Sunday the Raiders welcomed one of their tougher opponents of the season in the Packers. They hung around most of the game, and if not for a few key mistakes, they may have had a shot at winning the game.
That's what makes teams like the Packers so good. They don't make those mistakes and they capitalize on their opponents' missteps. The Raiders showed they have some young potential talent, but also that they have a ways to go to clean things up to become the team they hope to be. The result was a 30-20 defeat on a day that the Packers clinched a playoff spot and the Raiders were officially eliminated.
Last week Cooper had arguably his worst game of the season. He came into the game needing 80 yards to reach 1000 yards on the season and came away without a catch on 8 targets. Somehow you just knew Amari was going to bounce back to have one of his best games the following week. Not only did he reach the coveted 1000-yard mark - the first Raider to do so in a decade - he did it in decisive fashion.
He ended his streak without a catch on the second play of the game, though it went for just two yards. When he saw his next pass, the Raiders were down 14-0 late in the first quarter. The second of the Packers two touchdowns was an interception by first round rookie Damarious Randall that was returned 43 yards for the score. Two plays into the following possession, Cooper burned Randall so bad he had to grab him to keep from giving up a long touchdown and was called for pass interference.
A couple plays later on the same drive Cooper got wide open over the middle and took the pass for 26 yards. Had the field not been a slipper mess, he may have done a lot more, but when he tried to make a move, he slipped down after 26 yards. The Raiders would settle for a field goal.
At the end of the first half, the Raiders had their third shot at the end zone and this time didn't need to settle for a field goal. Cooper got behind several defenders and Derek Carr found him for the touchdown from 19 yards out to pull within one at 14-13 at the half.
The Packers were able to add a field goal to begin the second half to extend the lead to 17-14. But the Raiders would take it back in large part to a huge 41-yard over-the-shoulder grab by Cooper on the second play of the Raiders possession. A few plays later, the final 26 yards of the drive were on a second AC/DC touchdown connection, this time from 26 yards out to give the Raiders their first lead of the game at 20-17.
Cooper had gone over the 1000-yard mark with his 41-yard catch and added to it with his 26-yard TD. He finished the game with six catches for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. That put him at 1040 yards on the season; the most by a Raiders wide receiver since 2002 when Jerry Rice had 1211 yards receiving.
Every game, he just keeps piling onto his already impressive pass defended total. He had three in this game to bring him to 24 on the season and even added an interception. He gave up five catches for 37 yards (7.4 ypc) and was second on the team with 6 tackles, all solo.
He had tight coverage on an incompletion on the Packers first second possession which led to their second three-and-out of the game. Late in the second quarter he had his first pass defended. Aaron Rodgers thought he had James Jones open on a go route, but Amerson closed on it to knock it down. He made the final tackle of the first half on an 8-yard catch.
Amerson made the final play of the Packers' first drive of the second half when he had his second pass defended, this time on third and two from the 6-yard-line to force a short field goal. Hold the Packers to a field goal allowed the Raiders to take the lead with their next touchdown.
The Packers were able to take the lead back on their next possession when the Raiders got their lines crossed. Amerson says it wasn't a miscommunication when he played the short zone and no one picked up James Jones on the deep route. He and TJ Carrie both took the short zone and Charles Woodson suddenly had to choose which of two receivers to cover deep. The result was a 30-yard touchdown.
The Packers' final score came on a field goal midway through the fourth quarter on a drive that was kept out of the end zone thanks to Amerson's third pass defended. The next Packers possession ended on the second play when Amerson picked off the Rodgers pass at the one-yard-line. Another great game for Amerson.
As is often the case, Smith led the team in tackles. He had seven in this game, all solo. Two of those were for a loss. He made his presence felt early, making two run stuffs on the Packers first possession for a three-and-out. The final stuff was for a loss on third down.
He stopped a Packers' drive in the second quarter with a tackle on a 7-yard catch on third and 8. That was also the only catch Packers tight end Richard Rodgers would have in the game on four targets.
Smith added his second tackle for loss in the third quarter with the Packers at the 2-yard-line and it helped hold them to a field goal to keep it a one score game at 27-20. He had a missed tackle that began a big 25-yard run later in the game, but that one misstep in no way overshadows his fine performance.
He had three run stuffs and was in on a fourth. He added a pressure to force an incompletion and blocked the Packers late field goal attempt from 49 yards out. He does that. It's kind of his thing.
Latavius Murray - Murray was a major part of the Raiders second scoring drive. On the drive, he ran four times for 39 yards. The final run put the Raiders in field goal range to pull them to within one score at 14-6. He picked up a first down on 4th and one on the Raiders final touchdown drive. He finished with 78 yards on 21 carries (3.7 ypc).
Michael Crabtree - He had a 6-yard catch on the Raiders' first scoring drive. Their second drive featured a 5-yard catch by Crabtree along with an impressive over-the-shoulder catch for 23 yards to set up their second field goal of the day. He made a similar catch for an 18-yard gain late in the game, followed up shortly by an 11-yard grab on third and 10.
Jon Feliciano - He wasn't perfect. He gave up a couple run stuffs. But he also laid some big blocks on big plays including a 12-yard run on the Raiders first drive, a 22-yard run on the Raiders' second scoring drive, and Reece's 29-yard screen play on the Raiders first touchdown drive. Nice work for his first start.
Shelby Harris - Despite playing just 12 snaps, he was third on the team with 5 tackles, all solo. One of those tackles was a run stuff for no gain on third and 2.
His first punt traveled must 24 yards in the air and went out of bounds at the 27-yard-line. Later in the first half, he booted a monster punt that went 60 yards and was downed at the 2-yard-line.
Late in the third quarter he punted one 52 yards that was downed at the 5-yard-line. But his next punt was plain terrible. It had no lift and went 37 yards in a hurry. It resulted in a 10-yard return and set the Packers up to take their final lead at 30-20.