What a game.
The Raiders came out firing with a quick TD, then a forced turnover which led to a Janikowski field goal, to go up a quick 10-0. The first Raiders drive started slow with two drops from Cooper, showing he is human after all, but in the next few plays he took a Derek Carr pass 68 yards for his first career score, and the first Touchdown of the game. Cooper’s first catch was a preview of some of the great open space plays he would make later in the game.
But, the Raiders allowed the Ravens to move down the field quickly with a big play to Steve Smith Sr., although after that the Ravens stalled and were forced to send out Justin Tucker for a 22 yard field goal. Despite the defense holding Baltimore to a field goal, the Raiders were unable to score on their next drive to extend their lead, and ended up punting it back to Baltimore. Baltimore then went for a 6 play 80 yard drive capped with a TD pass from Flacco to Crockett Gillmore for his first of two touchdowns on the day, tying the game 10-10.
However, the Raiders responded with their own 5 play 80 yard drive, which ended in a tough one yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray. The Raiders D then went and allowed Joe Flacco to put together a nice 10 play 80 yard drive finished with the second Flacco to Gillmore touchdown connection of the day. Gillmore made the secondary’s tackling mechanics look downright silly, as he bullied his way into the endzone.
The Raiders responded with a nice 10 play 45 yard drive which ended in a Janikowski Field Goal. The Ravens quickly responded with their own 10 play 77 yard drive ending in a Tucker field goal, closing out the first half.
To start the half the Raiders shut down Flacco and the Ravens showing them their first 3 and out of the game. In the ensuing drive The Raiders tacked on a nice field goal to go up 23-20. After holding the Ravens to a punt again, the Raiders got the ball back and allowed Derek Carr to manufacture a nice drive which saw Derek Carr pulling a little Terrelle Pryor on the option and showing off his legs. This time he, wisely, did not stiff arm anyone. Which then led to a beautiful TD pass to Michael Crabtree, where Carr showed off that world class arm strength. Carr rolled the other way, planted, and rifled one across and over 30 yards downfield. That throw was beautifully set up by his pretty 24 yard scamper the play before.
Baltimore then marched downfield for a Tucker field goal, then held the Raiders to a costly 3 and out. In the ensuing drive Flacco put together an 11 play 93 yard drive, which was almost stalled on fourth down within raiders territory, but Joe Flacco converted on a 4th and inches QB sneak to keep the drive alive. Holding the Ravens to a field goal at the beginning of the fourth was huge. But, not stopping Flacco’s sneak on fourth was just as crucial. Talieferro’s run was a foregone conclusion at that point, Oakland looked tired, the heat clearly wearing on them. At that point it was 30-30.
Derek Carr then tookover, and threw a costly interception with a little over 4 minutes left to play in the game. The Raiders’ fate seemed all but sealed. The defense was too tired to have to take the field once again without any rest. But, they came up big holding them to a field goal, and giving Derek Carr a chance at redemption. Derek Carr let nobody down.
Short passes kept them alive in the final drive, along with a nice little roughing the passer on Timmy Jernigan. A false start penalty slowed them for a second, but some smart quick passes from Carr got the Raiders back in rhythm, scaring the Ravens into a timeout. A quick incompletion to Wofford, a smart pass from Carr because of the big on little matchup that the tight end provides. A huge defensive holding was called on Will Hill of the Ravens, on what would have been a game clinching interception. A big play being erased by a penalty, very Raiders, but this time it was the Ravens. Finally, a great low over the middle throw to Seth Roberts, his first career reception, and boy was it a good one. A great throw and catch between Roberts and Carr.
Flacco did not have enough time to operate, and Neiko Thorpe capped the game with an interception of Joe Flacco, the pass intended for none other than Steve Smith.
The heat was a big factor in today’s game, causing both team’s defenses to regress quite a bit as the game went on. At the end of the game the Ravens’ Defense was clearly on their last legs and barring a big turnover, a Raiders score was imminent.
As always penalties seemed to eat away at the Raiders, but penalties were a big problem for both teams, so it ended up not impacting the final outcome too significantly. Also, as per usual, everytime Steve Smith did anything of relevance he got into somebody’s face. But, both teams showed no inhibitions when it came to taunting, and celebrating, it made TO proud.
Derek Carr looked very strong today, thinking downfield, but still making reads for shorter plays. Got the ball out quickly, neutralizing the effectiveness of the Ravens pass rush. Baltimore’s D which shut down skinny legs Manning and the Broncos last weekend, look subpar. The loss of Terrell Suggs was very apparent in the way the Ravens played, they just could not generate their usual pass rush, and were missing that big playmaker on the defensive end. Throughout the game quick outside Screens to Cooper, and other playmakers, were a good spell to downfield passes, especially with the running game looking as inconsistent as it was. Latavius Murray did not have a bad day, as he had 15 carries for 65 yards and a TD. While those are not eye popping numbers, he was not fed the ball very often.
The Defense allowed the tight ends to run free in the first half, which led to a big game for Crockett Gillmore, but they shut him down in the second half. Charles Woodson looked clearly injured, and sluggish. Their were a lot of big plays that could have been avoided if he had been able to come up and make an open field tackle. Altogether, the pass defense did not look great, the defenders were not turning their heads enough in coverage, almost every play the CB or Lb had their head turned to the receiver away from the QB and the ball. A sign they are either being constantly beaten, or are often out of position. Not enough defensive pressure from their high end pass rushers Tuck and Mack, both clearly slowed by nagging injuries. Mack a groin injury, Tuck some sort of arm injury. Solo tackling was simply not good enough, especially against the outside plays, the cornerbacks and safeties needed help on every tackle to the outside, which allowed Steve Smith to make some big plays along the outside. The defense had moments of purely stifling the ravens run, and over powering the Ravens line, but also moments where the Ravens zone blocking scheme opened up massive holes for Forsett. Neiko Thorpe had a great game in coverage, so it was only fitting he made the game sealing interception.
Today was a day of firsts, Seth Roberts’ first career reception, Jack Del Rio’s first win as head coach of the Raiders, my first post, Neiko Thorpe’s first interception, Amari Cooper’s first TD reception, and the first of many 100 yard games between the combo of Carr to Cooper.