Raiders

'Explosive' plays define Raiders' lost season

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'Explosive' plays define Raiders' lost season

ALAMEDA -- A constant theme throughout his 42-minute sit down with seven reporters last Friday was Reggie McKenzie lamenting the Raiders' trend of giving up big plays at, well, big moments.

The Raiders first-year general manager pointed to them as a major reason for the team's slide, which went from a four-game losing skid to five with Sunday's 20-17 defeat to Cleveland.

"Big plays kill us on defense," McKenzie said. "It's hard to win when you're giving up big plays on defense."

The Raiders define an "explosive play" as one that gains at least 16 yards throughout the air, 12 yards on the ground. Such explosive plays, though, have actually defined the Raiders this season.

And really, you could say the Raiders' best game this season was in a loss, at Atlanta.

"If I could put my finger on it, I would fix it myself," McKenzie said. "But, when you look at tape, how we attacked Atlanta, how we stopped the run, how we did not give up big runs, when you count the number of big plays in that game, you can start with that, and how we played on defense. That's why we were in that game."

Indeed, the Raiders limited the Falcons to five explosive plays in that last-second, 23-20 loss, four passes and one run. And none of the plays ended as a touchdown.

"But since then, if you look at game by game, and see the big plays, now, our D-line is not getting knocked around the ball, we're stout up front," McKenzie said. "But when you talk about run game, run defense, the one thing that you worry about is getting knocked around up front. And our guys are not. But the bottom line is, the gaps. I mean, yeah, that's fixable, but you can't let it happen. So, that's part of it right there. That and a big pass play, especially on third down, when you think you can get off the field. Too many of those since then. Especially in November."

Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly used to refer to it as the stop, stop, boom phenomenon. And it continues to this day.

"After you stop them and have a great play, good play, then all of a sudden, Wham, seven points. Easy," McKenzie said. "Kind of knocked the wind out of you, especially a team like this. We’re not at that level where we can continue to overcome (that) time and time again."

In the Raiders' five-game losing streak, the defense has surrendered a total of 49 explosive plays, 32 passes and 17 runs. Of these plays, nine have been touchdowns, with five by air and four by ground.

"We just have to work together to understand why and how (it happens)," said Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "We have to take better angles down the field, is some of it.

"They’ve happened in zone, they’ve happened in every call known to man. It’s a continuing process to have the guys understand where their help is and have guys understand how to take angles and go from there. Sometimes younger players, when they come out of the stack or different things, don’t necessarily take the correct angle based on what’s going on."

Conversely, the Raiders have had 34 explosive plays, 27 passes (five TDs) and seven runs over the last five games.

"We're not good enough to just give guys, let alone points, but just to give them big plays like that," McKenzie said. "I'm looking for the offense to not just move the ball but score some points, get better in red zone, get better on third down, keep the chains moving, score points. More consistent special teams play, especially in coverage. I'm looking for a lot of things, but I'm looking for some wins."

A look then, at the Raiders and explosive plays through 12 games…

EXPLOSIVE PLAYS
Passes of 16 yards or more, runs of 12 yards or more

San Diego game (Lost, 22-14)
Raiders – (5) 5 passes, 0 runs
Chargers – (4) 4 passes, 0 runs

Miami game (Lost, 35-13)
Raiders -- (8) 8 passes (TD), 0 run
Dolphins – (10) 4 passes, 6 runs (3 TDs)

Pittsburgh game (Won, 34-31)
Raiders – (7) 5 passes, 2 runs (1 TD)
Steelers – (8) 8 passes (1 TD), 0 runs

Denver game (Lost, 37-6)
Raiders -- (6) 5 passes, 1 run
Broncos -- (12) 9 passes (2 TDs), 3 runs

Atlanta game (Lost, 23-20)
Raiders -- (11) 10 passes (1 TD), 1 run
Falcons -- (5) 4 passes, 1 run

Jacksonville game (Won, 26-23)
Raiders -- (6) 5 passes, 1 run
Jaguars -- (3) 3 passes, 0 runs

Kansas City game (Won, 26-16)
Raiders --  (9) 5 passes (1 TD), 4 runs
Chiefs -- (6) 2 passes, 4 runs

Tampa Bay game (Lost, 42-32)
Raiders -- (6) 6 passes (1 TD), 0 runs
Buccaneers -- (10) 4 passes (1 TD), 6 runs (3 TDs)

Baltimore game (Lost, 55-20)
Raiders -- (5) 5 passes (1 TD), 0 runs
Ravens -- (11) 10 passes (2 TDs), 1 run

New Orleans game (Lost, 38-17)
Raiders -- (12) 9 passes, 3 runs
Saints -- (10) 5 passes (1 TD), 5 runs (1 TD)

Cincinnati game (Lost, 34-10)
Raiders -- (4) 2 passes (1 TD), 2 runs
Bengals -- (8) 4 passes, 4 runs

Cleveland game (Lost, 20-17)
Raiders -- (7) 5 passes (2 TDs), 2 runs
Browns -- (10) 9 passes (1 TD), 1 run

TOTALS
Raiders -- (86) 70 passes (8 TD), 16 runs (1 TD)
Opponents – (97) 66 passes (8 TDs), 31 runs (7 TDs)

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

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AP

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.

He’ll also be a spectator next week.

The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.

The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.

Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.

By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.

Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.

Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.

Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.

Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.

“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.

His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.

Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.

If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.

Snap count: Bowman worked overtime to be 'hunting dog' in Raiders' defense

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AP

Snap count: Bowman worked overtime to be 'hunting dog' in Raiders' defense

OAKLAND – NaVorro Bowman would’ve been forgiven for skipping Thursday’s game. The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders, and had one practice and a pair of walk-throughs before facing Kansas City.

That isn’t much time to absorb a new scheme. No matter. As he said Monday, Bowman wanted to show you something.

The former 49er certainly did, even more than Bowman expected. He played 60 of 62 defensive snaps in a crucial 31-30 victory over the Chiefs.

He didn’t just play. He performed. Bowman led the Raiders with 11 tackles, including one for a loss and a crucial hit on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on a crucial third-down stop in the fourth quarter.

He wore the green dot – play calls were relayed to his helmet speaker -- and helped get the defense lined up.

“I just absolutely love the football player in him. He’s a hunting dog,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He loves to play. He brought experience during the week. He was a settling influence, kind of a determined influence on the sideline. I thought he did a remarkable job.”

That’s the result. The process of getting there was remarkable. He put in 40 hours of work in three days, memorizing terminology and defensive concepts specific to the game plan. He bunkered down and ignored the world during his acclimation process, and came out a functional member of the Raiders defense.

“Everyone knows I’ve only been here for three days and must be wondering how I did it,” Bowman said. “It was my commitment to the game, and my family understanding how much I love the work and giving me that peace and quiet time in hours away from them to really get everything down. This is why you want to come out so well and execute. So many people are sacrificing so you can play the game.”

Bowman helped keep the Raiders close down the stretch, and had key stops in a pair of defensive stops that allowed quarterback Derek Carr to orchestrate a successful two-minute drill.

"I was on the sidelines with my back turned, saying ‘I can’t watch, I can’t watch,’” Bowman said. “They all looked at me funny like, ‘This is what we do.’ They went out and won, and acted all normal. I guess that’s how we roll. It was a great game, and I enjoyed it.”

That was clear after the game. There was a good reason for it. Bowman hadn’t won a game since September 2016. Bowman lost most of last season recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury, meaning he last tasted victory in Week 2 last season.

“I’ve worked my way back from the Achilles injury, and to have a shot to better and get better and possibly win a division is huge,” Bowman said. “We just beat a really good team. I think this will propel us and get us going.”

OFFENSE
Quarterback –
Derek Carr 82
Running back – Jalen Richard 26, DeAndre Washington 25, Jamize Olawale 11, Marshawn Lynch 10
Wide receiver – Amari Cooper 78, Seth Roberts 72, Michael Crabtree 72, Cordarelle Patterson 18, Johnny Holton 6
Tight end – Jared Cook 67, Lee Smith 17, Clive Walford 8
Offensive line – Kelechi Osemele 82, Rodney Hudson 82, Donald Penn 82, Vadal Alexander 82, Gabe Jackson 82

DEFENSE
Defensive line –
Khalil Mack 62, Denico Autry 46, Justin Ellis 44, Treyvon Hester 32, Mario Edwards 28, Eddie Vanderdoes 19, James Cowser 3
Linebacker – NaVorro Bowman 60, Bruce Irvin 59, Nicholas Morrow 38,
Cornerback – TJ Carrie 62, Dexter McDonald 50, David Amerson 28, Sean Smith 19
Safety – Reggie Nelson 62, Karl Joseph 62, Keith McGill 7, Shalom Luani 1

SPECIAL TEAMS
Keith McGill 25, James Cowser 25, Shalom Luani 21, Xavier Woodson-Luster 19, Erik Harris 19, Jamize Olawale 19, Shlique Calhoun 16, Jon Feliciano 14, Lee Smith 14, Giorgio Tavecchio 12, Johnny Holton 12, Marquette King 11, Jon Condo 11, Cordarrelle Patterson 11, Jalen Richard 10, Nicholas Morrow 10, Darius McCray 8, Kelechi Osemele 7, Gabe Jackson 7, Vadal Alexander 7, Clive Walford 7, Justin Ellis 7, David Sharpe 7, Khalil Mack 6, TJ Carrie 6, Denico Autry 6, Treyvon Hester 6, Eddie Vanderdoes 6, Mario Edwards Jr. 5, Karl Joseph 5, DeAndre Washington 4,

DID NOT PLAY
QB EJ Manuel

INACTIVE
CB Gareon Conley, QB Connor Cook, OT Jylan Ware, LB Marquel Lee, LB Cory James, DL Jihad Ward, RT Marshall Newhouse