OAKLAND -– Oakland Coliseum was buzzing on Sunday afternoon. The 50-year old building played host to a Raiders team fresh off a dramatic opening victory over New Orleans, which validated beliefs this franchise is a legitimate playoff contender.
Sunday offered the first opportunity to see this group live, and the Raiders failed to impress in an 35-28 loss to the Falcons.
This was a game the home team was supposed to win. The Raiders were 6.5-point favorites, with talent advantages at most every position.
The Raiders couldn’t produce consistently in any phase, which ultimately proved costly against the Falcons.
This game was dramatic if nothing else, with several tense moments as the teams exchanged blows.
The Raiders scored late and were a touchdown behind with 2 minutes, 12 seconds remaining, but the defense couldn’t get off the field and give quarterback Derek Carr a chance to win it.
Carr played well, completing 33-of-44 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders also ran well, using four rushers to total 145 yards.
Carr added 10 rushing yards of his own.
Ultimately, the Raiders couldn’t keep the Falcons offense at bay and gave up 35 points for the second consecutive week. They allowed a ton of yards yet again, and couldn’t shut the opposition down when it mattered most.
Matt Ryan led the way with 26-of-34 passing for 283 yards and a few clutch touchdown passes.
That ultimately dropped the Raiders to 1-1.
The Raiders were in it late. They tied it at 21 on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line, when Derek Carr found Michael Crabtree in the end zone. The defense struggled to stop Atlanta, which used tempo and chunk pass plays to move downfield.
The Raiders caught a break in the third quarter, when they challenged whether Atlanta had 12 men on the field for a Raiders punt. A substitute was still on the field when Jon Condo snapped, giving the Raiders a first down that kept a key drive alive.
Carr threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Clive Walford five plays later.
Momentum took a brief respite on a quality Falcons drive, but David Amerson got it going again with a clutch interception in the end zone to save points.
Amerson couldn’t prevent Atlanta from taking a lead later in the third quarter. Jacob Tamme scored on a 14-yard touchdown catch and the subsequent 2-point conversion put the Falcons up 21-14.
The Raiders were out of sorts in a lackluster first half, but went into the break down just 13-7. Red zone defense had a lot to do with that, holding the Falcons to field goals in two trips inside the 20-yard line.
The offense never looked right, seemingly content to operate with short passes and steady rushing. Its only touchdown came on a 1-yard run from Latavius Murray, set up by a pass interference call in the end zone. Outside that drive, the Raiders couldn’t sustain drives over the first two quarters.
This ‘n that: Receiver Johnny Holton recorded his first NFL catch, a 4-yard reception in the second quarter. He also had a 14-yard run on a reverse. … Punter Marquette King saved a touchdown on a long punt return, though he was flagged for a horse-collar tackle. … Donald Penn missed a few snaps after getting banged up, but returned on the next drive. … Head coach Jack Del Rio successfully challenged a spot of the ball and whether Atlanta had two many men on the field, decisions that gave his side a first down on both occasions.
Sitting it out: The Raiders missed starting right tackle Menelik Watson, who is expected to miss a few games with a groin injury. Austin Howard returned from an ankle sprain and started in Watson’s place.
The starting line was otherwise intact. In addition to Watson, tackle Matt McCants, tight end Mychal Rivera, cornerbacks Dexter McDonald and Antonio Hamilton and quarterback Connor Cook were also inactive.
What's next: The Raiders go back on the road for a Week 3 contest against Tennessee. It’s the first leg of a two-game road trip that continues with a Week 4 matchup at Baltimore.