Amari Cooper

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.

Amari Cooper won't let slump frustrate him: 'The ball will find me'

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AP

Amari Cooper won't let slump frustrate him: 'The ball will find me'

ALAMEDA – Amari Cooper’s primary job is getting open, creating separation from those charged to blanket his every move. The Raiders receiver is reliant on another for everything after.

He can’t pass the ball to himself. He has to look open to do his job. After that, he needs targets and opportunity.

Cooper was open plenty against Baltimore. The ball still didn’t come his way. He had one eight-yard catch on two targets in that Ravens loss, but game tape showed Cooper was doing his job.

"I saw five or six times he was wide open, when he shook his guy and was open in space,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I would have loved to see that ball get delivered to him there. Not every play is designed to go to him. You can’t see everybody at one time. Sometimes you start with your read somewhere else and you don’t make it back for whatever reason. He was doing his part to create space and opportunity for the quarterback. We just missed him a couple of times.”

The Raiders must find Cooper. Right now, he’s lost.

The third-year pro would like to be found, especially after seven drops in the season’s first three weeks. Cooper isn’t one to demand the ball. We can do that for him. Cooper needs another chance. Several of them, in fact. He’s the Raiders’ most talented skill player, with elite routes run and an ability to earn big yards after the catch.

Most receivers would start screaming those facts to the press. That just isn’t Cooper style.

“I’m just going to keep being me,” Cooper said. “I’m just going to keep doing me and stay true to who I am. The ball will find me.”

That’s imperative, considering Cooper’s stats the season. He has 13 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. That’s in five games. Cooper has exceeded that sum in seven individual games. His production has been topped by 128 receivers, including three guys on his own team. That shouldn’t happen to a No. 1 receiver. Cooper’s the poster child for an offense struggling to do anything well. There’s plenty of talent, precious little production.

“He has run some really good routes, to be honest. He’s run some good routes,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “He has obviously put some on the ground that he’s wanted back. I’ve missed him a couple of times.

“I think everyone on our team is a little frustrated at something. That’s just one thing. The frustration, that part of it is what we have to get rid of. We just have to go out and let it loose. I don’t think there’s one thing where it’s like, hey, it’s this or it’s that that leads to that. I think if we can go out there and cut it loose and just trust what we have and what God gave us, I think we’ll be better going forward.”

Instant Analysis: Raiders can't overcome early deficit, lose third straight

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Raiders can't overcome early deficit, lose third straight

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – This Raiders season started so well. The first two games went according to plan, easy victories that supported 2017’s lofty expectations.

Then the wheels came off. The Raiders got beat soundly by Washington. They couldn’t keep pace with Denver. And then got owned by the Baltimore Ravens at home.

Sunday’s 30-17 result had little to do with quarterback Derek Carr being sidelined with a bad back. EJ Manuel played well enough.

The Raiders defense got beat time and again on third down, and rarely kept the Ravens off the scoreboard.

The Silver and Black are below .500 following a three-game losing streak that has changed the course of season’s first half.

Sunday’s game was a ‘W’ on paper, especially after Baltimore got beat soundly the past two weeks. It didn’t play out that way.

The Raiders fell down two scores in a flash, and never recovered.

Joe Flacco hit Mike Wallace on a 52-yard bomb to start the game and never looked back. The Ravens scored on their opening possession and the Raiders’ first drive, thanks to a Jared Cook fumble recovered by Jimmy Smith and returned 46 yards for a touchdown.

Baltimore scored on defense and its first three possessions to take a commanding 24-10 halftime lead.

The Raiders’ lone first-half highlight came on a broken play. Manuel bought time in the pocket and threw a 41-yard touchdown strike to Michael Crabtree. That cut the Ravens lead to 21-10.

Baltimore’s offense made it tough to catch up, with one scoring drive after another.

That didn’t stop the Raiders from trying. The deficit dipped to one score late in the third quarter with a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run. Manuel made that drive happen with two key third-down conversions using his legs.

The Ravens re-established their two-score lead with a field goal on the following drive.

The Raiders never got close, and lost their third straight contest.

Smith gets beat (early and often): The Raiders were down David Amerson and Gareon Conley heading into this one, leaving Sean Smith in a vital role at outside cornerback. He has proven vulnerable to speed in the past, and the Ravens capitalized on it. Mike Wallace beat Smith deep twice in the first half on drives that became Ravens touchdowns.

The Raiders couldn’t adjust much with so few defensive backs available, putting them at risk most of the day.

Cooper’s slump continues: Amari Cooper’s unproductive run continued against the Ravens. He had one catch for eight yards in this one, the fourth-straight poor performance by the two-time Pro Bowler.

Carr a no-go: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr pushed to be available for Sunday’s game despite suffering a transverse process fracture the week before, but was ultimately ruled inactive as expected.

He should be back in time to play the Los Angeles Chargers next week.

Raiders shift to Manuel: EJ Manuel started in Derek Carr’s place Sunday afternoon, and wasn’t half bad. Buoyed by a strong running game, he was able to connect on some passes and finished 13-of-26 passing for 159 yards and one touchdown.