Raiders

McFadden, Raiders run past Broncos in opening win

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McFadden, Raiders run past Broncos in opening win

Sept. 12, 2011
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DENVER (AP) -- Eric Decker returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown to help Denver get within 16-13 of Oakland through three quarters Monday night in a game that featured Sebastian Janikowski's NFL record-tying 63-yard field goal.Matt Prater hit a 30-yard field goal late in the third when a promising Broncos drive stalled out near the goal line.Just seconds before halftime, Janikowski kicked the ball low and watched it barely creep over the crossbar. Janikowski shares the record with Jason Elam and Tom Dempsey.His teammates ran onto the field to celebrate before heading into the locker room.It was one of three field goals Janikowski had in the second quarter, the other two being much shorter. Fullback Marcel Reece also hauled in a TD pass.The Broncos climbed back into the game early in the third quarter thanks to their special teams. Decker fielded Shane Lechler's 57-yard punt and was off to the races.Upon reaching the end zone, Decker headed for the fans and jumped into the stands, his rendition of the "Lambeau Leap."The Broncos later went on a 12-play drive that culminated with Prater's kick.It was a first half featuring big plays for the Raiders, who capitalized on a blocked punt and a Broncos fumble.Just before the end of the first quarter, Darryl Blackstock broke through the line and got a hand on Britton Colquitt's punt, setting Oakland up with excellent field position at the Denver 42.Jason Campbell found a wide open Reece for a 3-yard score.On Denver's next offensive play, Knowshon Moreno fumbled the ball away after a hit by Quentin Groves.As the Raiders were celebrating, the rain began to steadily fall. Oakland couldn't move the ball in the downpour and settled for a 37-yard field goal by Janikowski.Soon after that, the rain stopped.The Broncos were driving late in the second quarter but couldn't convert on a long third down. They elected to have Prater try a 56-yard field goal, which sailed wide right and gave the Raiders great field position.Campbell moved the Raiders down the field and Janikowski hit a 21-yarder with 1:27 remaining until halftime.With plenty of time left before intermission, Kyle Orton had the Broncos on the move but was picked off by Matt Giordano at the Oakland 24.A 15-yard facemask penalty on Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson put the ball near midfield and Campbell's throw to Reece moved the Raiders to the Denver 45 and put Janikowski within range of history.Dempsey set the record for New Orleans on Nov. 8, 1970, and Denver's Elam matched it on Oct. 25, 1998.Janikowski connected on a 61-yard field goal on Dec. 27, 2009.Oakland fumbled on its opening possession of the season when rookie linebacker Von Miller knocked the ball loose with his helmet after a catch by Jacoby Ford. Miller was the No. 2 overall pick by the Broncos.Fellow rookie Rahim Moore pounced on the loose ball. The Broncos couldn't capitalize as Orton completed just one short pass on three attempts, leading to Prater's 28-yard field goal.The much-maligned Denver defense did a formidable job early on as the unit also forced the Raiders to punt.However, Elvis Dumervil walked off the field holding his shoulder, throwing his helmet down in disgust. He later returned to the field but played sparingly.Dumervil, who led the league in sacks in 2009, missed all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.This was a game featuring two new head coaches. Hue Jackson took over in Oakland after serving as offensive coordinator last season, while John Fox was in his first game in charge of the Broncos after arriving from Carolina.The Broncos are trying to get their franchise back on track a year after turning in a franchise-worst 4-12 season. They brought in Fox and turned the reins over to Hall of Famer John Elway, who's serving as chief of football operations. The organization even renamed their stadium (Colorado-based Sports Authority recently took over the naming rights from Invesco and completed its sign out front just in time for the opener).Still, it's difficult to erase all the memories from an abysmal 2010.One of the low points for the Broncos in a season full of worthy candidates was an embarrassing 59-14 thumping by the Raiders on Oct. 24. It could've been even worse but the Raiders relented in the fourth quarter, showing mercy toward one of their most bitter rivals.Darren McFadden led the way, shredding the porous Denver defense for 165 yards rushing and three scores.On Monday, facing an overhauled Denver defensive front, McFadden had another solid game going, rushing for 100 yards on 19 carries through three quarters.

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

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USATSI

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

Running back Marshawn Lynch formally appealed his one-game suspension on Monday afternoon.

The Raiders hope to hear a ruling by Tuesday.

“I think we expect to hear something early in the week, hopefully by tomorrow,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a Monday press conference. “(It) would be the fairest thing so that the team can prepare.”

That’s the expectation, according to an ESPN report. The Raiders should know by Tuesday whether Lynch’s suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct will stand.

The suspension stems from a Thursday night incident where he left the sidelines to join an on-field fracas involving Raiders offensive linemen and Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters. The third-year pro was penalized for a late hit on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr his linemen didn’t take kindly.

Peters and Lynch are extremely close friends and Oakland natives, and Lynch instinctively went out to protect someone he views as family. He inadvertently grabbed an official by the jersey and let go shortly after. He was flagged and ejected by rule.

He missed most of Thursday’s 31-30 victory over the Chiefs, and the NFL suspended him one game without pay on Friday. That could cost Lynch a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

ESPN reports that Peters by phone spoke at Lynch’s appeal hearing, where the running back’s team also cited precedent of others contacting an official without getting suspended. Leaving the sideline, however, may not help his appeal.

Del Rio said he hadn’t spoken with Lynch since the ejection.

“I said the other night I was disappointed that we had a player leave the bench,” Del Rio said. “It’s something we talk about – don’t leave the bench area.”

The Raiders ran with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington after Lynch’s ejection, and combined for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The pair with shoulder a rushing load Sunday at Buffalo if Lynch is unavailable.

“They don’t have the size and the power but they have a little more quickness, they catch the ball a little easier, better route-runners, things like so,” Del Rio said. “So, if you’re playing a little more wide open, in some respects they give you a little more juice. Marshawn give you the power back when you want to finish people and in tough situations. Those guys give you more than a change of pace.”

 

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

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AP

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

Raiders receiver Amari Cooper has been creating steady separation for a few weeks now. That didn’t break him out of a prolonged slump.

Coaches were impressed by Cooper’s route running in a Week 5 loss to Baltimore. It only earned two targets and an eight-yard catch. They tried to find No. 89 more often in a Week 6 loss to the L.A. Chargers, though six targets generated five short catches for 28 yards.

Low production stretched through a four-game losing streak, with nine catches for 51 yards. Including stats from to early wins, Coopers season stats (18 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown) were worse than nearly 200 others.

Even that astonishment didn’t make Cooper demand the gosh darn football, please. The low-key Cooper attitude: The ball will find me.

It finally did in Thursday night’s 31-30 victory over Kansas City. Several times in fact.

Cooper had 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted 19 times. Nineteen. That’s no coincidence.

They moved him around, including significant snaps in the slot. He was targeted 11 times from that position, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and produced six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

They schemed opportunities and quarterback Derek Carr used them to create big plays early.

Carr’s first pass went 12-yards to Cooper. His third was a 38-yard touchdown strike. His seventh was an in-stride delivery that Cooper took across and then up the field for a 45-yard score.

Just like that, Cooper was off and running for the first time this year.

“We put him in positions to make plays, obviously,” Carr said. “We knew that there were certain things that we liked. Nothing changed in his demeanor or his mentality or the way he worked or anything like that. We just stayed the course. We know what we have here and we know that if we just stay the course and work and grind through the tough times.

“…For ‘Coop’ to just continue to grind and get on the other side of it, I just felt good for him. You guys know Amari. I think we all felt good for him.”

Cooper said the early explosive touches provided confidence. Ability produced a signature performance. The Alabama product is excellent extending production with his legs, and had 78 of his yards come after the catch. That’s an average of 7.1 yards after the catch per reception, per PFF.

His second touchdown reached him 15 yards downfield, and he hit the jets and reached the end zone. He turned a short catch into 15 crucial yards to start the game-winning two-minute drill, and later high pointed a 39-yard receptions.

“The way he finished after the catch was really special,” Carr said. “Obviously, we all know he can go up and get a ball and all those things. That second touchdown where he cam across, the burst that he had, that’s freakish. Not a lot of guys have that. To turn the jets on like that and just out run the angles of the defense, that was really special. I think just after the catch he just played with some dog in him, which we know he has. We were able to get him the ball and let him shine and do what he does.”

Cooper’s showcase was vital to a huge victory that kept his team in the hunt. It also ended a rough month where Cooper and the Raiders both struggled. Veteran running mate Michael Crabtree was never concerned with the downturn and told the young receiver to stay the course during tough times.

“(I told him), ‘Just be you,’” Crabtree said. “It’s just about everything coming together. Coop’s a fighter, man. Coop has got skills. I don’t worry about Coop and I’m sure he doesn’t worry about me. That’s why we are so good together.”