Raiders

Instant Analysis: Raiders completely dominate Jets in home opener

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AP

Instant Analysis: Raiders completely dominate Jets in home opener

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – The Raiders blew out the New York Jets. Marshawn Lynch’s homecoming game featured vintage Beast Mode on the field and the sideline.

Nobody mentioned Las Vegas.

Pretty nice little Sunday in the East Bay.

A rout was on in the second half, where the Raiders flashed a full arsenal in the backfield, receiving corps and the pass rush. They fed off a raucous crowd and never once phoned it in, massive talented disparity be damned, in a 45-20 victory at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The team’s home opener started a countdown to Las Vegas in 2020, but the crowd didn’t care. Relocation’s off in the distance. Raiders football is pretty fun right now.

The 54,729 fans on hand enjoyed most every moment of this one, though Lynch predictably stole the show. His first touchdown as a Raider brought the house down, coming from two yards out in the second quarter. Then he had a solo dance party on the sideline that fans joined.

The Raiders defense proved potent for a second-straight week, especially when able to rush the passer with a lead. They created tons of pressure – Karl Joseph was an outstanding blitzer -- finished with a sack on the day.

Michael Crabtree took advantage of single coverage, with six receptions for 80 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

Derek Carr was 22-for-27 passing for 225 yards, three touchdowns.

This day was perfect from a Raiders perspective (no game is), but was pretty darn close.

QUICK SLANTS

TIDE TURNER: The Raiders cruised through the first quarter, but the Jets responded with 10 unanswered points in the second. The game got close and the Raiders offense sputtered some, punting with two minutes left in the half.

Then the tide turned. Kalif Raymond muffed Marquette King’s 55-yard punt, sending the ball backwards. Raiders gunner Johnny Holton was quick to recover, giving the Raiders possession four yards from pay dirt. Marshawn Lynch scored three plays later to establish a firm first-half lead.

CONLEY’S FIRST TEST:Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley made his NFL debut on Sunday afternoon, and was the No. 3 cornerback entering in sub packages. He played outside, with starter TJ Carrie sliding into the slot.

Conley wasn’t tested much, but his first target never saw the receiver’s hand. Conley had proper position on a deep route, jumped up and batted the ball away. It remained in his vicinity, so Conley hit it again. It went toward safety Reggie Nelson, who couldn’t haul an interception in.

Conley played a significant role in his first NFL game, a moment delayed by a shin injury. He was up to the task, and showed well despite missing Week 1 and the entire preseason.

OWN WORST ENEMY: The Raiders too often hurt themselves against the Jets, especially in the first half. They were flagged six times for 64 yards, a total including five 15-yard infractions. Some were controversial to be sure, including Bruce Irvin’s unnecessary roughness penalty, but the flags extended Jets drives and hindered Raiders series.

All told, the Raiders had nine penalties for 79 yards. That’s uncharacteristic of Del Rio led teams, especially infractions after the whistle.

 

Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up

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AP

Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up

The Raiders are aiming to snap a four-game losing streak as they take on the first-place Chiefs Thursday night under the lights in Oakland. And they will be thin in the middle of their defense. 

Cory James and Marquel Lee are both inactive, but a well-known new face is ready to go.

Oakland will turn to veteran NaVorro Bowman, along with two undrafted rookies, Woodson Luster and Nicholas Morrow, to man the middle. 

The following players have been ruled out tonight vs. the Chiefs: 

Cornerback Gareon Conley

Quarterback Connor Cook

Linebacker Cory James

Linebacker Marquel Lee

Tackle Marshall Newhouse

Defensive End Jihad Ward

Tackle Jylan Ware

Role reversal? Alex Smith currently more of a gunslinger than Derek Carr

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AP

Role reversal? Alex Smith currently more of a gunslinger than Derek Carr

OAKLAND -- Derek Carr is going through a rough patch. The beloved Raiders quarterback is being criticized for his part in this prolonged losing skid, a rarity since his rookie year.

Carr is supposedly playing it safe, getting rid of the ball quick, throwing short and avoiding potentially risky deep shots downfield.

That doesn’t sound like someone who wears No. 4 as homage to Brett Favre. Alex Smith comes to mind instead.

The Kansas City signal caller is notoriously known as a game manager, a cautious leader who rarely lets it rip.

Not this year. The former 49ers No. 1 overall pick is killing it in K.C., with career highs in completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating. The early MVP candidate has 12 touchdowns and no picks despite the fact he’s throwing deep more than ever.

Now that sounds like the Derek Carr we knew last year.

These quarterbacks seem to have reversed roles heading into Thursday’s clash between AFC West rivals. The Raiders are 2-4 and in desperate need of win against the AFC West-leading Chiefs.

Smith and Carr can be truly dynamic downfield. Only one guy’s found that rhythm lately.

That’s crystal clear when examining their deep throws.

Nobody’s better going yard this year than Smith, per analytics site Pro Football Focus – wrap your head around that – who is 13-of-23 for 526 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions on throws beyond 20 yards in the air. Carr is 17th, completing 3-of-10 deep shots – no starter has fewer attempts -- for 109 yards, three touchdowns and a pick.

Last year, Carr ranked fifth in passes over 20 yards in the air, again, using PFF stats, with a 46-percent completion rate, 858 yards and a 117.6 passer rating. Smith was 20th in that category, completing less than a third of his attempt with a 72.8 passer rating.

The Raiders certainly want to push the ball downfield more. Carr has but four explosive plays in nearly three games of the Raiders’ four game losing streak – he missed the Baltimore loss with a fractured in his back – and hasn’t worked short passes consistently enough to score often.

“We definitely want to be able to (create explosive plays),” Carr said. “Now does that mean we’re going to do anything differently or trying to force things? Absolutely not. That’s where you get in trouble. That’s something that I’ve learned in my career. You can’t force it. You just have to work hard and let it happen.”

Some think Smith is letting it fly with a stoked competitive fire because the Chiefs traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid believes a strong supporting cast led by Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and rookie running back Kareem Hunt allows him to do big things Carr typically does.

There is, however, one constant heading into Thursday’s matchup. Smith has owned the Raiders. The Chiefs have had Carr’s number.

Smith is 9-1 against Oakland. Carr’s 1-5 against K.C.

Smith has 8.3 yards per attempt, 19 touchdowns and just four picks against the Raiders. Carr averages 4.92 yards per attempt, six touchdowns and five interceptions versus the Chiefs.

“These are big games in the division,” Smith said. “You know they’re going to be four quarters. You know they’re going to come down to the end. You just try to go out there every single play and execute. They’re all hard fought and have been close.”

Carr knows Kansas City stands in the way of his ultimate goals. This year, he has to get past them to get the Raiders back on track. That won’t be easy.

“They do a good job of rushing the passer. They do a good job of stopping the run. They do a good job on the coverage end,” Carr said. “They’re sound. They’re really well-coached. (Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton) is a great coach. All the respect for him. So much respect that he even texted me when I got hurt last year. He’s just a good dude. But this week I don’t like him too much. He does a really good job of making sure everyone is locked in. They’re really smart. They’re really smart players. They don’t do a lot so they can see route concepts. They can visualize things and get used to seeing those kind of things.”