Instant Replay: Carr, Crabtree rally Raiders past Ravens


Instant Replay: Carr, Crabtree rally Raiders past Ravens


BALTIMORE – The Raiders played three of their first four games on the road, all of them at least two time zones away.

That would’ve meant doom for the Raiders of the past, but not this crew. They have become road warriors under head coach Jack Del Rio.

They’ve won all three road games, with victories in New Orleans, Nashville and a 28-27 victory Sunday over the Ravens in Baltimore.

This one was as dramatic as it gets.

Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes and Michael Crabtree caught three of them, including a go-ahead score with two minutes remaining.

The defense, gutted by the Ravens most of the second half, held strong and forced a turnover on downs near midfield.

Carr’s comeback drive ended was a thing of beauty, taking yards in chunks when the Raiders desperately needed them. Crabtree’s touchdown catch negated a blown fourth-quarter lead and pushed the Raiders to 3-1 on a season littered with road wins.

Things got interesting late. The Raiders couldn’t hold a nine-point fourth-quarter lead.

Steve Smith cut it close with a 52-yard touchdown catch and run that was the quick strike the Ravens desperately needed. Then DeAndre Washington helped Baltimore out with a lost fumble deep in Raiders territory. Baltimore scored again with a 3-yard run from Terrence West and a successful 2-point conversion.

The Raiders took possession with more than three minutes remaining. That’s when Carr worked some magic. He drove the Raiders 66 yards before throwing his fourth touchdown of the day. The Ravens cut the lead late in the third quarter, going for it on fourth down from the 1-yard line. Quarterback Joe Flacco sneaked it in from that spot, though failed on a 2-point conversion.

That made it 14-12 and marked a momentum shift in a game the Raiders controlled early.

It didn’t last long.

Bruce Irvin strip sacked Flacco and Denico Autry recovered the fumble deep in Ravens territory. The Raiders turned that turnover into points, with a laser from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree, who held on despite a huge hit from Ravens safety Eric Weddle.

The failed 2-point conversion came back to haunt the Ravens after that touchdown put the Raiders back up two scores at 21-12.

The Raiders took a 14-6 halftime lead with a short drive and a long one.

Jalen Richard’s 47-yard punt return put his offense at the Baltimore 6. Carr and Seth Roberts covered that distance on one play, as the receiver went horizontal to secure the catch and open the scoring.

Baltimore was held to field goals, but then Carr orchestrated a nine-play, 80-yard drive using tempo to work the ball downfield. Michael Crabtree ended it with a 5-yard catch, but the drive was sparked by chunk plays from Amari Cooper and DeAndre Washington.

Lee Smith suffers ankle injury: Raiders tight end Lee Smith suffered an ankle injury in the first half, and it could be significant. He was hit low on a short reception in the flat and fell awkwardly as he attempted to turn upfield.

The exact nature of the injury was uncertain at game’s end, though a break might end his season or keep him out a significant stretch.

Also, linebacker Malcolm Smith suffered a groin injury.

Smith, Irvin raise fists: Raiders linebackers Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin raised fists at the tail end of the national anthem, as they did last week in Tennessee. The act is a form of protest for racial inequality and police brutality against minorities, a movement started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Smith held his hand over his heart for most of the anthem, before raising a fist near the song’s end.

Who’s missing: The Raiders were down three offensive tackles on Sunday, with Menelik Watson, Austin Howard and Matt McCants out with injury. Rookie Vadal Alexander made his first NFL start at right tackle, and held up well. The Raiders also ruled Nate Allen, Taiwan Jones and Antonio Hamilton.

What’s next: The Raiders will stay at home for a change following three road games in the first four weeks. The San Diego Chargers come to town for the Raiders’ first AFC West matchup.

Raiders-Dolphins injury report: P.J. Hall expected to miss another game


Raiders-Dolphins injury report: P.J. Hall expected to miss another game

ALAMEDA – The Raiders will likely play another game without P.J. Hall. The second-round defensive tackle sprained an ankle early in the regular-season opener and hasn’t practiced since.

Head coach Jon Gruden doesn’t expect Hall to be available for Sunday against the host Miami Dolphins.

“I doubt it,” he said Monday. “I don’t think so. Keeping my fingers crossed.”

That’s a blow to a Raiders defensive line that needs help rushing the passer. He’s tough to block up front, with a knack for pushing the pocket back on the interior.

The Raiders will go with Maurice Hurst and recent signings Clinton McDonald and Johnathn Hankins on the inside. Brian Price was waived on Tuesday morning.

The Raiders should get Dwayne Harris back in the mix returning punts and kickoff. He missed the Broncos game with a foot injury. He was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, and made an acrobatic catch during a portion open to the media.

Also, the Raiders signed defensive tackle Gabe Wright to their practice squad. There was an open spot after Shilique Calhoun was promoted to the 53-man roster.


Thursday’s Injury Report

Did not practice

DT P.J. Hall (ankle)
OT Brandon Parker (ankle)

Limited practice
CB Leon Hall (illness)
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
RG Gabe Jackson (pectoral)
RB Marshawn Lynch (shoulder)

Full participation
WR Dwayne Harris (foot)

Did not practice

WR Danny Amendola (not injury related)
S Reshad Jones (shoulder)

Limited practice
LS John Denney (shoulder)
DT Jordan Phillips (knee)

Full participation
RB Kenyan Drake (abdomen)
DE William Hayes (finger)
WR DeVante Parker (finger)
QB Ryan Tannehill (knee/ankle)

Jon Gruden, who traded Khalil Mack, calls great pass rushers 'hard to find'

Jon Gruden, who traded Khalil Mack, calls great pass rushers 'hard to find'

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders' pass rush has been lacking this season, and trading Khalil Mack for future draft compensation certainly hurt that effort. An inability to reach the quarterback has directly contributed to the team’s 0-2 start.

The Raiders have two sacks on the season and just 17 total pressures over two games. That certainly won’t cut it, which is why coach Jon Gruden keeps getting asked about it.

That happened again Wednesday, when he was asked how hard it is to find guys who can get after the quarterback.

“It’s hard to find a great one,” Gruden said. “It’s hard to find a good one. It’s hard to find one; you just said it. With college football, they aren’t dropping back to pass and throwing anymore. They’re throwing laterals and bubble screens and running read options. You have to train these guys, and it takes a little time to learn how to rush the passer. We have some guys who are in that process right now (with Arden Key, P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst).”

That certainly will raise some eyebrows, less than a month after the Mack trade. The Raiders found a great one, maybe the best in the NFL, and shipped him to the Bears because they were unwilling to pay Mack’s market value.

Gruden could’ve said it’s hard to find one and keep him and a franchise quarterback and stay in good salary cap standing. That’s dead right, and went into his thinking when executing the blockbuster trade.

Gruden said Monday that he didn’t regret trading Mack -- what else is he supposed to say? -- and that it’s now part of executing a long-term vision. It doesn’t help the 2018 Raiders a lick, though, and is hindering their ability to win games this season.

The coach has suggested the Raiders might blitz more, though they did so more Sunday against the Broncos than is customary in Paul Guenther’s defense. He brought extra rushers 13 times on just 37 drop backs, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and generated 12 pressures.

“You do what you have to do, with the personnel you have to win the game,” Gruden said. “There were years in Cincinnati when Mike Zimmer was there where they blitzed more than they did in other seasons. ….When you have Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, you don’t have to blitz. Having the quarterback thinking you’re blitzing when you’re not can also be good. We were able to get Denver in seven-man protections and three-man routes. We just have to do a better job collectively getting off the field.”