My beloved Oakland Raiders kept their destiny in their own hands by defeating the Buffalo Bills 38-24 at O.co, after knowing that 2 of their divisional rivals won their early games. Even if the Raiders had lost, they’d still be a game above Denver, but it would have given the Kansas Chiefs an edge, and that just wasn’t isn’t the Raiders plans.
The game didn’t start off the way I wanted it to start. First of all, the Bills won the toss and deferred. Secondly, we had to punt on our 1st possession after getting only 1 1st down, and that was courtesy of an off sides penalty by Buffalo. Their 1st possession ended with them drawing 1st blood courtesy of a field goal by Dan Carpenter.
Our offense showed some life by responding with their own field goal. The Bills, again, had a neutral zone infraction, but only after we were called for holding, so we still were left with a 1st and 15. We weren’t able to pick up any significant yards, so we relied on Sebastian Janikowski’s leg to tie the game.
The Bills scored after a 6:07 drive that ate up the rest of the time left in the 1st quarter, and took 1:32 out of the 2nd quarter. After a trading punts, we managed a field goal, and after forcing them to punt again, we pulled within appoint. The Bills went into half time with a 1 point lead, and getting the ball after half time was over.
When both teams came back to the field, it appeared that only the Bills had made halftime adjustments, as it took them only 2 plays in 57 seconds to get their 2nd touchdown. They had another shot at a score on a shortened field after a 3 and out by the offense and an uncharacteristically short punt, only 28 yards, by Marquette King. They did not disappoint the Buffalo fans in the stadium. It was only 4:10 later that they had a 15 point lead, with 9:01 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Raiders then scored, and scored, and scored, and scored again. In between the that 9;10 left on the 3rd quarter and the 4th quarter, the Raiders offense scored 4 touchdowns, one with a 2 point conversion, for a total of 29 points, which was unanswered by the Bills. The final score: 38-24.
Somewhere in that 3rd quarter everything started clicking for the Raiders. I don’t know what it is about this team that makes them so tenacious. They reach down, to a player, and find something inside and make plays.
We can start off with the 3 field goals by Sebastian Janikowski, along with 3 extra points, bringing his total points for the game to 12.
We could look to driving 75 yards in just 3:44, employing some no huddle, with culminating play being a 3 yard pass to Michael Crabtree.
Then we can examine our next drive, one where we had only to get 38 yards, which we did in 3:03. This drive ended with a Latavius Murray 1 yard touchdown run. We came within 1 point when Seabass’s point after attempt doinked one of the uprights and still went through. This was close to the end of the 3rd quarter.
Our next drive we didn’t bother to wait until the red zone before scoring. Derek Carr connected with Amari Cooper on a 37 yard beautiful pass play where Cooper extended himself before his knee hit to ensure the ball broke the plane for the touchdown. He also held himself up with his left hand to keep himself off the ground. The time differential between the ball breaking the plane and his knee hitting was a fraction of a second, but it was all we needed to make the score stick. Buffalo didn’t challenge it, either.
After that, we look at another possession on a shortened field on the Buffalo 16 yard line with almost 11 minutes left in the 4th quarter. This drive was assisted by a beautiful 8 yard run by Jalen Richard. He lowered himself and pushed back the Bills player that did tackle him. But instead of 3rd and possibly 5, we had a 3rd and 2. Murray had the touchdown run, again, for his 10th rushing td. Gabe Jackson and Jamize Olawale led the way. This was when we went for and got our 2 point conversion.
But this is only 1/3rd of the story, as it only explains the Raiders points of the board.
The defense came up big time after that 2nd touchdown of the Bills that gave them a 15 point lead.
Bruce Irvin stopped LeSean McCoy more than once. Khalil Mack got a piece of Tyrod Taylor on a pass play that left the ball floating in the air, only to be plucked by Nate Allen. (That’s how we had the ball on the 16 yard line.) Denico Autry didn’t allow Taylor any yards. David Amerson batted a pass intended for Sammy Watkins. T.J. Carrie pulled an arm down as the ball got there on another pass intended for Sammy Watkins. Then there was this one other play. Khalil Mack was going to lose his consecutive games with a sack streak, but on a 1st and 10 play at our 17 yard line, Mack got his sack, stripped the ball, and recovered the fumble he just forced.
The final 3rd of this equation is special teams.
We had King booting the ball pretty well, averaging 44.2 yards a punt, with a net of just over 40, and that was including a touch back that took away 20 yards, and a short punt. Then there was his silly move that cost us 15 yards, giving our offense a 1st and 25 when he picked up the flag and waved it around. I do believe he was just trying to be funny, but it could have cost us badly.
We saw Andre Homes come a few inches away from blocking a punt. He said he was so clean coming through he was afraid of hitting the punter and knew if he didn’t get even a finger on the ball it would be a penalty, so he held back just a little. He didn’t hold back on getting down field with Taiwan Jones on a punt though. Jones kept his toes off the end zone chalk line and kept the ball in bounds, while Holmes covered it up essentially at the 4 yard line.
We had the field goals and extra points by Seabass, as I mentioned earlier.
In my mind, that’s what is right with this team. We have the big names that everyone recognizes: Carr, Cooper, Crabtree, and Mack. We have the names some people are getting to know: Richard, King, Roberts. Then there are the guys like Andre Holmes that have been in the league for a few years and contribute whatever way they can. He blocks, he can catch the ball, he plays special teams, and gives his all every time he takes the field. His favorite play he was involved in was one of his tackles on the a return. He’s gotten credit for bringing down the return man before, and rightfully so, but this was a form tackle, and that is something he had been working on.
One other thing about this team that makes them special; they aren’t one for excuses. They won’t use having to play 4 games in 17 days as a reason to play poorly or not up to snuff in Kansas City this coming Thursday.
Like Nate Allen said, it’s time to make a game plan, and then execute it .
One thing is for sure, the Raiders made a statement coming from 15 points behind against the league’s top rated rushing attack. They do control their destiny, and it STARTS Thursday with a win against the Chiefs.
Win, Lose, or Tie, RAIDERS til I DIE!