NFL

Raiders aren’t perfect, but they sure are fun

amari

The Oakland Raiders moved to 4-1 today with a wild, throwback 34-31 AFC West win over the San Diego Chargers, who came within an owners’ vote of sharing a stadium in Los Angeles with the Raiders. Instead, San Diego will vote on a stadium referendum while the team finds new ways to lose in heartbreaking fashion on a weekly basis. With a little luck the Chargers could be 3-2, 4-1 or even 5-0, but luck is on Oakland’s side so far this season.

The Raiders have a knack for winning these close games, even when they commit tons of penalties, their best defensive player doesn’t make any sort of mark, they don’t know which running back they can trust yet (although I would imagine they’re leaning toward Jalen Richard after today), and they give up too many chunk plays in the passing game.

It helps that the Raiders have moved into the current era of NFL football in a huge way. Their passing game, as long as Derek Carr avoids silly errors (like his interception to Brandon Mebane and some of those extra-long sacks he couldn’t avoid for whatever reason), is close to unstoppable. Oakland knew this could be a big day for Amari Cooper after Jason Verrett was lost for the year due to a torn ACL, and it was (6 catches, 138 yards and a touchdown … along with a would-be touchdown where he was pushed out of bounds and only got one foot back into the end zone before making the catch). Despite two weird drops by Michael Crabtree (one off his facemask at the goal-line and another that bounced off his hands in the open field), Carr knows Crabtree is in his element in silver and black, able to come up at a moment’s notice with the type of catch that made him a legend in Lubbock, Texas.

But yeah, the Raiders were lucky today. Philip Rivers threw two interceptions, including a nice pass/punt to Karl Joseph. It’s not often that Antonio Gates gets the ball ripped out of his hands, and that was one of two lost fumbles the Chargers lost. And Drew Kaser, a 2016 sixth round pick, had a nightmarish game. The 16-yard punt that went to San Diego’s 32-yard line was bad enough, but then he effectively lost the game by himself when he somehow fumbled a perfect snap as the holder on a 35-yard field goal attempt to tie the game with two minutes left.

But even if Kaser handled the snap cleanly and the Chargers knotted the game up at 34-34, it feels like all they would’ve done was delay the inevitable. The Raiders don’t have the defense they envisioned, but they can score whenever they need to and it seems unlikely that the Chargers would’ve been able to contain a Carr two-minute drill.

The season seems long in a pleasant way when you win four of your first five, full of opportunity and hope. And the Raiders, with a solid young core, keep gaining confidence. Would it be nice if the Raiders finally won a game 42-14? Sure, but these close wins will be looked upon with fondness if they’re followed with improved play as the season progresses. The belief, which in a league marked by parity is impossible to quantify but paramount to success, is a sign that the Raiders will compete for the AFC West title.

Raiders Ramblings

— After enough wins, especially close ones, a team starts to morph from lucky to good. They’ll need to play better to beat the Chiefs next week, however.

— Joey Bosa looks like a monster.

— Cory James got run over by Melvin Gordon and was completely out to lunch during Hunter Henry’s 59-yard catch-and-run.

— One of the differences in this game: Sebastian Janikowski made a 56-yard field goal, extending his all-time lead in 50-yard makes.

— Khalil Mack is on pace for three or four sacks. He’s getting double-teamed like crazy, but that still seems really weird.

— So was Carr not targeting a tight end once … in a game where he attempted 40 passes.

— It’s not often that a team wins when they allow 8.3 yards per offensive play and only gain 5.7 per play themselves. That’s the fun of winning the turnover battle by a +3 margin, as the Raiders are leading charmed lives for the first time in a while.

— Hey, Tony Corrente … enough with the conferences with your fellow officials that last FOREVER. There’s no reason why a play that wasn’t reviewed should take over five minutes to unravel and adjudicate.

— Halloween is coming, and if you don’t feel like wearing a costume (or want something to wear earlier in the day before it’s costume time), we’ve got a new line of Oakland-themed Sugar Skull shirts. To get 10% off, enter the promo code “SUGAR” when you check out.

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14 Comments on "Raiders aren’t perfect, but they sure are fun"

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davidyo05978208
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davidyo05978208

BASportsGuy no actually is not fun, and it’s not lucky, it’s game plan being conservative, I rather be like this n enjoy the w whole week

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

davidyo05978208 Raiders held the ball over 36 minutes. I’d say the pass defense is a bigger problem.

MackNifisent
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MackNifisent

BASportsGuy yeah its not luck. we need to learn how to protect the lead

T_jay23
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T_jay23

BASportsGuy you can’t say it’s luck where your offense plays like champions. Yeah the defense needs work but that was competitiveness

T_jay23
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T_jay23

BASportsGuy you can’t say it’s luck when your offense plays like champions. Yeah the defense needs work but that was competitiveness

davidyo05978208
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davidyo05978208

BASportsGuy that’s a great sign, last year they have no time control , when u control time u control game

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

davidyo05978208 Yeah, the biggest areas of improvement are defense and figuring out their best RB, and I think they can do both.

davidyo05978208
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davidyo05978208

BASportsGuy running game we improved,i believe defense is the last course for a rebuilding team , we are 25% left from a complete team

coredump
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coredump

Fun is still the right word.  Last year the Raiders lose this game, but even then they were still competitive and fun to watch.  That wasn’t true for a very long time, and it’s good to see the pieces coming together again, though there’s still work to be done.

raider7445
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raider7445

Well, in my opinion they didn’t play very well as a group. Carr’s  worse game of the year, he did show glimps of greatness, but if it weren’t for the 4 turn overs and the holders mistake we would have lost by 14 points or more. They will need to play much better to beat KC  Sunday  believe me. It was a very nerve wrecking game to watch. The 2 rookie RB’S played very well. GO RAIDERS beat the Chiefs!!!!!!!!!!!!

BryantPhillips
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BryantPhillips

They better not have games like this against Kansas City or Denver

BryantPhillips
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BryantPhillips

This year they will score. And that team comes right back down the field and scores quickly

Gaga V
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Gaga V

Why is this only the first article written about the Raiders since the season started?

coredump
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coredump

Gaga V  Obviously it is due to a vast international conspiracy.

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