Notes: Without Murray, Raiders run game stuck in mud vs Chiefs

Notes: Without Murray, Raiders run game stuck in mud vs Chiefs

OAKLAND – The Raiders played consecutive games without running back Latavius Murray. The primary option in a three-man rotation has been out with turf toe, and hasn’t practiced since playing Baltimore in Week 4.

They certainly could’ve used him on a rain-soaked Sunday against Kansas City, where the run game never got going in a 26-10 loss to the Chiefs.

They gained 65 yards on 17 carries, three of which were quarterback scrambles. The Raiders averaged 3.8 yards per carry, and haven’t cracked four yards per rush with Murray out.

That’s a particular issue in inclement weather, where passing is harder. A steady run game can be a quarterback’s best friend in bad weather.

“That always helps,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “The run game will open everything up. I don’t know if was the field, us as players or what it was. But anytime you can have that in the rain, sleet or snow, it’s always going to help.”

Kansas City certainly benefitted from ground game that churned out 183 yards on 40 carries (4.6 ypc).

It wasn’t there for the Silver and Black and proved harder to sustain with the Raiders playing catch-up in the second half.

Murray can be a physical runner, and his size and style might’ve helped the Raiders in this one. They’re received solid contributions from rookie Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington – bruiser Jamize Olawale didn’t have a carry in this one – but a Pro Bowl back may have been an asset on a sloppy field.

“I think (Richard and Washington) are doing a fantastic job,” Carr said. “If you lose a starter, it’s always going to be hard on you. It’s going to be hard because ‘Tay is such a good player, Pro-Bowl running back. He’s had over 1,000 yards over this last year, been in some tough games, ran the ball really hard for us. You can never just replace people and just think ’yes we’ve got it.’

“Then again, that has nothing to do with the (rookie) running backs. I think they do a great job. I thought they ran really hard all day. I thought they did a great job.”

Alex Smith, Raider killer: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has owned the Raiders during his career, and earned another pelt on Sunday improved his record to 8-1 against the Silver and Black.

He was efficient and mistake-free in this one, completing 19-of-22 passes for 224 yards and a 109.1 passer rating. He benefitted from a stout run game and pushed his team on to a key AFC West victory.

“I talked about Alex leading up to the game; he’s a good football player, a little underrated,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “If he’s got to rely on throwing the ball, it’s really not his strong suit, but if you allow them to run the ball, do some of their gimmicky things, then he comes to life. That’s what they were able to do today.”

Oakland’s own hopes Raiders stay: Proud Oakland native and current Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters had another banner day against the Raiders, with two tackles, his fifth interception this season and a pass defensed.

Afterward he touched on the Raiders stadium issue, saying he said he hopes they don’t leave for Las Vegas and stay in his hometown.

“They better not go anywhere,” Peters said. “They better not go anywhere. But we’ll see.”

Carr’s ill-advised INT: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr didn’t have his best day in the Chiefs loss, completing 22-of-34 passes for 225 yards, a touchdown and one costly interception.

Receiver Michael Crabtree beat Peters on a double move, and Carr heaved a wet football towards him. He threw off his back foot and didn’t get enough on it, leaving an easy interception for Peters that ultimately resulted in a Chiefs touchdown.

It was wet, first of all, and Crabtree beat me on a double move, but I knew that (Carr) wouldn’t be able to throw the ball that far,” Peters said. “I knew the ball was going to hang. So as soon as he got passed me, I just looked up. I trusted my instincts. And I knew that I had somebody over the top.”

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio thought the throw was ill-advised.

“It was probably a bad decision,” he said. “Based on the circumstances of the rain and the sloppiness there, to try to get that much out of his arm, I think he probably overestimated his ability to just flip it down there with it being wet and sloppy there early in the game.”

This ‘n that: The Raiders had two turnovers, the first time this season they’ve given possession away multiple times in the same game. … Carr threw a touchdown pass to Andre Holmes early on, marking the 12th straight game he’s thrown a TD. That’s the third longest active streak in the NFL. …Khalil Mack notched his second sack this season, and had seven total tackles. …Chiefs 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe caught a lateral from Alex Smith and took it a yard into the end zone. Del Rio said the Raiders were ready for that play, just “maybe not that much beef.”

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 42-24 loss to Packers

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 42-24 loss to Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Raiders knew they had to score consistently to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This had the makings of a shootout early as teams exchanged blows, but the back and forth went lopsided during a second-quarter swing that turned this game on its ear.

It was the first of three Raiders red-zone disasters, with Derek Carr’s fumble out of the end zone for a touchback, Josh Jacobs’ turnover on downs after getting stuffed before the goal line and Carr’s late interception. That’s 21 points taken off the board in an 18-point loss to the Packers.

“We were able to throw it and run it efficiently for most of the game,” Carr said. “When we got inside the 5 is where we let it go. Turning the ball over down there can’t happen. At the end of the day, we have to finish. We have to finish those drives. We were doing a great job on third down, but finishing in the red zone will be a point of emphasis this week.”

That was a major Raiders failing in this outcome, where the Silver and Black struggled in some area and excelled in others. Let’s take a look at the complete Raiders report card from Sunday’s loss to the Packers:

Rushing Offense

Josh Jacobs keeps on breaking personal bests. The rookie had a career-high 124 yards on 21 carries, including a bruising opening salvo certainly felt by Adrian Amos, with a 42-yard scamper two plays later and a 27-yard run in the second half. He churned out 5.9 yards per carry and was as effective and efficient as ever in his latest performance, continuing a stack of excellent showings. 

Jacobs said the fullback and offensive line set the tone, but he was the star of the show. Jacobs got shut down at the goal line, however, with a leap that went nowhere after the Packers sniffed it out. He has been excellent near the end zone but couldn’t get it done on a few occasions Sunday and Carr was running when he fumbled out of the end zone. Those play really that hurt the team.

Grade: B-minus

Passing Offense

Carr missed some early throws high but found great rhythm after that, completing 22-of-28 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. His interception in the end zone came late but still isn’t a risk worth taking trying to throw over double coverage trying to connect with Foster Moreau.

Carr was efficient despite not having Tyrell Williams and Zay Jones, who were rendered inactive. Darren Waller was awesome as usual and Moreau had another solid day. Tight ends paced the passing game yet again and have become a formidable force each week.

Grade: B

Run Defense

The typically stout Raiders run defense had another strong day, allowing just 60 yards on 23 total carries. Take away Aaron Jones’ 15-yard run and the Packers averaged 2.04 yards per carry. That’s a solid sum and a sign that the linebackers, defensive linemen in the base defense especially were typically solid slowing down the opposing ground game. 

That’s the Raiders’ defensive bedrock and will be all season. It’s a positive that run defense has held strong since getting gashed by Dalvin Cook back in Week 3.

Grade: A-minus

Pass Defense

Rodgers had a perfect passer rating over 31 throws. Wrap your head around that. That has happened just a handful of times in modern NFL history. That’s how good Rodgers was on Sunday. He completed nine passes of 21 yards or more, including three scores, and had five passing touchdowns total. Sure, Rodgers is awesome. The Raiders also didn’t play well. 

Gareon Conley in particular struggled to cover and tackle well, though most cornerbacks got beat handily at least once. It was a bad day at the office for all involved, from the pass rush -- Clelin Ferrell was invisible on Sunday -- to the guys asked to cover in the secondary. This constituted a no-good, very-bad day for the pass defense, giving up 429 yards through the air and averaged 13.2 yards per attempt. That’s terrible. The Raiders simply must do better.

Grade: F

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Special Teams

Trevor Davis had a a nice kickoff return and a nice punt return against his old team. A.J. Cole only punted twice and put both attempts inside the opposing 20-yard line and had a 59-yard boomer. Daniel Carlson hit his lone field goal attempt. The Raiders pinned the Packers deep on every drive, but then couldn’t stop them defensively. That’s not the kicking game’s fault.

Grade: B


The Raiders don’t have the talent and quick-strike capability to make up for major mistakes, and they made too many against an excellent Packers team. That’s a recipe for trouble. The costly late-first-half swing completely changed this game, and the Raiders never recovered. They have won games playing their way, establishing early leads held by an efficient run game. 

The Packers' passing attack was relentless, and Rodgers went for the knockout when he saw the Raiders wobble. This doesn’t mean the Raiders are a bad team or have no chance to beat similarly proficient competition. But, on this day, they were the inferior team unable to rebound after a major setback.

Grade: F

Silver Creek High's Ariel Orona might have made football history on TD pass


Silver Creek High's Ariel Orona might have made football history on TD pass

The Eagles have the "Philly Special," the Little Giants have the "Annexation of Puerto Rico" and the Silver Creek Raiders have "The Little Mermaid." All three worked to perfection. 

San Jose's Silver Creek High School might have made history in their varsity football game on Friday, Oct. 11, against Westmont High School. Silver Creek's Ariel Orona possibly became the first girl in state history to throw a touchdown in a California varsity football game. 

Cal-Hi Sports is yet to confirm. 

“It was more amazing than I thought it was going to be,” Orona said to the Mercury News' Darren Sabedra about the touchdown. 

Orona lined up as a slot receiver, took a pitch from running back Elijah Thomas -- who took a direct snap from the center -- and Ariel, a left-hander, tossed a perfect pass to quarterback Ricky Anaya as he scattered to the end zone. The historic trick play capped a 28-6 victory. 

“I was confident,” Orona said to Sabedra. “I knew what I was doing with it, and I knew the quarterback was going to catch the ball. I just had that feeling. I was very emotional and excited for the whole team.”

Raiders coach Aaron Noriega wasn't surprised by Orona's play. The senior is listed as a quarterback and wide receiver on the team's roster, and plays shooting guard for the girls basketball team. 

There were still some nerves from the coach, though. 

“I know she played JV and was the backup quarterback for JV. But JV and varsity the speed levels are totally different," Noriega said. "I was a little worried for her at the varsity level, but she really wanted to play. So we OK’d it as long as her parents were OK with it. She brings good energy to the team, and she’s tough as nails."

Orona grew up playing flag football and always has had a passion for the sport. She said she took a bunch of pictures after the game and was receiving a ton of congratulations. 

Now, she has a new goal for the 4-3 Raiders. Orona wants to catch a touchdown, too. 

“That’s my next goal,” Orona said.

With three games to go in the regular season, that very well could happen.