By: Chris Loveland
This game was far closer than it should’ve been.
The Raiders came out of the gates hot, as they did against the Ravens. And, just like the Ravens game, they squandered their early lead.
Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, and Derek Carr all had huge days. Cooper had 8 receptions that went for 134 yards, but did lose a costly fumble. Murray sliced and diced the browns for 139 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown, while Derek Carr continued his sophomore success going 20/32 for 314 yards and two scores.
Carr and Cooper continued to show they could be the next great QB-WR tandem in the NFL on a vastly improved Raiders offense. The Browns secondary is no joke, and the Raiders duo picked them apart. Carr received very little pressure throughout the game, a testament to the Raiders’ improvement on the offensive line.
The defense looked good at times, but very weak at others, and that was against Josh McCown. Imagine if they had to play the man, the myth, the legend that is Johnny Manziel. Khalil Mack’s pass rush is still a sight for sore eyes, while Malcolm Smith showed flashes of brilliance that reminded everybody why he was the Super Bowl MVP for the Seahawks. Charles Woodson also had the game sealing interception, rounding out another strong game in his Hall of Fame career.
When the Raiders went up 20-3, it seemed as if they had the game locked down. But, it is the Raiders, so we can never assume anything. The Browns started to come back with a 13 play, 80 yard drive, culminating with a 28 yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Gary Barnidge.
To their credit, the Raiders kept their cool and responded with a 7 play, 80 yard drive capped off by a 6 yard Latavius Murray run for his only score of the day. The Browns then made a 41 yard field goal, and forced an Amari Cooper fumble. Cooper’s fumble resulted in a quick drive by the Browns, resulting in a touchdown pass from McCown to big play man Travis Benjamin.
But in the end, the Raiders defense stood tall, forcing Josh McCown to throw it short into coverage, allowing Charles Woodson to clinch the game with an interception.
Derek Carr’s two minute drill today was a thing of beauty, showing a lot of poise and good decision making to end the half with a touchdown. Between last week’s game winning drive and today’s two minute drill, Carr is beginning to prove that he has ice in his veins, and can be depended on to come through in the clutch.
Seth Roberts had another good touchdown reception today en route to a 3 reception, 56 yard game. While those are not eye popping numbers, it is good to see the former practice squad player shine in the NFL. Roberts is a tough receiver who played his college ball at West Alabama, and he has now achieved his dream of becoming a bonafide NFL wideout.
These Raiders are a feel good team, and with the potential Carr is showing, they may have it in them to defy the odds and blow past everyone’s expectations this year. The Raiders remain the underdogs that everybody can root for, in spite of a 2-1 start that would suggest they are better than just underdogs. Up next is a matchup against the Chicago Bears, who are looking to avoid falling to 0-4 after getting dominated 26-0 by the Seattle Seahawks.