Based on Reid's track record coming off bye, history not on Raiders' side

Based on Reid's track record coming off bye, history not on Raiders' side

ALAMEDA – Playing the Kansas City Chiefs after a bye week is no fun. Head coach Andy Reid is excellent outsmarting the opposition when given an extra week to prepare, leading his teams to victory under those circumstances at an alarming rate.

His teams are 15-2 coming off a bye.

The Raiders drew the short straw this year.

They host Kansas City on Sunday at Oakland Coliseum. The Chiefs were idle the week before.

That often spells trouble. There’s extra motivation to right their ship after Pittsburgh humiliated them 43-14 on national television.

What’s his secret? Reid isn’t telling, but he seems to have found a delicate balance of rest and new looks.

“I think certainly he does a great job of giving us some good time off and getting rested and getting back healthy,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “I think he’s efficient with it. Then when we do come back, we dive right back into our normal schedule, which is really well thought out, and I know he puts a lot of time into. It’s hard. Certainly, obviously, in any bye week you hope you’re getting healthy, getting rested. I don’t know if there’s any one thing though that would point to that success.”

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Sunday’s game was given extra juice when San Diego beat Denver on Thursday night. That moved the Raiders into sole possession of first place in the AFC West, a spot they’ll keep by beating Kansas City. The Chiefs can equal Denver and Oakland in the loss column with a victory over the Raiders.

The Raiders have only had a week to game-plan for Kansas City, though some advance work was certainly done beforehand.

The Chiefs are certainly right physically. They didn’t have a single player miss practice on Thursday, and running back Jamaal Charles claimed to be fully fit after returning from ACL surgery.

Del Rio is ready for Reid’s best and a healthy team coming off a bye.

“Good time off; time off well spent,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I think we all like to put together a plan and come out of our byes and play good football. He’s done a good job of that.”

Whether it’s coming off a bye or on regular rest, the Raiders have had trouble with Kansas City recently. The Chiefs swept the Raiders last season, and have won five of the last six meetings. The Raiders lone win since 2012 was Derek Carr’s first, a come-from-behind victory that snapped a 10-game losing streak.

“We need to go out there and we need to compete and try and get a win against a team that we didn’t beat last year and we know how tough it is to play them,” Carr said. “But, that’s the mindset that we have is, yes the records are what they are right now, but that that means absolutely nothing. We didn’t beat them last year but this is a new year and we have a new opportunity.”

Raiders report card: Grading offense, defense in win over Cardinals

Raiders report card: Grading offense, defense in win over Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Raiders lost five straight by at least 14 points heading into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

They snapped that streak, and not just with a close loss.

The Raiders actually won. For real.

Derek Carr orchestrated his 15th career fourth-quarter comeback to help the Raiders beat the Cardinals 23-21 at State Farm Stadium.

We typically hand out Fs by the bushel in this space, but not tonight, my friends. Not tonight.

The Raiders were far from perfect, but still did several things well in this win. Here’s the report card from the Valley of the Sun.

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Rushing offense

The Raiders were committed to the run against the Cardinals, and it paid off in spades. Running backs Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Doug Martin rushed 33 times for 152 yards. That’s 4.6 yards per carry, a strong effort that gave the Raiders a balanced offense for once.

The offensive line opened holes and the backs burst right through them to keep the offense moving. Good job all around by the ground game.

Grade: A

Passing offense

Derek Carr didn’t pile up stats, but he completed passes at critical times. That was especially true on the game-winning field goal drive. He worked with the bottom of the depth chart, but still made plays with depth receivers Marcell Ateman and Seth Roberts, as well as Jared Cook.

The pass protection was spotty at best, and the entire operation needs to be cleaner. But, these guys got the job done when it counted Sunday.

Grade: B-minus

Rushing defense

After a terrible first drive, the Raiders did a solid job corralling star Cardinals running back David Johnson. All it takes, however, is one bad play to ruin a day. That came on a 55-yard run by Johnson that set up a go-ahead score with five minutes left.

In all, the Raiders allowed 154 yards on 31 carries, which will get you beat in most scenarios. Just not Sunday. 

Grade: D

Pass defense

The Raiders secondary delivered on Sunday with interceptions from defensive backs Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph. Both takeaways created great field position and resulted in Raiders touchdowns.

Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen was awful, and completed only 9-of-20 passes for 136 yards thanks to errant throws and some solid coverage from the Raiders secondary.

Grade: A-minus

Special teams

Daniel Carlson nailed the first game-winning field goal of his career as time expired. That’s all you need to get an ‘A.’

The rookie from Auburn is coming on strong the past few weeks. He could be a long-term answer at kicker if he keeps this up.

Grade: A


A cynic would say the Raiders blew it by winning, hurting their draft position in an already lost season. That’s not how the players and coaches think. They wanted to win and were able to.

It might not happen much the rest of the year, so they have to bask in this victory.

Grade: A

Inside Raiders' final drive to complete comeback win over Cardinals

Inside Raiders' final drive to complete comeback win over Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals took a fourth-quarter lead with roughly five minutes left Sunday. Then they couldn’t do anything else offensively.

That gave the Raiders three cracks at a comeback. The first two attempts went nowhere, as a bad, ailing offense continued to sputter in crunch time.

No matter. The offense took the field considering the third time a charm.

Quarterback Derek Carr tried to ease tension before that must-win series, telling center Rodney Hudson to “protect it up. We’re just going to go play catch outside.”

The Raiders played pitch and catch well into field-goal range. where Daniel Carlson secured a 23-21 victory at State Farm Stadium with a 35-yard kick at the gun.

That's what they expected before the final drive started. Despite failing to consistently perform under pressure, the Raiders believed they would get the job done.

“We believed the outcome was never in doubt,” Carr said after his 15th career fourth-quarter comeback. “There have been times where we believed but didn’t win. … Everyone had that look in their eye, though it was a little different because, ‘Hey, this is probably our last chance.’ ”

Carr made it worthwhile.

He completed two short passes to get a first down, then spiked the ball to stop the clock. Carr saw Marcell Ateman break free down the left sideline on the next snap and, with no regard for the receiver's rookie status, sent the ball deep.

Ateman came up with a huge 32-yard catch that worked the Raiders into Cardinals territory -- in his NFL debut, no less.

“He made one heck of a catch, keeping his feet in,” Carr said. “For him to do that in his first start, his first game, with everything going against him. … He did his job, got to his landmark when I wanted him to be there, and it was all him. He made an excellent play, and got a game ball for it. It was awesome.”

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An incompletion and a sack left Carr just 25 seconds to work with. He then correctly identified the defensive back covering Seth Roberts ready to blitz, and quickly got the ball out to his veteran receiver. Ateman and fellow rookie Saeed Blacknall blocked their cover guys well, allowing Roberts to zip 20 yards upfield.

Roberts didn’t get out of bounds, and the Raiders had zero timeouts, meaning Carr had to quickly spike the ball to set up Carlson’s field goal with two seconds left.

The rookie kicker nailed it, giving his team a much-needed win after five consecutive losses.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Carlson told reporters. “We kept chipping away, knowing eventually the rock was going to crack. It felt really good, really sweet to help make it happen.”