Raiders midseason report: Offense


Raiders midseason report: Offense

First-half storyline: The goal coming out of training camp was easy to see -- build a bully on offense with a dominant running game in Darren McFadden and Michael Bush and take shots downfield with Jason Campbell and the speedy, young wideouts. For much of the first half of the season, the Raiders led the NFL in rushing, and with Campbell barely being touched thanks to an improved offensive line, he was managing the game with aplomb. Then came Scott Fujita to snap Campbell's collarbone. And the injury bug to take a bite out of McFadden's right foot. The trade to acquire Carson Palmer and the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh may actually be necessary moves that have upgraded the roster, but they also might have upset the delicate locker room chemistry. Midway through the season, the Raiders are a team in transition, especially on offense. If it seems like the offense is going through camp again, that's because it is.

MVP: McFadden. Entering Week 7, McFadden was the NFL's leading rusher, with 610 yards. But after badly spraining his right foot on the Raiders' first series against Kansas City, sitting out the bye week and not playing against Denver, he ranks 11th. The Raiders have also dropped those two games in his absence. No disrespect to Bush, but Palmer not having the hybrid threat that is McFadden in his backfield limits his options and stalls his development in Oakland. Especially since McFadden has nine runs of 20 yards or longer -- he had 14 such bursts in 2010 -- and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry.Biggest surprise: Darrius Heyward-Bey was having a breakthrough year, leading the team in receiving with 27 catches for 434 yards and a touchdown. Both figures are already season highs for DHB. Still, he saw limited time against Denver and was targeted only once.Biggest disappointment: With McFadden and Bush already in the backfield, touches were going to be rare for Taiwan Jones so this might be unfair for the rookie. But he has not taken advantage of his limited opportunities to showcase his world-class speed to keep defenses honest.Best play: No disrespect to Campbell, but Palmer's 40-yard TD pass to Marcel Reece down the middle of the field late in the second quarter against Denver was a throw the former Raiders QB would not have made. Few NFL quarterbacks could have accomplished it, actually. Palmer threaded the needle with the throw, putting it where only Reece, with a linebacker draped all over him, could have caught it.Worst play: Having already given Kansas City a look at Michael Bush setting up in the Wildcat with an empty backfield on 4th-and-goal at the Chiefs' 1-yard line early in the second quarter, coach Hue Jackson stayed with the same play after calling a timeout. Bush was stuffed for no gain. So rather than pulling within 14-7 to potentially alter the rest of the game, Oakland endured a 28-0 shutout loss.Key to the second half: Palmer getting more comfortable with his receivers' tendencies, and the offensive line reclaiming the continuity that carried it through the first six games.

What they're saying: NFL players speak out after Marshawn Lynch's ejection


What they're saying: NFL players speak out after Marshawn Lynch's ejection

With 6:05 seconds left in the first half of Thursday night's Chiefs vs Raiders contest, things took a wild turn. 

The Raiders and Chiefs found themselves in a scuffle after it appeared Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters hit Raiders quarterback Derek Carr late. Marshawn Lynch then sprinted off the sidelines. 

Lynch looked to get in the middle of the situation and get his good friend and Oakland native Peters out of the way. But while doing so, Lynch pushed an offical and was ejected from the game. 

Several NFL players then took to Twitter. 

Instant Analysis: In wild fashion, Raiders end losing streak with no time left


Instant Analysis: In wild fashion, Raiders end losing streak with no time left


OAKLAND – The Raiders were desperate for a win and played like it.

The offense woke from the dead. The defense showed energy and life.

Had they played like this recently, they would’ve been far better than 2-4. But they got what they earned, as head coach Jack Del Rio likes to say, and faced a virtual must win against the AFC’s finest.

It would take a Herculean effort from quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders got that. He was nothing short of awesome.

The Chiefs don’t roll over for anyone. Some 2016 magic was required.

They got some, and plenty of it.

The Raiders beat Kansas City 31-30. Carr to Crabtree on an untimed down. And it kept their season alive.

They were so close to 2-5. They walked off the field 3-4, re-energized and in far better shape to face the rest of their season.

That result was earned with an excellent two-minute drill that featured some big moments, including a 39-yard catch and run by Amari Cooper. That was topped a short while later by a 13-yard pass to Jared Cook on 4th-and-11.

The Raiders worked it down to the 1-yard line on a 29-yard strike to Jared Cook. It was called a touchdown on the field, but ruled short of the goal line. That caused a 10-second runoff – Cook was in bounds -- that left eight seconds on the clock. Then Michael Crabtree pushed off. They the Chiefs were called for defensive holding, resulting in one untimed down. Holding gave the Raiders another.

That’s when Carr found Michael Crabtree for a game-tying touchdown. Girgio Tavecchio’s extra point won it.

The Raiders were down nine points to start the fourth quarter, but Tavecchio’s 26-yard field goal a few minutes in made it a one-score game.

The defense got a stop with six minutes left, and gave the offense a chance to win it.

The Raiders went three and out.

So did the Chiefs, courtesy of solid run defense and a Denico Autry/Khalil Mack sack.

The Silver and Black regained possession with 2:25 left and a timeout remaining.

You already know what happened next.

The Raiders offense came back to life Thursday night. Quarterback Derek Carr paced a frenzied attack, as you’d expect, sparked by deep plays missing in recent weeks.

Carr’s rare combination of zip and touch was back on display. He was nothing short of awesome, completing 29-of-52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns, in his best game of the season.

Previously slumping receiver Amari Cooper was active early, with touchdown catches on his team’s first two drives.

The home team’s total was hindered by a pair of missed field goals, though yards came in bunches all night.

Even so, it proved tough to compete with Kansas City’s high-powered offense. The Raiders defense created pressure and did some nice things, but gave up too many explosive plays on the night.

Smith hit speedster Tyreek Hill on a 64-yard catch and run for touchdown to cap a three-play, 99-yard drive. Albert Wilson scored from 63 yards out, thanks to a ball tipped back by Keith McGill – it should’ve been intercepted – that went right to Wilson for an easy score.

Welcome back, Amari: Top Raiders receiver Amari Cooper broke out of a prolonged slump with a dynamite performance. He had two huge catches early in the game, and finished with 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He also drew a pass interference inside the Kansas City 5-yard line that set up another score.

Report: Penn and Crabtree argue on sideline: Raiders left tackle Donald Penn and receiver Michael Crabtree got into a shoving match on the sideline, according to CBS on-field reporter Tracy Wolfson.

Wolfson said offensive line coach Mike Tice had to break up the exchange. It’s uncertain why the incident began.

Marshawn gets ejected: Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch got ejected for making contact with an official in the second quarter. He came in from the sideline to protect Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters, who was being confronted for a late hit on quarterback Derek Carr.

Lynch tried to get in the middle of teammates and his good friend and Oakland native, and ended up pushing an official. He will get fined and possibly suspended for the act.