Raiders

Paul G's Instant Replay: Broncos 26, Raiders 13

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Paul G's Instant Replay: Broncos 26, Raiders 13

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- For the first time since 2006, the Raiders have been swept by Denver with Thursday night's 26-13 loss to the Broncos in front of a national TV audience, falling to 3-10 on the season.

AFC West champion Denver (10-3) started quick, leading 13-0, and was threatening to go up by more when Phillip Adams picked off Peyton Manning in the end zone. The Raiders offense responded and had perhaps its most impressive drive of the season, going 80 yards in 14 plays and taking 6:33 off the clock. Carson Palmer pump-faked and hit Darren McFadden, who went in from six yards out for the score.

For the Raiders, who lost their sixth straight, Palmer threw for 273 yards, on 19 of 30 passing, with two touchdowns, a fumble on a strip-sack, and a costly interception when he threw behind an open Brandon Myers at the goal line and future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey picked it off.

"That's one guy you don't want to hang the ball on," two-time Super Bowl winning coach Tom Flores offered on the radio.

Meanwhile, Peyton Manning threw for 310 yards, with one TD and one INT. The Raiders did have three sacks, all in the first half.

Rookie WR Rod Streater had a career-high 100 yards receiving on four catches, on the first Thursday night game in Oakland since Oct. 25, 1979.

It was Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen's first game since his father Grady passed away Monday night. The younger Allen was away from the team Sunday night through Tuesday night and will leave the team again for his father's services.

McFadden returns: Playing for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain on Nov. 4, Darren McFadden was, as he mostly was before the injury, a non-factor. The first time McFadden touched the ball, on a pass across the middle from Carson Palmer, he dropped it. McFadden ran for 52 yards on 11 carries, with 36 yards coming on one breathtaking run down the right sideline, and did have a six-yard TD catch that got the Raiders within 13-7. But other than that…silence.

Greatness in the house: The Raiders honored their 19 Hall of Famers and 12 of them were on the field, plus three widows, including Carol Davis, for a classy halftime tribute. Those that were at the Coliseum: Jim Otto, George Blanda's widow Betty, Willie Brown, Gene Upshaw's widow Teresa, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Ted Hendricks, Mike Haynes, Howie Long, Ronnie Lott, Dave Casper, James Lofton, John Madden, Rod Woodson and Carol Davis. Also recognized were Bob Brown, Eric Dickerson, Jerry Rice and Marcus Allen.

Third-quarter woes return: After decent third quarters against Cincinnati and Cleveland, the Raiders went back to their falling-down ways against the Broncos, getting outscored 10-0. For the season, the Raiders have been outscored by a combined 139-51 in the third quarter, including 34-0 in two games against the Broncos.

The scourge of penalties: After having a combined seven penalties against New Orleans and Cincinnati, the Raiders had their second straight game of double-digit penalties. Oakland had 11 penalties for 94 yards against the Broncos, who did not have a flag thrown at them until the 3:37 mark of the third quarter. The Raiders had 10 penalties for 65 yards against Cleveland and a season-high 12 penalties for 110 yards at Atlanta. Right tackle Khalif Barnes had two holding penalties and a false start Thursday.

All suited up with nothing to do…again: Terrelle Pryor was activated for the second time this season, but the third-string quarterback spent the evening wearing a skull cap and jacket. He did start to play catch in the third quarter, but just as suddenly, put his jacket back on

Checking in with Tom Flores: The Raiders were bringing blitzes at Peyton Manning early and often, but Manning was beating them with ease by simply hitting his running back. Tom Flores, the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach-turned-broadcaster, said leaving the backs open in hot reads was "inexcusable." Later, under a crush of flags, play-by-play man Greg Papa said, "Another holding penalty?" "Oh yeah," Flores answered. "Why not?"

Up next: The Raiders (3-10) have a bit of a break as they do not play again for 10 days, when they play host to Kansas City (2-10) in Oakland's home finale. The Raiders beat the Chiefs, 26-16, on Oct. 28 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

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USATSI

Days after signing with Raiders, NaVorro Bowman expected to play vs Chiefs

ALAMEDA – NaVorro Bowman was a sponge this week, absorbing the Raiders defense as quickly as possible.

The veteran inside linebacker signed with the Raiders Monday afternoon and did enough to play Thursday night’s pivotal home game against Kansas City.

That’s a huge plus for a Raiders team looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Bowman should be able to help right away despite being new to the scheme.

“He’s a veteran. He understands ball,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday. “We haven’t tried to install the entire playbook, but specific game plans and things. He’s had a good week. Even though it’s a short week, we feel good and he’ll play.”

He’ll probably start at inside linebacker and play the base defense as least. While many have criticized his speed and coverage skills diminished from major injuries, Bowman remains a sure tackler who can provide solid on-field leadership.

Veteran savvy and natural ability should carry Bowman while he masters a new scheme, allowing him to make the immediate impact required with the Raiders reeling at 2-4.

“He is very instinctive,” Del Rio said. "He’s a veteran guy that’s been there before. He understands what it looks like to lineup against a good football team and help us win.”

Bowman’s fresh and healthy, a step above his others at his position. Inside linebackers Cory James (knee), Marquel Lee (ankle) and Nicholas Morrow (ankle) are all questionable heading into Thursday’s game.

He has also been a willing teacher to a group of inside linebackers featuring a second-year pro and three rookies.

“They’re just soaking it up,” Del Rio said. “They’ll ask, ‘When do you lift? How often do you lift? When do you meet? When do you cover this?’ It’s good stuff to have for a really young group.”

In other injury news, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is out, leaving Vadal Alexander to start in his spot. David Sharpe should be the swing tackle in reserve.

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

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AP

Downing: Raiders offense off track, answers exist ‘in our scheme’

ALAMEDA – Todd Downing has friends with fantasy football teams. Those faux general managers, like many across the roto world, took Raiders with high draft picks.

They would like to know why Derek Carr isn’t throwing touchdowns in bulk, Amari Cooper’s in a slump and Marshawn Lynch isn’t getting more carries.

“I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that,” Downing said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s part of the business.”

Ah, the life of an NFL coordinator. Players get credit when things go right. Play callers sit over a Bunsen burner the rest of the time.

Downing understands that part of this gig.

“I welcome the responsibility that this job has afforded me,” he said. “I understand that I’m going to have to deal with negative comments and consequences when things aren’t going well. I’m looking forward to standing up here in a more positive fashion some time soon.”

Positives were expected right away. He was given the keys to a Lamborghini with a franchise quarterback under center, 1,000-yard receivers on each flank, an older back considered among the best of his generation, and the NFL’s biggest and most expensive offensive line.

The Raiders ranked No. 6 in total offense before adding Lynch, tight end Jared Cook and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in free agency. Now they’re 30th heading into Thursday night’s game against Kansas City.

The mob is lighting torches, armed with pitchforks. After six weeks.

Everyone has an opinion on what’s wrong and how to fix this offense. More interior runs, less outside zone. More play action, please. Go deep, a lot. Have Derek hold on to the ball longer. Have Derek get rid of it quick. Do all that at once. Do it now.

Downing’s going to stick with his system. The Raiders will stick with their process, thank you very much, with faith that things will turn.

“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here and trying to give you the rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.

“…We’re looking for answers right now, but we know those answers exist in our room and in our scheme. Once we hit our stride, we’re excited to see what it looks like.”

There’s reason to believe that can happen. Take the season’s first two games, for example. The Raiders scored 71 points in that span. There’s talent everywhere in the starting lineup and behind it.

That’s why concern reigns during a four-game losing streak where the offense is averaging 13.1 points. They can’t sustain drives, come through on third down or block consistently in the run game. Their play count is dismally low. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders aver averaging 54 plays per game. Every other team has at least 60. The 2005 49ers were the last team that averaged such a sum. The Raiders haven’t had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver.

Offense is blamed for a dismal 2-4 start. Even the universally beloved Carr has taken some heat for lackluster performances.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy that can look back over the last few weeks and say, ‘You know what, I’m really pleased with how I’ve played over the last three weeks,’ or, ‘Called the last three weeks’ or, ‘Coached my position the last three weeks.’ We all own this together,” Downing said. “There’s no one guy that is going to save it or break it or anything in between. We need to do this as a team and everybody needs to make the plays they’re afforded the opportunity to make and I need to call the right plays when afforded the opportunity to call them.”

The Raiders can and must do better before falling further. Righting the ship too late to reach the season’s goals might hurt as much as a completely dismal campaign.

Pressing, however, isn’t the answer.

“You do have to stay patient,” Downing said. “I tell the offense this every week, but it’s never been more true than where we’re at now as an offense. We have a belief in what we’ve done this far, and the system we’ve put in place, and the playmakers we have in that room, and the coaches that are up in the room with me, and you will never see me waiver in my belief of any single one of those guys, including myself. If I did, and I started acting different or started calling games differently, then that would mean I didn’t really believe in the first place.”