Instant Replay: Raiders erase deficit against Bills for another comeback win

Instant Replay: Raiders erase deficit against Bills for another comeback win


OAKLAND – These Raiders were down early on. They are never, ever out.

The Silver and Black slogged through two-plus quarters, fell down two scores and then, almost out of nowhere, got hit with a defibrillator and came back to life.

Paddles were charged to a high voltage. They woke up and immediately played some of their best football this season.

If possible after being down double digits in the second half, the Raiders cruised to victory. That’s how dominant they were down the stretch of a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Raiders improve to 10-2, and remain a game ahead of Kansas City, which won earlier in the day to set up a Thursday Night Football showdown at Arrowhead Stadium.

That game means so much because the Raiders took care of business at home.

The Raiders scored 29 unanswered points and the defense forced two turnovers – Khalil Mack was involved in both, naturally – and three three-and-outs while the offense surged ahead.

It was an awesome showcase of power, something good teams do while in a bind.

The Bills ran roughshod early on, but were shut down by effective gang tackling of LeSean McCoy. That left Buffalo in passing situations, where Mack feasted.

He tipped a ball near the line of scrimmage that Nate Allen intercepted easily. Then he virtually secured victory with a strip-sack where he recovered his own forced fumble.

Derek Carr orchestrated a series of impressive touchdown drives, and finished with 260 passing yards and two touchdowns. Latavius Murray finished with 105 yards of total offense and had two touchdowns.

The contrast between early game and late is staggering.

The Raiders were down 24-9 midway through the third quarter but erased that deficit with three straight three-and-outs on defense and 29 unanswered points.

Amari Cooper put the Raiders on top for the first time early in the fourth quarter, using a slant-and-go pattern to get open and secure a 37-yard touchdown pass from Carr.

Second-half heroics offered stark contrast to the first half’s proceedings, where the Raiders couldn’t find the end zone.

They settled for three Sebastian Janikowski field goals, and just a 10-9 halftime deficit despite Buffalo’s hot start.

The Bills charged out of the gate, with 10 points on their first two drives, using short passes and a dynamic, complex run game to consistently move downfield.

The ground game worked particularly well to start the second half. They used two rushing plays to go 66 yards for a touchdown. A 54-yard jaunt by McCoy set it up and Taylor completed the score with a 12-yard planned run.

The Raiders were only down eight points at that point, but things got worse. The Bills ran right down the field again on a 10-play, 54-yard drive completed by Mike Gillislee’s 2-yard touchdown run.

That put the Raiders down 24-9 and into hurry-up mode trying to cut the deficit. They formally did so with a 3-yard touchdown catch from Michael Crabtree, on a drive where the Raiders offense actually looked like itself.

Then the defense got a three-and-out. The Raiders drove right downfield and scored again. It was Latavius Murray this time with his 10th touchdown of the year.

The Raiders kept stopping and scoring to flip a script that seemed to have a tragic ending early on.

Dealing with Bills rushing attack: The Bills sport the NFL’s best rushing attack, which was on track during Sunday’s game. LeSean McCoy was hard to stop, showing great speed on a 54-yard run in the second half.

He ended up with 130 yards on 17 carries, good for a 7.6-yard average. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is the team’s second leading rusher, and was effective scrambling and on planned runs.

All told, the Bills ran for 212 yards and three touchdowns in this one.

Moment of silence: The Raiders held a moment of silence before Sunday’s game for victims of a major fire in the Fruitvale area of Oakland on Friday night.

The Raiders have also pledged to match donations for victims and their families, up to $30,000, as part of an effort fronted by the A's.

Amerson returns: Raiders cornerback David Amerson returned to action after missing a game with a knee injury. The Raiders defense also got Perry Riley Jr. back from a hamstring strain, though Stacy McGee and Darius Latham were down with ankle injuries.

Rookie running back DeAndre Washington was a healthy scratch for a second straight week. Antonio Hamilton was a surprise scratch. He was expected to be the team’s fourth cornerback.

What’s next: The Raiders have a short week heading into one of the season’s biggest games. They’ll face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night in a battle for AFC West supremacy, but must travel two time zones to do it in a scheduling quirk the Raiders don’t like.

The Chiefs kept pace with a dramatic victory over Atlanta where Eric Berry returned a game-deciding two-point conversion attempt to win it late.

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'


New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”

Raiders sign former 49ers defensive lineman


Raiders sign former 49ers defensive lineman

Update (3/17, 11:15 a.m.): The Raiders have officially signed former 49ers lineman Tank Carradine.


Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wanted veterans to help turn his defense around. He added a linebacker and defensive backs aplenty. Then, on Friday night, he gave the front some help.

Former 49ers defensive lineman Tank Carradine will sign with the Raiders, the 28-year old announced on his Instagram page. 

The Sacramento Bee first reported the news. 

He visited the Raiders on Thursday and was in Seattle earlier Friday, but will sign with the Silver and Black.

Carradine could help their transition to a more traditional 4-3 alignment, able to play end in the base defense. He has proven himself as a solid run defender, but believes he can be an effective pass rusher if given the opportunity.

Carradine didn’t get many pass-rushing chances with the 49ers, who generally removed him on passing downs. He has 5.5 sacks in four professional seasons. He played 37.9 percent of 49ers defensive snaps during eight games with the 49ers last season. He missed the same amount on short-term injured reserve with an ankle injury.

At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, he has the size to be a 4-3 base end. He’ll likely have to battle Mario Edwards Jr. for snaps opposite Khalil Mack, though Bruce Irvin will take that spot in sub packages.

Carradine will be the 10th free-agent signing expected to make the roster, which means the roster turnover this summer should be significant. 

Here was his Instagram post from Friday night: 

Proud to become an Oakland Raider! Let's go #raiders#nation

A post shared by Tank Carradine (@tank.carradine) on