By Abraham Gutierrez
Looking to keep the momentum of last week’s divisional win going, the Oakland Raiders welcomed one of the league’s top teams, as the New York Jets invaded the East Bay listed as three-point favorites. Going up against a Jets team that had won two of its last three games, all indications were that Raider Nation was in for a long afternoon.READ MORE: New Facebook Whistleblower Says Executives Shrugged as Algorithm Stoked Hate, Misinformation
However, Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, Latavius Murray and the Raiders defense had other ideas. Taking advantage of injuries and poor-play execution, the Raiders jumped out to a 21-6 lead in the first half and never looked back. The end result was a dominant, 34-20 win over Gang Green, which made head coach Jack Del Rio a happy man.
“Really a nice football game. Nice job,” he said during his post-game speech in the locker room. “You can see the process, right? We believe in what we’re doing – the process that we’re going through. Getting better, everyday. Coming to work with purpose, everyday. That’s a good football team, that’s a good afternoon.
With a ruckus Black Hole crowd behind them, the Raiders offense was clicking on all cylinders, as the running game finally provided the balance this team has desperately needed all year. For only the second time this season, running back Latavius Murray eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark, finishing with 113 yards on 26 carries.
Much like he’s done all season long, quarterback Derek Carr took care of the rest, as the second-year pro out of Fresno State had a sensational ballgame. Thanks to terrific play-calling, Carr connected on 64 percent of his pass attempts (23-for-36) for 333 yards, four touchdowns and no interception to earn a impressive 130.9 quarterback rating.
Former 49ers wide receiver, Michael Crabtree had his best game as a member of the Raiders. The Texas Tech product finished with a game-high 102 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown.
Fourth-year wideout, Andre Holmes also had a breakout game. The ex-Cowboy made the most of his limited playing time, coming away with two touchdowns on a pair of grabs (54 yards) to lead all receivers in that category.
As a unit, the Raiders offense recorded 21 first downs, 451 total yards of offense, no turnovers, held on to the ball for 30 minutes and 38 seconds, 118 rushing yards and 333 aerial yards. The offensive line also did a tremendous job of keeping Carr upright. Despite going up against one of the best blitzing defenses in all of football, the Raiders signal-caller was not sacked all game.
Even though the final score indicates that the Jets scored 20 points in this game, truth is that most of it came after the game was well in hand. As a team, the Raiders “D” surrendered 22 first downs and 366 total yards, including a stingy 74 yards on the ground and 292 through the air.READ MORE: CDC Approves Wide Range of Options for COVID Boosters
The lone turnover of the game belonged to none other than free safety, Charles Woodson. The ageless wonder continues to make a case for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, recording his fifth pick of the season, which is good enough for No.1 in the National Football League.
“I’ve been doing it all my life,” Woodson said while chuckling.
One of the keys to winning this game was containing bruising Jets running back, Chris Ivory. Coming in averaging 74 yards per game, the Tiffin University product was a non-factor with 17 yards on 15 carries – finishing second on the team in rushing behind quarterback Geno Smith (2 rushes, 34 yards).
Another player that needed to be accounted for at all times was New York wide receiver, Brandon Marshall. Even though he would lead the team in receiving yards this afternoon, the Central Florida product racked up 108 yards on 9 catches, but did not score.
Oakland caught a bit of a break when Ryan Fitzpatrick existed the game due to thumb injury, as Geno Smith appeared to be in preseason form in his first start after having his jaw broken by a teammate prior to the start if the season. The former West Virginia Mountaineer went 27-for-42 for 265 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a quarterback rating of 87.9.
Special Teams: B+
For a second week in a row, there was almost no need for some of the guys on the special team’s unit, in particular punter Marquette King. With Carr running the offense beautifully, as the Raiders were coming away with points seemingly on every play, the former Fort Valley State product only had his name called three times.
After missing a 52-yard kick, Sebastian Janikowski found his stride, connecting on two of three field goal attempts, to go along with four extra points. Also worth noting was the play of Taiwan Jones, who in four kickoff returns, racked up 101 yards, including a 41-yarder.
The Raiders came into this game as three-point underdogs and with reason, as the Jets have proven to be a legitimate threat in the AFC playoff picture. With defense being the staple of Todd Bowles team, one of the biggest concerns for Raider Nation was: Can Oakland score enough points to keep up with Chris Ivory’s wrath? Luckily, Jack Del Rio and his staff had the right game plan and the players executed it perfectly, as the Raiders have won two in a row.
“Congratulations, that’s a heck of a win right there, puts us over .500,” said the Raiders first-year head coach. “We need to get on a little mini-roll and that’s the beginning…. I’m really proud of you guys…. Next week, it’s on the road in Pittsburgh. Let’s enjoy this with your families, with your friends. We did it here at home, we’re getting ready to take our show on the road next week.”MORE NEWS: Climate Change Disrupting Natural Cycles at Drier Lake Tahoe
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, aExaminer.com and other online publications.