NFL Wire News

Key to Raiders rebound: Fahgettaboudit!


The Sports Xchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Given his background as a linebacker and a defensive coach, it probably wasn’t the way Jack Del Rio envisioned his first win as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, but he wasn’t about to give it back.

“It was special,” Del Rio said after getting his first victory before a sold out home crowd as coach of the team he rooted for in his youth. “I had to focus on taking my mind elsewhere so I didn’t get all choked up.”

Del Rio watched his team lose leads of 10-0 and 30-20 against the Baltimore Ravens, then come from behind and win 37-33 on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Seth Roberts with 26 seconds to go.

It helped wipe away the sting of a 33-13 opening game loss to the Cincinnati Bengals during which the Raiders trailed 33-0 and were essentially no-shows in terms of performance.

The win evened the Raiders record at 1-1 after starting the season with two home games for the first time since 1969, which was the first year for head coach John Madden. The Raiders hit the road for the next two weeks against Cleveland and Chicago, teams with which the Raiders should be competitive and in a better frame of mind after beating the Ravens.

The Raiders allowed 493 yards of offense to Baltimore, with quarterback Joe Flacco passing for 384 yards, hitting 32 of 45 passes. The Raiders countered with 448 yards, with Carr completing 30 of 46 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think both defenses will come out of the game saying, ‘We certainly feel like we’re capable of doing better,'” Del Rio said. “The difference is we’re going to make our corrections with a ‘W.'”

Del Rio worked hard during the week to put the Cincinnati game in the rear-view mirror, and felt his team did just that.

“I was concerned about turning our attention forward with a positive energy and not dwelling on what the negative vibe was,” Del Rio said. “No offense, but you guys (the media) dwell on the negative, so it’s a battle. But I do believe our guys did have the faith, did continue to believe and work and prepare.

“That allowed us to come out and have a moment like that. We’re going to play a lot better football going forward. It was good enough today.”

Defensive end Justin Tuck was pleased with the win but was also trying to keep it in perspective.

“It’s one win, don’t act surprised,” Tuck admonished. “This is something we’ve worked out butts off all season to do, so once we start playing and having success, don’t act surprised by it. Just continue to do what we’ve done and we have a lot of work to do.”


–PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus — Derek Carr was 30 of 46 for 351 yards, three touchdowns and a 100.9 passer rating. The only blight was an interception forced into coverage that provided the Ravens the opportunity to take a 33-30 lead, but Carr made up for it with a game-winning touchdown drive and 12-yard strike to Seth Roberts. Michael Crabtree (nine receptions for 111 yards) and Amari Cooper (seven receptions, 109 yards) were huge, and Andre Holmes had three key catches for 50 yards.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: B — The Raiders had 97 yards rushing, which doesn’t sound like much, but averaged 5.1 yards per carry and had positive yardage on 18 consecutive attempts until Carr kneeled on the ball for a 1-yard loss from victory formation. Latavius Murray had 65 yards on 15 attempts and a 1-yard touchdown. Carr ran 24 yards on a read option, a big play on a scoring drive that put the Raiders up 30-20.

–PASS DEFENSE: D — Joe Flacco was 32 of 45 for 384 yards, two touchdowns and a late desperation interception to Neiko Thorpe. Steve Smith had 10 receptions for 150 yards. Receivers broke free most of the day, with Baltimore racking up 17 first downs through the air. Covering the tight end continues to be a problem as Crockett Gillmore had five receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders do not have a sack through two games. T.J. Carrie forced a fumble after a short completion.

–RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus — Justin Forsett finished with 68 yards on 15 carries, numbers the Raiders would gladly accept considering he had eight carries for 57 yards by halftime. Linebackers Curtis Lofton and Malcolm Smith combined for 25 tackles, more than a third of the Raiders’ team total of 68.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: C — The Raiders lost seven yards on their only punt return and had just five yards on two kickoff returns. Baltimore had 29 yards on a kickoff return, its only returned kick of the day. Marquette King had a career-best 70-yard punt, although Baltimore wound up going 93 yards to score after receiving it. Sebastian Janikowski was perfect on three field-goal attempts from 23, 46 and 48 yards.

–COACHING: B-plus — Quite the contrast from Week 1, when the Raiders didn’t look remotely prepared to play. On offense in particular, the Raiders were one step ahead all day. They smartly passed to set up the run, struck both short and deep, and a 24-yard keeper by Carr on their second-to-last touchdown drive was a particularly inspired call.

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