Paul G's Instant Replay: Bengals 34, Raiders 10


Paul G's Instant Replay: Bengals 34, Raiders 10

CINCINNATI -- The Raiders failed to show up in the first half, played outstanding in the third quarter and were involved in another strange progression of plays in the fourth, when the referees lost control. The end result, a 34-10 Cincinnati Bengals victory over Oakland before an announced 56,503 at Paul Brown Stadium.The Raiders' losing streak reached four games and they have been outscored by a combined 169-79 in that stretch.Midway through the fourth quarter, the Raiders appeared to have a fumble recovery on a strip by Joselio Hanson for a touchdown that would have made the score 27-17 on Mohamed Sanu when the referees huddled and announced an "inadvertent whistle" stopped the play, giving the Bengals the choice of accepting the play or playing it over. They played it over. And on a Bengals delay of game, Lamarr Houston took Andy Dalton down, creating a melee that ended with the refs kicking out Houston, Tommy Kelly and Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, despite Bengals defensive players Manny Lawson, Carlos Dunlap and Taylor Mays coming on the field. Former Raiders coach-turned Bengals assistant Hue Jackson also came on the field to play the role of peacemaker, so to speak.East Coast Woes continue: The Raiders' woes in the Eastern Time Zone continued as they lost their ninth straight game in the east, getting outscored by a combined 315-155 in the process. The skid dates back to the Bruce Gradkowski comeback game in Pittsburgh on Dec. 6, 2009. In fact, the Raiders are now just 5-26 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone since Dec. 15, 2002.A less-than-welcoming homecoming: Carson Palmer was booed lustily early and often as the Raiders quarterback made his first appearance in Cincinnati since "retiring" and being traded over a year ago. He was greeted by the Bengals just as rudely, getting sacked four times, including twice in the Raiders' first possession, losing a fumble and getting picked off. Palmer finished with 146 yards on 19 of 34 passing with a touchdown pass. His franchise-record streak of 200-yard passing games ended at 16.Halftime adjustments?: After getting outscored by a cumulative 123-34 in the third quarter this season, the Raiders beat the Bengals 10-0 in the third on Sunday, Sebastian Janikowski drilling a 50-yard field goal and Carson Palmer hit Denarius Moore for a 20-yard touchdown pass.Automatic SeaBassstill: Sebastian Janikowski's 55-yard field goal in the third quarter, kicked into the more open end of the stadium with the Ohio River in the background, easily cleared the crossbar. It was his 23rd made field goal of the season in 24 attempts. His only miss was the 64-yarder he attempted at the end of regulation against Jacksonville.Turning on a dime: After outscoring the Bengals 10-0 in the third quarter, climbing within two touchdowns at 24-10 and sitting at midfield on 2nd and 4, Carson Palmer was strip-sacked by Manny Lawson and Rey Maualuga recovered. Two plays later, BenJarvus Green-Ellis broke off a 39-yard run to the 1-yard line. A 20-yard field goal by Mike Nugent put the Bengals up by 17. Ballgame.Checking in with Tom Flores: The former two-time Super Bowl winning coach of the Raiders spares no one on the radio broadcast when things go sideways. Such was the case early. "The Raiders don't have an answer for the blitzes they've shown."Up next: The Raiders (3-8) begin a three-game homestand, their final three home games of the season, by playing host to the Cleveland Browns (3-8), who upended the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.