Raiders

RGIII dazzles in debut, leads Skins past Saints

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RGIII dazzles in debut, leads Skins past Saints

From Comcast SportsNet

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Robert Griffin III brought his Heisman Trophy swagger to New Orleans and made his NFL debut look like a Big Easy.

Showing a veteran's composure by scrambling only when necessary, the dynamic Redskins rookie quarterback tormented New Orleans' defense with 320 yards passing and two touchdowns, and Washington held on for 40-32 victory over the Saints on Sunday.

"You can win a high school state championship and a bowl game in college, but to play in the NFL, the pinnacle of it all, and win your first game against a Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, it's at the top," Griffin said while cradling the game ball he had just been given. "After the game, (Brees) told me he was proud of me. That's big for him to say after he just lost the game."

New Orleans hoped to open the season with a defiant show of force in the wake of the bounty scandal that overshadowed its offseason. The Saints also got a boost Friday when a three-member appeals panel reinstated defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jon Vilma, who had been suspended for their roles in the Saints' alleged pay-for-pain bounty program.

Smith started, while Vilma, deemed unfit to play after offseason knee surgery, received a rousing ovation when he walked onto the field to lead the Saints' traditional pregame "Who-dat" chant.

Instead of riding that emotional high, the Saints spent much of the game trying to keep up with a Redskins offense powered by youth. Opening with several short, quick throws, Griffin completed his first eight passes. His seventh pass, released just before he was leveled on by blitzing safety Malcolm Jenkins, hit Pierre Garcon in stride over the middle for an 88-yard touchdown, tying the second-longest scoring pass by a quarterback making his NFL debut.

"It's great for any quarterback to get a couple of easy passes at the beginning of a game so you can get into a rhythm," Griffin said. "They were giving us those looks and I took advantage of them."

Griffin finished 19 of 26 with no interceptions and a passer rating of 139.9. He also scrambled for 42 yards.

"Robert did an unbelievable job to play the way that he did in his first game in the National Football League," said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, marveling at "the poise that he played with and some of the throws that he made."

Rookie Alfred Morris rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Aldrick Robinson, a second-year pro making his NFL regular-season debut, had a 5-yard touchdown catch among four receptions for 52 yards.

Brees quickly dismissed the idea that disruptions from the bounty probe, which resulted in a season-long suspension for coach and offensive mastermind Sean Payton, was to blame for New Orleans shaky start.

"Not at all. It's the NFL. You better bring it every week," Brees said. "We knew the type of team they were. We knew the type of defense they were. They just came in and played better than we did, made fewer mistakes than we did, made more plays than we did."

In fact, Brees' expectations for what remains of the season hardly seemed diminished.

"We lost the first game of year last year and finished 13-3," Brees said. "So there's no doubt that we can do it and we have the mentality and the guys to do it."

The Saints pulled to 40-32 on Darren Sproles' 2-yard reception. But when Washington required a first down to all but put the game away, Griffin delivered a 22-yard strike to tight end Logan Paulsen.

After that, the Redskins ran the clock down to 22 seconds before the Saints got the ball back. Brees desperation pass was intercepted by Reed Doughty near the Redskins' goal line as time ran out.

That marked the second interception for Brees, who in 2011 completed a single-season record 71.2 percent of his passes, but managed to hit on only 46 percent (24 of 52) against Washington.

"That makes you angry," Brees said, raising his eyebrows and shaking his head as he talked about completing less than half of his passes. "We're better than that and we're going to be better than that."

Brees still finished with 339 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring passes of 33 yards to Lance Moore and 20 yards to Jimmy Graham. That might have been enough if not for Griffin, the former Baylor star selected second overall in the draft.

The Texas native, whose family is from New Orleans, had been to Saints games in the dome before and seemed unfazed by the noise.

In the second quarter, he danced out of the pocket to avoid pass rushers before rifling a pass across the field to tight end Fred Davis for a 26-yard gain. He punctuated another scramble with a 27-yard pass to Santana Moss, setting up Billy Cundiff's second field goal, which made it 20-7.

Griffin finished the first half with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, the first time a rookie had done so with 10 or more attempts.

Still, the Saints got back within one touchdown before halftime.

Marques Colston fumbled a reception inside the Redskins 5 and the ball squirted out of the end zone for a touchback. But Martez Wilson blocked Sav Rocca's punt and Courtney Roby scooped up the ball for a touchdown to make it 20-14.

Washington responded, aided by a pass interference call against safety Roman Harper on a long pass into the end zone. The Saints vigorously disputed the call with the replacement officials, but to no avail.

Morris scored easily from the 1.

The Saints might not have been pleased with the officials, but it was mostly their own mistakes that cost them -- penalized 12 times for 107 yards.

"Today the difference was penalties," said Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer. "It was third-and-long way too many times."

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

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AP

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

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USATSI

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

BOX SCORE

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.