Oakland, CA – The Raiders were cautious in using Marshawn Lynch early in the season but now they’ve unleashed the beast. Oakland used their running game to power past the New York Giants. Lynch recorded a season-high run on opening drive and crossed the 100-yard barrier for the first time in the Silver and Black.
The Raiders 24-17 victory over the Giants put them in first place in the AFC West and will battle the Kansas City Chiefs for the number one spot next week. In the meantime, Oakland will revel in their win behind an offense that was without a few of their top Wide Receivers.
“I think today he had 100 yards, which is awesome,” said Derek Carr. “Anytime you can do that, the ball is in your hands. Anytime you can run the ball efficiently, you’re moving the chain – so that just helps us in the pass game element of it.”
Lynch exploded on opening drive with season-high 51-yard touchdown. He was the go-to guy on the first two carries before going untouched through a seas of red, white and blue jerseys. Lynch finished the series with 60 yards on 3 carries, the Raiders had 3 attempts for the touchdown.
Before Lynch managed to elude reporters waiting by his locker after the game, he produced a document that requested a urine sample. The ever so brazen running back explained that he had to submit “ding ding sauce” for those who didn’t understand what the document meant.
In another attempt to avoid answering any questions he did refer to his 100-yard game day by saying “his young life did it.” Lynch’s 100-plus yard game marked Oakland’s first since Latavius Murray did so on Dec. 8, 2016 at Kansas City. He also finished the first half with 80 rushing yards, his most in a first half since Week 15 of 2012 against the Bills (100).
“He’s getting stronger as the season goes on with more carries, DeAndre Washington said. “It’s hard to tackle that man for four quarters, you know what I am saying? He is going to wear you down regardless if he is getting two yards or the 50-yarder like he busted today. He is going to wear guys down and at this point in the season we are really going to need him.”
Washington also got in on the action rushing for a 9-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was the first time the Raiders scored since the first half. After Lynch’s phenomenal touchdown, things slowed down for Oakland. Not to give too much credit to New York’s defense, the Raiders offense just stunk up the place.
“We have a lot of guys playing some new spots,” said Carr. “For us, it was just finding the rhythm, staying the course – because we knew our plan was good. We were just making sure that we stayed the course because at some point it’s going to flip.”
You have to credit Oakland’s defense for keeping them in the game. Carr’s offense struggled to get in the red zone multiple times. Two back-to-back 3 and out before the Giants tied the game 7-7 to end the 1st quarter. Orleans Darkwa rushed up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown after it took New York half the period to reach the end zone.
The Raiders went for it on 4th and 1 from the 45 but Lynch got stuffed for a loss. Oakland turned it over on downs with 11:45 in second. Bruce Irvin got the strip on his former college teammate Smith and NaVorrow Bowman recovered the fumble. Still unable to get into the red zone, Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a 39-yard field goal.
“That’s the best play in football to me,” Irvin said. “It was a big moment. We pride ourselves on turnovers. We haven’t gotten that many this year, but they’re starting to come. That’s two in two weeks, three in two weeks. They say they come in bunches. We have to keep practicing, keep focusing on that and they’ll continue to come.”
After a botched punt by Marquette King, the Giants got the ball with .46 remaining in second quarter. The Raiders got a neutral zone infraction penalty for 5 yards and put New York at 1st and goal. But Khalil Mack got the sack on Smith and the strip for the fumble. Oakland was able to hold on while the clock ran out making it a 10-7 game to end the half.
“It’s all about the communication, us all being accountable,” Bowman said. “It’s doing a great job making sure everyone is on the same page. Coach [Jack Del Rio] said it earlier this week, ‘respect all teams’. You knew their record wasn’t well but we still went out there with the mentality that they’re capable of winning a game in the NFL.”
By the fourth, the Raiders found their grove but not before a few obstacles in the third. Carr completed a 26-yard pass to Clive Walford for the first down but again came into dangerous territory when he tossed his almost second interception for the day. Luckily, both defenders dropped the ball.
Carr found Johnny Holton for a 14-yard pass but Holton fumbled the ball. Back to Lynch for a 21-yard pass then Hilton followed with 16-yard pass from Carr to setup Washington’s touchdown. But the Giants responded quickly with Smith’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram making it a 17-14 game.
“We sat on the sideline before we got the ball and [offensive coordinator] Todd [Downing] drew up the play,” said Cordarrelle Patterson. “It was just a screen route, we ran it all game but we just did it out of a different formation. He said, just get the ball and we are going to score a touchdown. Unfortunately, I got caught.”
Carr connected with Patterson for 59-yard pass and the 1st down. On what would be the drive that put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, Patterson notched his longest reception of the season. He caught Carr’s pass on the line of scrimmage and scampered down the sideline to set up a Holton’s 9-yard touchdown reception.
“Just one at time,” Del Rio said. “Just like we’ve been doing. We’ve been purposeful in our work. We understand the scenario of where we are and what we need to get done. And what we need to get done is one week at a time.
Keep improving as a football team. Need to stay together no matter what the noise is outside. Sometimes the noise gets loud. Sometimes it gets loud in another direction. For us not to focus on anything but the work, the preparation, the recovery and then going out and competing our tails off.”
In the last two games, Oakland has held their opponent to under 300 total yards. For the first time all season, the Raiders’ defense began the game with three straight three-and-outs. It marked the second week in a row where the defense completed this fete. Oakland now tied for first place in the AFC West with the Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers at 6-6. They’ll face Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday.