Rookies lift Raiders in win over Bengals

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Photo by Joe Na/Raiders website

Oakland – The Raiders continue their winning ways at the helm of a few rookies.  Maxx Crosby recorded a career-high four sacks on Ryan Finely and Travyon Mullen recorded his first NFL interception.  Another great effort from the rookies in handing the Cincinnati Bengals their tenth loss of the season.

The Raiders 17-10 victory over the Bengals put them in first (6-4) place tied with the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.  With 1:54 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati got the ball.  Finley went deep with a pass intended for Alex Erikson but Mullen was there with great coverage and intercepted the ball to secure Oakland’s third consecutive win.

“I’ll be honest, we had a good first round draft choice that nobody has really even met yet,” said Jon Gruden.  “I think he could be a difference maker.  The poise and the production and the professionalism that they play with and come to work with is something everybody would be impressed with.”

It was an interesting start for the Raiders, unable to score on Opening drive and in the first quarter, the Bengals took advantage off an Oakland turnover early.  On Cincinnati’s first series Finely was sacked by Crosby who forced him to fumble.  Crosby recovered, putting the Raiders in good field position but Josh Jacobs fumbled and Nick Vigil recovered for the Bengals. 

That setup Finely’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon in the end zone making it a 7-0 game to end the first.  Oakland tied the game and took the lead in the second quarter when Derek Carr found an open Foster Moreau for a 2-yard touchdown tying the game 7-7.  Then Carr scrambled and leaped into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown to end the half 14-7. 

Crosby recorded his first career multi-sack game with 4.0 sacks, tied for the second-most sacks in NFL history by a rookie in a single game and the most by a rookie in franchise history.  Crosby is one of six players in the NFL with at least three sacks (6.5), three forced fumbles (three) and three passes defense (three) in 2019.  

He ranks first in franchise history with 6.5 sacks through a players’s first 10 career games.  Josh Jacobs continues to lead all rushers in the first half with 74 yards on 12 carries.  He recorded his fourth career 100-yard rushing game, surpassing Marcus Allen’s franchise record for the most 100-yard contests by a rookie. 

“I had a good game, but it was a collective unit coming together,” Crosby said.  “We rushed well all day.  I feel like we started it with [Los Angeles], and we just kept getting better.”

We just bought in,” said Jacobs on the rookie class.  “Like I said when we came in, the rookie class came in together and we came to an agreement that we were going to do things the right way and build this program.  We wanted to try and shape it back to the Raider culture and back to what we feel like dominating football is.  Just to see how we are all coming in and trying to keep that promise and execute every week has been huge.”

By the third quarter, the Raiders defense continued to dominate Cincinnati and shut down their offense.  Finley struggled and they scored once when Randy Bullock kicked a 40-yard field goal to cut the lead down to four.  It seemed like a hopeful situation but the Bengals never scored again.  

To make matters worse, Cincinnati lost their top receiver Auden Tate.  Tate made a 20-yard catch on third down, he was sprawled out on the field for a few seconds before team doctors ran out forcing him to stay still.  Tate suffered a neck injury and was carted off the field and taken to a nearby hospital.  

Oakland didn’t do too much on offense in the second half.  Daniel Carlson kicked a 20-yard field goal making it a 17-10 game and that was all the Raiders needed for the win.  Carr passed for 292 yards and a touchdown, Jacobs had his fourth 100-yard game in the last six weeks.  

The wins snaps Oakland’s three-game losing streak to the Bengals dating back to 2009. The Raiders continue to dominate as the home team throughout the series, improving to 13-2 in both Oakland and Los Angeles.  They also lead the NFL with 10 sacks among rookie defenders and are the only team to have at least two rookies with at least three sacks apiece.

“I’m really proud of our team,” Gruden said.  “I compliment the Bengals.  They fought their heart out.  It was great for all of football.  If you’re a young football player, there are no standings.  There are no stats. There are no records.  The ball is snapped, you play hard and anything can happen and that was one of those games today.  Maxx Crosby [had] four sacks.  D.J. Swearinger was here for two days, and he leads our team in tackles.  Trayvon Mullen, another rookie, had a key interception.”

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