Raiders

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

948947.jpg

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

BOX SCORE
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.

Three things you need to know about the Raiders’ 31-30 victory over the Chiefs

cooper.jpg
USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES

Three things you need to know about the Raiders’ 31-30 victory over the Chiefs

OAKLAND – Three things you need to know about the Raiders’ 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night:

1. Back from the brink

The Raiders are still under .500. They face an uphill climb getting back into playoff consideration following a crippling four-game losing streak.

Still. 3-4 is a whole heck of a lot better than the alternative.

“Yeah, 2-5 did not sound good,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “That made our stomach hurt. We wanted to come out here and get a big win. This is a big win. For our team, especially with the adversity we’ve gone through.”

The Raiders looked lost during their downturn, when a loaded offense averaged 13.1 points per game. They fell to 14th in the AFC and last in their division. Perceived strengths proved suspect. Everything was called into question.

If the Raiders were drowning, Thursday was that point in the movie where the hero reappears taking a huge, dramatic breath.

The Raiders are alive again, especially in beating the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs. There’s work ahead to make it more than a really fun night, but Thursday proved their survival instincts are still keen.

“It felt good,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “I wish it would have happened a few weeks ago. We wouldn’t be sitting here like that. You all would have been talking like ‘OK, we’re on a run’. I’m glad to get things going.

“I told them today I was going to go out there and let it rip. I told some other guys to go out there and let it rip. This offense was trying to be too perfect. We had high hopes going into the season when we started, then we hit adversity. We couldn’t find a way to get out of there fast enough. Now we’re getting out of this, but we have to keep it going. One thing we have been doing is we’ve been working as hard as we do every week. It’s starting to pay off.”

2. Dormant volcano erupts

The Raiders offense was horrible four straight games. The season’s first two games proved what a loaded unit can do when functioning well, but those efforts got lost in a wash of bad play.

An MVP-caliber quarterback’s play was openly questioned for the first time. So was a bright young coordinator taking shrapnel for the team’s misgivings. Averaging 13 points per game will make a fan base an angry mob. The offense grossly underperformed, but raw talent didn’t diminish.

Production was hot lava, bubbling underneath the surface. It erupted on Thursday night, with the previously cautious Raiders offense opened up and consistently took yards in chunks.

In doing so, a lost offense may have found an identity, a fallback: The Raiders can flat sling it.

Quarterback Derek Carr was throwing darts all over the field, completing 29-of-52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 8.0 yards per pass play and, at times, threw people open or allowed receivers to make a play in tight coverage.

Pass catchers certainly did that. Amari Cooper had 11 catches for 210 and two scores. Tight end Jared Cook had six receptions for 107 yards. Michael Crabtree only had 24 yards, but snagged the game-deciding touchdown.

It felt and looked like the Raiders offense everyone expected each week, finally back on track. That was clear after Carr threw Amari Cooper a touchdown pass the first two drives.

“We struggled to do a lot of things over the last month,” Carr said. “To start fast, again I think that gives life to a team. That’s a sense of hope, which we always have and belief and those kind of things, but to start fast, it always just gives your team a little boost at the beginning that you have to have.”

In previous weeks, the Raiders were wound too tight. They strived for perfection and failed to attain anything close. They just let loose, and went for it. An offense with no TNT blew up, to the tune of six explosive plays.

“We got so many weapons, we got so many explosive athletes on our offense but just in these last four games that we loss we were just so out of whack,” running back Jale Richard said. “It was little stuff here and there, technical, maybe a missed assignment here and there. Guys were doing their thing, guys were playing hard. We believed the whole game even when we got down a little bit. We pulled through and got the win.”

3. Return of the 2016 Raiders

Last season’s Raiders owned the fourth quarter. They generated seven come-from-behind victories last season thanks to offensive magic and timely defense.

That’s how they erased a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Kansas City. They never wavered, even in tough times. The defense provided opportunity. With two minutes remaining, the offense got it done.

Derek Carr orchestrated an 11-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Crabtree on the second straight untimed down brought on by defensive penalty.

That moment produced great emotion. It should’ve after completing one of the wildest comebacks in franchise history. The drive itself, however, was clinical.

The Raiders believed they would score. They expected it.

There was no panic, or anxiety or anything like that,” left guard Kelechi Osemele said. “We were going to get the job done. There was never, ever any doubt.”

That’s exactly what last year’s Raiders did. On the regular. They couldn’t respond well to adversity in recent games. They found their magic on Thursday night.

Mark your calendars right now for Raiders-Chiefs 2.0 in December

ratto.jpg
USATSI

Mark your calendars right now for Raiders-Chiefs 2.0 in December

In case you were asking, and you shouldn’t have been because this game deserves to be savored a bit longer, it’s December 10.
 
That’s when the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders play each other again, in case Thursday night wasn’t good enough for you.

You philistines.

And while there are some folks who won’t be happy (those who like the Chiefs or bet the Chiefs), there won’t be a more magnificently bizarre game this NFL season – because these two teams are exactly that.
 
Bizarre.
 
The Chiefs, who two weeks ago were the best team in football as voted on by the instant punditocracy, made enough mistakes in the last two minutes of Thursday’s 31-30 defeat to lose 47-10.
 
And the Raiders did the same, capped off by Marshawn Lynch’s gloriously Oaklandish reaction to fellow citizen Marcus Peters’ late hit on Derek Carr – namely, “I got your rules and your respect for officials right here!”
 
But in the end – the glorious, bizarre, untimed end – the Raiders saved themselves from pre-Halloween doom, the Chiefs reverted to the team you can never fully trust, and the rest of the NFL can only shake its collective neckless head in wonderment at the power of the old American Football League.
 
Because that, ultimately, is what this was – a game out of time. This was a throwback game, all the way back to the mid- to late-60s, when the Raiders and Chiefs hated each other not out of historical duty but out of genuine solar-generated animosity. When they both played as though their cars were being looted in the parking lot, and when 750-yard combined passing nights were actually not that unusual. They were hell-bent then, and Thursday showed that they still have that bent in their DNA even now.
 
This was that era, played out in a way that old Raider and Chiefs fans can tell their grandchildren, “Now you’re sitting there scratching your head and all, but I’m telling you that used to happen all the time. You think Marcus Peters was bad? Google Ben Davidson on Len Dawson, little Tad.”
 
And it ended the only way it could for the good of the rivalry – with Oakland winning, and in the most staggeringly improbable way.
 
Not because the Raiders are more noble human beings or a superior life form from a time long ago, but because that December 10 game needs to mean something. The Raiders needed to win Thursday because losing meant their playoff hopes would be deservedly dead, and their remaining nine games would be reduced to competitive afterthoughts, and the year would be reduced to wondering why what should have been never came close to happening.
 
And the Chiefs needed to lose because running away with a division this difficult just seems wrong. There is nothing that says Kansas City isn’t better than Denver, or Oakland or the Fightin’ StubHubs, but it shouldn’t be this easy. The Patriots may have eaten the AFC East and spit the bones into a dumpster long ago, but the AFC West clung harder to its AFL roots than the East ever did.
 
And Thursday was the evidence required to show that, at least for the Chiefs and Raiders, the old days can be recreated with a keen eye for the most malevolent details and the most bizarre turns of fortune.
 
Call it nostalgia on crank – seemingly the only thing we have left that can bond the generations in these otherwise mean-spirited days.