Raiders dominate both lines of scrimmage


Raiders dominate both lines of scrimmage

OAKLAND -- It's a simple game, really.

Dominate the line of scrimmage and, more often than not, you win the game.

The Raiders on Sunday won the battles in the trenches on both sides of the ball -- left no prisoners, really -- and there was no surprise, then, that Oakland ended its six-game losing streak with a 15-0 defeat of Kansas City in the Raiders' home finale, their first shutout victory in almost a decade.

Indeed, it is a symbiotic relationship.

"Yeah, I felt like up front that we did a nice job," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "I thought we were able to run the ball effectively. We were able to control time of possession, which I think was critical in our defense being able to play as well as they did.

"I think we had 40 minutes time of possession in the game, so that was outstanding, as far as keeping our defense fresh."

[INSTANT REPLAY: Raiders 15, Chiefs 0]

Consider: on offense, Oakland rushed for a season-high 203 yards, on 45 carries, and for the first time this season, the Raiders had more rushing yards than passing yards, even as quarterback Carson Palmer was not sacked for the third time this season.

"Just for guys to go out there, still laying it on the line and showing people that we haven't laid down," said Darren McFadden, who rushed for 110 yards, "we're still going to go out there and fight every down."

The Raiders held a 40:06-19:54 time of possession advantage.

"Our defense outplayed them," Palmer said. "It's good to get a win against a team that's also struggling."

Defensively, the Raiders limited the AFC's leading rusher, Jamaal Charles, to 10 yards on nine carries. Charles came into the game with 1,220 rushing yards and averaging 5.1 yards per carry but in two games against the Raiders, he had a mere 14 yards on 14 carries…total.

"Not too many holes today," offered Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.

"It's easy to say, hard to do," said Raiders defensive end Andre Carter. "But we were on point."

The Chiefs entered with the No. 5 rushing attack in the NFL, but the 10 yards they gained on the ground equaled a Raiders single-game franchise low, set on Dec. 10, 2000, against the New York Jets.

Plus, the Raiders had a season-high four sacks of Brady Quinn, with one each from linebacker Philip Wheeler, defensive tackles Tommy Kelly and Desmond Bryant and Carter.

The Chiefs did not get a first down until the 5:30 mark of the third quarter.

And the Black Hole even got into the action when, with 2:36 to play in the third, and the Chiefs at the Raiders' 4-yard line, Quinn was called for a delay of game penalty.

"He couldn't hear me, obviously," Quinn said of his center. "It's loud down there."

Kansas City was 1 for 12 on third down, 0 for 3 on fourth down.

"We smelled blood," said linebacker Philip Wheeler.

Indeed, the last time the Raiders shut anyone out came on Dec. 28, 2002…against the Chiefs.

"It definitely felt great," said strong safety Tyvon Branch. "It's our last home game, we had to make a statement and tell our fans we're still playing hard. We're still playing with that same passion."

It showed up down in the trenches.

"To get that goose egg on the board," said defensive end Lamarr Houston, "it's the best feeling in the world."

Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'


Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'

Jon Gruden has been interviewed several times since becoming Raiders head coach. Quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t listened to most of those sessions, and certainly doesn’t seek them out.

One landed in Carr’s inbox recently, and something Gruden said really resonated.

Gruden’s message, paraphrased: If Derek Carr is not successful, then I’ve failed as a coach.

There are two comments in that one. Gruden considers Carr extremely talented, and he’s taking responsibility for unlocking the quarterback's vast potential.

Gruden will be hands on in Carr’s development, with all the coaching intensity and fire and eyebrow raises that have become Gruden’s signature.

“He’s going to demand of me. He’s going to push me,” Carr said on this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast, which will drop Tuesday morning (Subcribe right here). “He’s going to make me be the best version of myself.”

Carr had a direct answer to skeptics wondering aloud whether he can thrive under Gruden’s particular coaching style.

“I want him to be tough on me,” Carr said. “For anyone who thinks I want him to be a different way has no clue about me or how I play football or how I prepare to play this game. I don’t need to tell stories about how I prepare or manage myself.

“(Jon) and I are going to get along great. I hope that he demands of me. I hope he’s hard on me. I don’t need to know he loves me. He has already told me that about 20 times. I appreciate that and we’ll be friends forever, but I know he’ll be demanding and tell me what I need to do. Let’s go fix problems that I have and let’s do what I need to do to win championships. Hopefully that will give people some insight and hopefully that’s the story that gets out, because that’s the truth.”

Carr met his new head coach briefly before his introductory press conference, but has known Gruden since filming the Gruden QB Camp segment back in 2014. They got along great then, and in each interaction since.

“We have so much more in common that people realize,” Carr said. “I think it would blow some people’s minds. Him and I are very similar in the way we go about our business and how we carry ourselves. It’s an exciting time.”

Carr’s excited to have some stability in his football life. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback will start his fifth NFL season with his fourth head coach, fourth go-round with an offensive coordinator and third offensive scheme. Gruden signed a 10-year contract. OC Greg Olson signed a four-year pact. They’ll be here a while, and Carr’s excited about that.

“It’s going to be really nice,” Carr said. “To know Jon signed on for a 10 years and (Olson) signed on for a long time shows me a couple of things. No. 1: that they believe in me. I don’t think Coach Gruden would’ve quit his day job, which I’m thankful he did. To get (Olson) out of a good spot in L.A (with the Rams), shows that they believe in me and that’s awesome. And, No. 2: I’m going to have two people I can talk to in a different language for years to come. We can grow within the relationship, and hopefully we’ll all ride off together. It’s set up that way right now, and we have a lot of work to do to reach that point.”

Raiders QB Derek Carr named to third straight Pro Bowl


Raiders QB Derek Carr named to third straight Pro Bowl

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is headed to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He became eligible once New England qualified for the Super Bowl and Tom Brady was out of the running for next week’s NFL all-star game in Orlando.

Carr was the next alternate up, and accepted the invitation to represent the Silver and Black. Khalil Mack, Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn were named to the original roster, though Penn has bowed out with injury.

Carr will join his teammates in Florida for game-week festivities, followed by the inter-conference clash on Sunday at noon at Camping World Stadium. The game can be seen on ABC.

He joins Rich Gannon and Ken Stabler as Raiders quarterbacks with at least three Pro Bowl selections. Carr had a down year relative to his previous two, but still posted standout numbers. He had 3,496 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and an 86.4 passer rating.

The Raiders finished a disappointing 6-10, and head coach Jack Del Rio was fired in favor of Jon Gruden.

“It was not the year we wanted, but to still be recognized by you, Raider Nation and fans everywhere, and the players and coaches you go against is an extremely high honor I will always be thankful for!” Carr wrote in a note posted on Twitter. “Although I am extremely blessed to be thought of in such a way by my peers, I understand there is more work to do. There is more to achieve and more to accomplish and I will now ret until we get there, Raider Nation!”