Category Archives: game recaps

Week 12 Final: Raiders 24, Chiefs 20

Damn, it feels so good to type the Raiders’ WINNING score first, at long last. And welcome to the fold, Latavius Murray. Better late than never, though it does make you wonder what took them so long. Murray made the most of his four carries, gaining 112 yards (nearly twice the team’s rushing average per game so far) before being knocked out by a cheap hit from Kurt Coleman that probably will (and should) draw a fine from the league.

In addition to Murray’s brief appearance exposing most of the rest of the run game as a fraud, Derek Carr showed great poise in leading the final game-winning drive, finding Mike Rivera on a key third-down conversion, and getting the first-down on a 4th-and-1 keeper. As expected, getting the go-ahead touchdown with 1:42 remaining gave Alex Smith a bit too much of a chance to come back, but the defense held tight and shut them down when it counted the most.

Full game stats here.

That penultimate play, the 3rd-and-long sack on Smith that resulted in Sio Moore and Khalil Mack dancing a bit too long deep in the backfield, characterized the season in a nutshell. Justin Tuck has really stepped up his game the last few weeks, and his heads-up timeout call while Moore and Mack were fooling around — while Smith and the Chefs were getting ready to get a free play off against nine defensive players — may have been the single most important call of this awful season. It’s hard to fault players for celebrating, after the season they’ve endured, and they’ve held together as a team admirably, but jeez — you have just twenty-eight seconds to go. It really is those little things, paying attention to the¬†fundamentals and executing them better than the guy across the line from you,¬†that make the difference between 0-10 and the other way around.

Still, it was a great game and a solid win against a very good opponent. The Raiders finally have a complete performance this season that they can take pride in and build on.

Week 11 Final: Chargers 13, Raiders 6

Is there a team in the entire NFL more snakebitten than the Raiders? Literally from the very first play, the offense played like they knew they were doomed. Derek Carr fumbled what must have been a flubbed snap from Stefen Wisniewski, and of course the Chargers fell right on it, scoring an easy touchdown just a couple of plays later.

Full game stats here.

Another solid defensive effort turns out to be all for naught, as the offense continues to struggle. A glimmer of hope came late in the game, as Latavius Murray finally got a few carries, including one for 23 yards, incredibly the longest by a Raiders running back this season (Derek Carr had a run for 41 yards against Houston in Week 2). It’s a safe bet that the entire Nation hopes that Tony Sparano and Greg Olson see the spark Murray provides, and either start him or at least work him more into the offense against the Chiefs on Thursday. Murray has been a subpar kickoff returner, but clearly brought something to the running game in his four carries (for 43 yards total) that McFadden (8-21) and Jones-Drew (4-6) continue to lack.

Third-down conversions are improving for the defense (San Diego converted only 4 of 15), but are worse for the offense (3 for 15). Between the non-existent run game and the inability to sustain drives, Marquette King has to punt 9 times yet again, and the time of possession is barely 25 minutes for this game. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the team will not win until those things improve; Derek Carr can throw for 500 yards, but unless he finds the end zone and the run game develops as well, it won’t matter.