Raiders‘ passing game stepped up late for fantasy owners.

That’s not to say that many teams started Derek Carr or James Jones, but owners in deep leagues might have expected decent production. Both were silenced by the stout Kansas City Chiefs defense until a late touchdown connection.

For Carr, his up-and-down rookie season continued with another mediocre performance. He’s had four games with multiple passing touchdowns this year, but he has just one score in the last two contests thanks to the late touchdown in Thursday’s 24-20 win.

As for one of his top receivers, Jones came up with a few good receptions before snagging that reception in the end zone.

Jason B. Hirschhorn of Sports On Earth notes how effective Jones has been for the young quarterback:

ESPN Stats & Info also noted how rare the touchdown reception was for Jones:

Rivera, on the other hand, was held mostly in check by the Chiefs. The tight end has cooled off over the last two games since combining for three touchdowns and over 100 yards in Weeks 9 and 10.

The production for Jones and Rivera moving forward will rely on how Carr plays. With matchups against the suddenly difficult St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Chiefs again in the next three weeks, all three will likely have spotty numbers.

Given the lack of depth and recent injuries at the tight end position, Rivera might still be a player to watch moving forward. Outside of deep leagues, however, Carr and Jones still have limited fantasy value.


Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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Oakland Raiders Fan Has Sign That Sums Up 2014 Season

The Oakland Raiders were trying to get their first win of the season in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

One fan’s sign appeared on the Thursday Night Football broadcast that perfectly summed up Oakland’s 2014 season. Playing off the famous “Just win, baby” quote from former owner Al Davis, the fan’s sign instead said, “Just win, maybe?”

When all the fans want is one win, you know it’s been a rough season.

The Raiders ultimately won, 24-20.

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Latavius Murray Injury: Updates on Raiders RB’s Possible Concussion and Return

Latavius Murray‘s breakout night against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night came to an unfortunate close, as the running back left the game with an apparent head injury in the first half.

The Oakland Raiders‘ official Twitter account has the report:

He was ruled out by the team in the third quarter: 

Will Carroll of Bleacher Report added:

Murray was brilliant in the first half for Oakland, rushing four times for 112 yards and two touchdowns, including an impressive 90-yard rushing score that saw him leave the Kansas City defenders in the dust. He appeared to have suffered the injury on a rush attempt up the middle in the second quarter, fumbling on the play (Oakland recovered the fumble). 

With Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew hardly impressing this season, Murray’s performance on Thursday night seemed justification for giving him a look as the starter for the rest of the season. Now, the team will simply be hoping he didn’t suffer a serious concussion and can return to action sooner rather than later.

For a team that is lacking playmakers, Murray’s performance on Thursday night was exactly the boost the offense needed and will continue to need going forward.


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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders: Live Oakland Score and Analysis

The Oakland Raiders are still looking for their first win of the season. They’ll have another chance at a victory tonight in the team’s one prime-time appearance of the season when they host the Kansas City Chiefs. Kickoff is at 8:25 p.m. ET from O.co Coliseum.

For Oakland to have a chance to win, the offense is going to have to figure out a way to stay on the field and crack the 20-point mark. The Chiefs are 7-1 in their last eight, and they’ve scored fewer than 20 points only twice. In that same stretch, they’ve scored 34 or more points three times.

Derek Carr has struggled to get the offense into the end zone all season. But he’s going to have to make this happen against the Kansas City defense. The running game is also going to have find some success. This has yet to happen this season, but perhaps the increased role of Latavius Murray will be enough to jump start the Oakland rushing attack. 

The offense’s success will also have a huge impact on the performance of the defense. The longer the offense is on the field, the more time Jamaal Charles will spend on the bench.

Still, no matter what the offense does, the Raiders defense is going to have to face Charles and find a way to contain him. Alex Smith can be efficient, but it’s Charles that drives the Kansas City offense. Linebackers Khalil Mack, Miles Burris and Sio Moore are going to be primarily responsible for making this happen.

Oakland is going to have to play a nearly flawless game to defeat the efficient Chiefs. Each area of the team—offense, defense and special teamshas played well at times this season. All three are going to have to show up tonight for the Raiders to come away victorious.

Will the Raiders show up in front of a national audience? We’ll find out tonight on Thursday Night Football. Keep it here for live scores and updates throughout the game. Make sure to share your thoughts and opinions on the team’s performance in the comments section below and on Twitter @BrianJ_Flores.

Stats taken from ESPN.com.

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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders: Complete Week 12 Preview for Oakland

The Oakland Raiders knew they were in for a tough season. After a massive offseason overhaul of the roster and facing the league’s toughest schedule, wins were going to be hard to come by. But no one expected it to be this hard. The team is still looking for its first win as it heads into its Week 12 Thursday night clash against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although the improvement has been marginal at times, the team has shown progress. This is especially true for the defense, which had another good performance last week against the San Diego Chargers. The unit held Philip Rivers in check for the entire game while giving up only 13 points.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case for the offense. The Raiders have managed to score more than 14 points only three times this season. The defense has played much better as the season has progressed. But the offense hasn’t done its part, and the defensive efforts have gone to waste.

The Raiders have yet to put together a complete game, but that’s what it’s going to take to beat the efficient Chiefs, who have quietly been one of the NFL‘s best teams.

Kansas City has compiled a 7-3 record not by excelling in one area but by smartly exploiting whatever advantage the opposing team offers up. For Oakland to win, it can’t show any glaring weakness. That’s going to be tough to do for an 0-10 team.

Kickoff is at 8:25 p.m. ET on Thursday night from O.co Coliseum. Here’s a full breakdown of Oakland’s one prime-time matchup of the season and what it’s going to take to turn it into a victory.

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