Raiders' Run DMC continues evolution


Raiders' Run DMC continues evolution

OAKLAND -- The evolution of Darren McFadden continued in the Raiders' 34-24 defeat of the New York Jets on Sunday.Not only did McFadden rush for a career-high 171 yards, eclipsing the 165 yards he had in Denver last season, he also broke off a career-long 70-yard touchdown run while catching three passes."McFadden is always a threat to anybody's defense," Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "He's a great player. He crushed us today."And then some.

McFadden averaged 9.0 yards per carry, and even if you take away his 70-yard burst, made possible first by a corner-sealing block by tight end Kevin Boss then by a pair of downfield blocks by receivers Derek Hagan and Chaz Schilens, he still averaged 5.6 yards per carry.He was only the fourth running back to go over 100 yards against the Rex Ryan-led Jetsand McFadden did it before halftime."First I have to give credit to the offensive line," McFadden said. "They did a great job out there making blocks and opening holes for me. You know I just hit them running using my speed to do what I have to do, and they made great blocks for me, so all I had to do was hit the hole running."On one play in the third quarter, he was supposed to pass to quarterback Jason Campbell running down the left sideline after taking an inside handoff off a shotgun snap, but thought better and tucked the ball and ran for 23 yards, though he pump-faked as he scooted on by the Jets defense.Late in the game, he was replaced by Michael Bush in the backfield as coach Hue Jackson said McFadden strained his groin."It wasn't strained," McFadden insisted. "It was just getting tight. I felt like we had a pretty good job running. We have another great running back in Michael Bush. You know, there wasn't any point to try to go out there and try to stress it anymore."He had already stressed out the Jets enough. McFadden's 171 rushing yards are the ninth-most in franchise history."He's the best in football, bar none," Jackson said. "Bar none."He's the Boss? -- Tight end Kevin Boss made his Raiders debut and his left knee seemed just fine, thank you very much.Boss, out of action since taking a helmet to the knee in the Raiders' exhibition against the 49ers on Aug. 20, caught a pair of passes for 36 yards, including the clutch 28-yarder in the first quarter that got Oakland to the New York 2-yard line."It felt amazing to get back out there," Boss said. "I haven't played in a couple weeks, and I was just champing at the bit to get out there. It was a huge win for our team and I really enjoyed it."Boss also had the initial block to spring McFadden in his record 70-yard TD run.Raising the bar -- The Raiders are 2-1 for the first time since 2004, when Norv Turner was the head coach and Stanford Routt was still in college at Houston."We're 2-1 right now, should be 3-0," Routt said. "I'm not sure how the other teams in the AFC West fared today or whatever, but I know that right now we're at the very least we're tied at the top of the division and we've got to stay there. It was obviously a good win. The Jets have been in the playoffs, the AFC title game the last two years, so clearly they're a good team. It's a win, that's the main thing."Selling out --The announced crowd of 61,546 was the largest for a home game since the 2009 season opener against San Diego on Monday Night Football, 61,940."Oh, it was an awesome atmosphere today," rookie left guard Stephen Wisniewski said. "The crowd was so into it. They were so loud we got a couple of procedure penalties for the Jets there. They couldn't hear. You feed off that energy as a player and after starting the first two on the road, you really notice that it's really a lot more fun and a lot easier to play at home, where you can hear each other."Injury report --Raiders that did not finish the game: free safety Michael Huff (concussion), fullback Marcel Reece (ankle), cornerback Chris Johnson (groin). Other injuries to report: McFadden (groin), defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder) and linebacker Quentin Groves (quad).

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'


Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

Running back Marshawn Lynch formally appealed his one-game suspension on Monday afternoon.

The Raiders hope to hear a ruling by Tuesday.

“I think we expect to hear something early in the week, hopefully by tomorrow,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a Monday press conference. “(It) would be the fairest thing so that the team can prepare.”

That’s the expectation, according to an ESPN report. The Raiders should know by Tuesday whether Lynch’s suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct will stand.

The suspension stems from a Thursday night incident where he left the sidelines to join an on-field fracas involving Raiders offensive linemen and Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters. The third-year pro was penalized for a late hit on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr his linemen didn’t take kindly.

Peters and Lynch are extremely close friends and Oakland natives, and Lynch instinctively went out to protect someone he views as family. He inadvertently grabbed an official by the jersey and let go shortly after. He was flagged and ejected by rule.

He missed most of Thursday’s 31-30 victory over the Chiefs, and the NFL suspended him one game without pay on Friday. That could cost Lynch a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

ESPN reports that Peters by phone spoke at Lynch’s appeal hearing, where the running back’s team also cited precedent of others contacting an official without getting suspended. Leaving the sideline, however, may not help his appeal.

Del Rio said he hadn’t spoken with Lynch since the ejection.

“I said the other night I was disappointed that we had a player leave the bench,” Del Rio said. “It’s something we talk about – don’t leave the bench area.”

The Raiders ran with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington after Lynch’s ejection, and combined for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The pair with shoulder a rushing load Sunday at Buffalo if Lynch is unavailable.

“They don’t have the size and the power but they have a little more quickness, they catch the ball a little easier, better route-runners, things like so,” Del Rio said. “So, if you’re playing a little more wide open, in some respects they give you a little more juice. Marshawn give you the power back when you want to finish people and in tough situations. Those guys give you more than a change of pace.”


Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs


Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

Raiders receiver Amari Cooper has been creating steady separation for a few weeks now. That didn’t break him out of a prolonged slump.

Coaches were impressed by Cooper’s route running in a Week 5 loss to Baltimore. It only earned two targets and an eight-yard catch. They tried to find No. 89 more often in a Week 6 loss to the L.A. Chargers, though six targets generated five short catches for 28 yards.

Low production stretched through a four-game losing streak, with nine catches for 51 yards. Including stats from to early wins, Coopers season stats (18 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown) were worse than nearly 200 others.

Even that astonishment didn’t make Cooper demand the gosh darn football, please. The low-key Cooper attitude: The ball will find me.

It finally did in Thursday night’s 31-30 victory over Kansas City. Several times in fact.

Cooper had 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted 19 times. Nineteen. That’s no coincidence.

They moved him around, including significant snaps in the slot. He was targeted 11 times from that position, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and produced six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

They schemed opportunities and quarterback Derek Carr used them to create big plays early.

Carr’s first pass went 12-yards to Cooper. His third was a 38-yard touchdown strike. His seventh was an in-stride delivery that Cooper took across and then up the field for a 45-yard score.

Just like that, Cooper was off and running for the first time this year.

“We put him in positions to make plays, obviously,” Carr said. “We knew that there were certain things that we liked. Nothing changed in his demeanor or his mentality or the way he worked or anything like that. We just stayed the course. We know what we have here and we know that if we just stay the course and work and grind through the tough times.

“…For ‘Coop’ to just continue to grind and get on the other side of it, I just felt good for him. You guys know Amari. I think we all felt good for him.”

Cooper said the early explosive touches provided confidence. Ability produced a signature performance. The Alabama product is excellent extending production with his legs, and had 78 of his yards come after the catch. That’s an average of 7.1 yards after the catch per reception, per PFF.

His second touchdown reached him 15 yards downfield, and he hit the jets and reached the end zone. He turned a short catch into 15 crucial yards to start the game-winning two-minute drill, and later high pointed a 39-yard receptions.

“The way he finished after the catch was really special,” Carr said. “Obviously, we all know he can go up and get a ball and all those things. That second touchdown where he cam across, the burst that he had, that’s freakish. Not a lot of guys have that. To turn the jets on like that and just out run the angles of the defense, that was really special. I think just after the catch he just played with some dog in him, which we know he has. We were able to get him the ball and let him shine and do what he does.”

Cooper’s showcase was vital to a huge victory that kept his team in the hunt. It also ended a rough month where Cooper and the Raiders both struggled. Veteran running mate Michael Crabtree was never concerned with the downturn and told the young receiver to stay the course during tough times.

“(I told him), ‘Just be you,’” Crabtree said. “It’s just about everything coming together. Coop’s a fighter, man. Coop has got skills. I don’t worry about Coop and I’m sure he doesn’t worry about me. That’s why we are so good together.”