ALAMEDA – The Raiders ran all over the Denver Broncos in Week 9, and were expected to do the same thing to Houston on Monday night.
That didn’t work out so well.
The Raiders ran 20 times for 30 yards, a season low by a long shot and a stark contrast to three previous games where they averaged 163 yards on the ground.
“Clowney caused that,” Del Rio said. “He’s a big boy.”
Del Rio’s referring to Jadeveon Clowney, a No. 1 overall taken four spots higher than Khalil Mack. He had five tackles for little to no gain and was a menace while moving around the defensive line.
“They did some good things up front,” Del Rio said on Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “(Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel) is a good defensive coordinator. They have some little adjustments. Part of that was having good people. They won up front on a couple of occasions. That doesn’t happen very often to our guys.”
The Raiders still found a way to win 27-20 at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca and still found a way to get their backs involved. They threw it their way often, and not just in the flat. Jalen Richard and Jamize Olawale had long touchdown receptions and got open in sneaky, often schematic ways.
“All those guys can pass protect, they can run routes, they can run the ball inside and outside. Having that versatility opens up for the offensive coordinator the ability to utilize them in a lot of different ways.”
Quarterback Derek Carr completed 11 passes to running backs for 199 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were vital to a Raiders victory.
While trying to close this one out with a sustained, clock-devouring drive, they went back to the ground. Latavius Murray kept the time ticking, but the Raiders were faced with a 4th-and-1 and an opportunity to finish it on offense.
Del Rio elected to go for it, and Murray got five more than he needed.
“You know you’re putting yourself out there a little bit, but you’re believing in your guys, and they delivered,” Del Rio said. “So, when you know you’re putting yourself out there, and then they deliver, it’s satisfying.”
Del Rio: Right calls were made: The Texans are upset that important calls went against them on Monday night. The first came when receiver DeAndre Hopkins was rules out of bounds on a long pass play while running free to the end zone.
Referees also spotted two Texans runs short of the first-down marker on third and fourth down, prompting a turnover on downs. Head coach Bill O’Brien challenged the ruling and lost.
Del Rio had a different view of those two plays, which ruled in the Raiders favor.
“He was out,” Del Rio said with a smile, “and they marked it appropriately.”
No Mario, Aldon updates: Del Rio didn’t have an update on Mario Edwards Jr. or whether he would be ready to practice this week. The Raiders are still waiting for the green light from trainers.
He also didn’t have an update on edge rusher Aldon Smith, who is eligible for reinstatement after being banished a calendar year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Del Rio spoke with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but said Smith didn’t come up. He certainly could have during longer talks with general manager Reggie McKenzie and owner Mark Davis.
Raiders ignore stadium talk: Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf announced Tuesday morning that a framework of a land-use deal intended to help keep the Raiders in Oakland. So, oh so predictably, the most visible member of the Raiders brass was asked about it.
Del Rio deflected inquires, and said his team and coaching staff is focused solely on football.
“That doesn’t have anything to with the team right now,” Del Rio said. “We’re focused on the next opportunity. We have to stay in our tunnel. Those discussions go on and we don’t partake.
“I grew up right down the road, and I’m proud to be the coach of a team where it is right now.”