By Barbara Mason
Sunday afternoon under sunny skies the Oakland Raiders took on a struggling New York Giant team who stand at 2-9. The Giants took the field without Eli Manning at the helm because he has been nothing short of horrific. Geno Smith would take his place. The Raiders won the toss and would defer.
The Giants would go three and out when the Raider defense broke up two Smith passes in a very nice start for the D. Oakland would go on offense and the Beast would work his magic. On third and one, Lynch would break loose and romp for 51 yards, a touchdown and after three plays the Raiders led 7-0.
The Giants second series went much as the first with a three and out. The Black and Silver defense was even more commanding in New York’s second series. Although this game was considered a very winnable game, we have seen great teams brought to their knees in these “winnable”games. One cause for concern on special teams was Jalen Richard’s ball handling, fumbling on one punt and dropping a second.
As the first quarter came to an end the Giants would tie up the game with a one yard rush by Orleans Darkwa into the end zone. The Raiders had gone silent. Quarterback Derek Carr had passed for only 7 yards in the opening quarter.
At 11:45 Oakland would go for a 4th and one and fail when Marshawn Lynch was unable to convert. The game had really stalled out for Oakland. The Raiders 3rd down efficiency was 33%. The magic that Oakland had started with was nowhere to be found. At 8:53 in the second quarter the Oakland defense came to life and forced a fumble on their own 32 yard line.
Although the Raiders were unable to turn that recovery into 7 points, Giorgio Travecchio did kick a 39 yard field goal for a Raider lead 10-7.
With 45 seconds left in the half Oakland suffered a blocked punt and just like that the New York Giants had a first and goal. The hot start for Oakland had turned icy cold. With 35 seconds left a massive defensive Kalil Mack hit knocked the ball loose and the Raiders had dodged a bullet. Oakland would take the slim 10-7 lead into the locker room.
Mid-way through the third quarter Oakland suffered another loss when Donald Penn can up lame, another starter lost joining Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. When the Raiders had a nice-looking drive going a long pass to Johnny Holton was fumbled and recovered by the Giants. Again it was the offense with drops, turnovers and generally ineffective play that was hurting the team. It was the defense that was keeping the Silver and Black in this game.
With 10:18 left in the game it was another running back that would find the end zone. DeAndre Washington would rush for 9 yards extending the Raider lead 17-7. The Giants would answer and with just over five minutes left in the game the score was 17-14. The Oakland offense would have to step up. That is exactly what they did when Carr completed a swing pass to Cordarrelle Patterson for 59 yards to the Giant 5 yard line. Johnny Holton would catch a Carr pass that he very nearly fumbled but had crossed the plane and the Raiders had sealed the game 24-17. The Giants kicker Rosas would kick a 52 yard field goal.
Watch for post-game press conference with Head Coach Jack Del Rio.