Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' Week 3 win over Browns
Just win, baby
The Raiders snapped an 11-game road losing streak on Sunday with a 27-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. They won a morning game in the Eastern Time Zone for the first time since 2009, and combined long stretches of quality play on both sides of the football. The Raiders are making strides, bucking unwelcome traditions at every turn and finding ways to win games they would’ve lost in recent years...
5) Tight end problems continue
An opposing tight end set a career high in receiving yards for the third time in as many weeks on Sunday, as unheralded Gary Barnidge totaled 105 yards and a touchdowns on six catches. The Raiders are struggling to cover tight ends, including safety Charles Woodson. They can’t find the right coverage combination to slow this position group down, and it’s causing major problems in each game.
4) Carr works downfield
One of the few knocks on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s rookie season was that he wasn’t working the ball downfield enough. It’s amazing what a few weapons will do. Carr hasn’t been perfect with his accuracy and there are big plays left unmade, but he has helped receivers take yards in big chunks in his second season. Carr averaged 9.8 yards per pass attempt against Cleveland, with six completions over 15 yards. Amari Cooper in particular is a home-run threat even against top competition, and Carr has consistently put the rookie in position to make big plays.
3) Run game finds top gear
The Raiders have been efficient on the ground, though that offensive aspect was under-utilized over the first two games. On Sunday, feature back Latavius Murray got the carries to make a big impact. He averaged 5.3 yards per rush, totaling 139 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. The third-year pro has shown great vision and patience before slashing his way to big gains. If he can stay healthy with an increased workload, a big season could be in store for No. 28.
2) QB pressure sparks defense
The Raiders pass defense looked a lot better because the defensive front got consistent pressure on the quarterback. A team without a sack entering Sunday had five against the Browns, including two sacks and a forced fumble by Khalil Mack. He and Aldon Smith spent significant time in the opposing backfield, typically rushing from a stand-up position as edge rushers. When the quarterback doesn’t have much time, the secondary looks a whole lot better.
1) Raiders find a way to win
After such a dominant first-half performance, the Raiders should’ve cruised to victory. They were up three scores in the fourth quarter, yet the Browns had an opportunity to tie it late until Charles Woodson’s interception ended that comeback attempt. The Raiders found a way to win for a second straight week, claiming a close victory in a game they would’ve lost in recent years. This franchise never learned how to win. Maybe head coach Jack Del Rio is teaching them now.