Raiders

Stanford's 'Moose' clearing lanes

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Stanford's 'Moose' clearing lanes

PALO ALTO -- Has there ever been a more appropriate nickname for an offensive lineman than Moose? It leaves little to no room for interpretation about size or demeanor.

And except for the fact that Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin is extremely articulate -- and lacks antlers -- the nickname fits him as snugly as his shoulder pads.

Thats how he introduced himself to me (the first time I met him), joked quarterback Andrew Luck -- whose blindside is protected by the 6-foot-6, 304-pound Martin.

Martin was crowned with the moniker when he was in fifth grade. He was too big to play Pop Warner football in California, so during a flag football game, one of his teammates first called him Moose.

I guess I was mauling people, Martin said. It stuck since then.

It's how he still introduces himself -- though not to his professors.

"I'm more comfortable with Jon or Jonathan Martin in an academic setting," he said.

So when his name is called in the first round of the NFL draft -- probably not too long after the guy hes protecting -- chances are it will be Jon or Jonathan.

He has natural tools, said head coach David Shaw. An old coach once told me you have to find the guy that can do the things that you cant teach. And you cant teach a guy to be 6-5, 304-pounds and be athletic. And thats what he is.

Hes long. Hes got long arms. Hes tall, but hes flexible. He can kick and punch, and a lot of the publicity hes gotten is from NFL draft rankings, because he looks like an NFL tackle. Guys like that dont come around very often to be able to do the things he can do.

Its tough to statistically quantify the progress of an offensive line or lineman. But there are a few telltale signs. For example Stanford has increased its rushing total every week, from 141 yards against San Jose State to 205 against Duke to 242 against Arizona. Luck has only been sacked twice (though one was him running out of bounds). Those are pretty good figures.

Hes a tireless worker, Luck said of Martin. He takes a lot of pride in being consistent and using the right technique he sets such a great standard for the younger guys. Hes very meticulous, which I appreciate, obviously.

(The offensive line has) done a great job. They are still hungry they take pride in the fact that they want to be a physical group.

Martin started in 27 of the past 29 games since redshirting in 2008. He said he still needs some work on his pass protection (Luck would disagree), but he might be the best run blocker in this years draft class.

I really like those drives at the end of games when you get to run the ball for 10 straight plays, Martin said. Its a pretty gratifying feeling."

Shaw has asked Martin to do more than just protect the presumptive top pick in the NFL draft. With three starters from the offensive line graduating last season, Martin and David DeCastro became the veterans of the line. Tackle Cameron Fleming, center Sam Schwartzstein and guard David Yankey had never started a college football gamed prior to the season opener. And if the group was going to meet their coaches expectations, Martin and DeCastro were going to have to whip them into shape.

The roles those two guys played were so vital, Shaw said. Its one thing when the coaches demand it of a young player. Its an entirely different deal when the veteran players, the guys they see in the locker room, in the weight room, and in the training room demand it of them also. There is no soft place to land when you dont do it right. And thats a good thing. David and Jon have been very vocal in their expectations about how the line should play. And each game its getting better.

The younger players speak highly of Martin, calling him, among other things, an impressive leader. Hes made it an emphasis that as a line and a team, he wont accept anything but their best effort. Martin arrived at Stanford in the midst of the culture change and has seen firsthand the strides the program has made. His hope is that he leaves it in better shape than when he first arrived.

We want to win. We expect to win, Martin said. Thats where the standard has been set. Before, it was just to get to a bowl game. Now we have higher aspirations to win the Pac-12. Its been a fun process to be a part of.

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 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.