Denver Broncos

Three things you need to know after the Raiders' 16-10 loss to Denver

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USATSI

Three things you need to know after the Raiders' 16-10 loss to Denver

DENVER – Here are three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 16-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday:

1. Third-down woes continue: The Raiders were absolutely an awful 0-for-11 on third down in last week’s loss to Washington. That issue didn’t get fixed. They struggled mightily again in Denver, which halted offensive flow for a second straight game.

The Raiders were 2-for-12 against Denver, a major reason why this potent offense only scored 10 points.

“We need those third downs to keep the drive going,” left tackle Donald Penn said. “It’s hurting us that we’re not able to complete those third downs. We’ve got to start doing better on first and second down to make it more manageable situations. I think that might help. We’ve got a lot work ahead of us.”

Quarterback Derek Carr doesn’t think the offense is far away from getting their third-down issues fixed.

“You have to keep grinding and keep working it,” he said. “We can’t stress out. The little details are what we’re lacking. Some things that are incomplete or missed opportunities, but we’re not far away from making big, big plays. That’s the frustrating part.”

2. Raiders can’t run: The Raiders running game has been stuck in neutral the past two weeks. The NFL’s best run defense made them look especially bad, allowing just 24 yards on 15 carries.

That’s a 1.6-yard average, which makes the Raiders offense predictable late in games. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t done much lately, and had just 12 yards on nine carries. He had six carries for 18 yards last week, struggling to find open space on the inside. They couldn’t muster a yard on a key 4th-down-and-1, turning the ball over on downs at a critical juncture.

“We have to run and pass better,” Carr said. “We have a big O-line and good running backs. We want to be able to run the football better, because it does take stress off the passing game. That’s important when you’re playing a defense like this. They’re as good as they come.”

3. Pass rush picks up: The Raiders were effective getting after the quarterback, with four sacks against Trevor Siemian. Khalil Mack had two, Mario Edwards had one and Bruce Irvin had another.

That’s a positive development for a defense that needs production from the front four. Edwards Jr. has been particularly good this season, with three sacks in four games.

Early Pro Football Focus numbers, which often change in the day after a game, state the Raiders also created 15 other pressures on the day. That helped a coverage unit working without Gareon Conley, one that lost David Amerson to a concussion during the game.

“Everybody’s starting to get their mojo,” Edwards Jr. said. “It’s the fourth game of the season, and everybody has shaken off the cobwebs. We’re coming into our own.”

Raiders will miss Crabtree, Conley vs Broncos

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AP

Raiders will miss Crabtree, Conley vs Broncos

DENVER -- The Raiders included three players on the injury report for Sunday's AFC West opener against Denver. There were some big names among them. None of them will play. 

Receiver Michael Crabtree and cornerback Gareon Conley were rendered inactive against the Broncos, leaving the Raiders thin and vulnerable at two spots. Keith McGill's also out with injury, which hurts coverage in the kicking game. 

Crabtree's absence is a big deal. He was limited in two practices and missed Friday's walk-through, which raised red flags. He suffered a chest injury at Washington, and wasn't able to recover in time to exact revenge against Aqib Talib. The Denver cover man ripped Crabtree's chain off during last year's regular-season finale for no apparent reason, creating some buzz around Sunday's rematch. 

Conley is still dealing with a shin injury that has plagued him since June. His practice activity decreased this week, suggesting he might not be ready to go. That leaves Sean Smith in a vital role a week after he played just three defensive snaps and got torched by Washington tight end Vernon Davis. He should be the third cornerback behind starters TJ Carrie and David Amerson. 

Whether or not Crabtree plays, Talib 'ain't worried about Crab-boy's chain'

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AP

Whether or not Crabtree plays, Talib 'ain't worried about Crab-boy's chain'

ALAMEDA – Michael Crabtree was a limited participant most of this practice week. Then the Raiders’ leading receiver missed Friday’s walk-through session. A red flag went up.

Was there a set back in a chest injury suffered in Sunday’s loss at Washington? Might that impact his chances of playing the upcoming contest at Denver?

Coach Jack Del Rio, do you want to get into that?

“No. I don’t want to get into it.”

Del Rio always takes a hard pass regarding injuries, especially so close to game day. Crabtree’s officially questionable on the team’s injury report, which means a juicy matchup might not happen.

Crabtree doesn’t much like Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. Denver’s All-Pro cover man ripped a gold chain straight off Crabtree’s neck in last year’s regular-season finale. The action was unprompted, and done with malice.

Crabtree was pissed, but didn’t retaliate for a few reasons. A win in Denver would’ve won the AFC West, and he was super close to 1,000 receiving yards (and the bonus that came with it). No sense in harming his team.

The pair were scheduled to play on Sunday. It’ll be an intriguing matchup if it happens. That’ll depend on Crabtree’s health.

Talib, for his part, isn’t focused on history lining up opposite Crabtree.

“I’m not worried about ‘Crab boy’s’ chain,” Talib told Denver reporters. “I’m not worried about any of that. I’m worried about what routes these guys are running, what concepts these guys are running and stuff like that. So that’s the last thing I’m worried about.”

Talib believes Crabtree and Cooper – he was removed from the injury report Friday – will play in this crucial early game.

“It doesn’t matter who’s on the injury report. Crabtree and Cooper will play.”

Crabtree was the only Raider missing Friday’s practice, but safety Keith McGill and cornerback Gareon Conley are also considered questionable. The Raiders certainly hope Conley can play and bring some stability to the secondary, though his shin remains an issue.

Raiders injury report

Questionable: WR Michael Crabtree (chest), DB Keith McGill (foot), Gareon Conley (shin)

Broncos injury report

Out: QB Paxton Lynch (shoulder)

Questionable: WR Cody Latimer (knee)