The regular season for the Oakland Raiders has officially begun! Just not in a great fashion. They started out with the ball but they did nothing with it. They had 2 incomplete passes and a short 2 yard run by Latavius Murray before a 39 yard punt by Marquette King.
The Bengals on the other hand had no issues at all moving the football, they went right through the defense on an 11 play, 59 yard drive for a touchdown to make the score 7-0. The Raiders defense did come up strong once the Bengals were inside the 10 yard line where they forced the Bengals into a 4th and 1 situation. However, when they stuffed the middle on 4th down Jeremy Hill managed to bounce away from the defense and take it outside for the touchdown.
It looked like more of the same after 2 ugly incompletions to start the Raiders 2nd drive, but then they had a nice 3rd down conversion with a throw on the run to a diving Michael Crabtree. Unfortunately they couldn't follow it up with anything else and had to punt again. King's 2nd punt was even worse than his first as it only went 32 yards and set up the Bengals to start at their own 31 yard line.
This time the Raiders stopped the Bengals after they got just one first down and forced them to punt for the first time of the day. Their punter did a much better job as his 37 yard punt was fair caught at the Raiders 7 yard line. The end of the first quarter got pretty heated after a taunting penalty after a big hit on Amari Cooper gave the Raiders a first down and the Raiders followed up with a late hit penalty on Rodney Hudson after Cooper had a big gain on the last play of the quarter.
The penalty on Hudson was obviously very costly, taking the momentum away after th long play by the Raiders rookie Cooper. The Raiders still had a first down from the big play but they went 3 and out and were forced to punt again. Marquette King must believe the 3rd time is the charm because his 3rd punt was much better than the previous 2 with it going 45 yards where it was fair caught at the Cincinnati 8 yard line.
The Bengals wasted no time in getting back into the red zone, they had a 28 yard pass play to Mohamed Sanu followed up by a 31 yard pass to TE Tyler Eifert. They then had a short pass to Sanu for 6 yards and luckily a dropped TD by A.J. Green to force a 3rd and 4 from the Raiders 14. The Raiders got good pressure on Andy Dalton who dumped it off to A.J. Green in the flat where Oakland was able to stop him short of the 1st down. That forced the Bengals settled for the 32 yard field goal and increased their lead to 10-0.
Oakland started off their following drive with a 6 yard run by Latavius Murray followed by an explosive run by Marcel Reece. Unfortunately, there was an obvious hold from Austin Howard that opened up the hole for the 62 yard run. There ended up being offsetting penalties because a bit of a melee followed with personal fouls called on both so all the action meant absolutely nothing.
After the chaos was corralled the Raiders eventually had a 3rd down scramble from Derek Carr who looked to get the 1st down but he fumbled the ball backwards so they ended up just short. Carr tried to stiff arm Adam Jones and appeared to have hurt his hand. Despite their starter being injured and taken to the locker room, the Raiders still tried to go for it on 4th and 1 but their boring run up the middle was stopped easily for a turnover on downs.
After the questionable decision by Jack Del Rio to go for it on 4th down the Bengals got to start their next drive on the Raiders 44 yard line. The Bengals got yet another big play down the seam on 3rd down to A.J.Green for a 31 yard gain to the Oakland 11 yard line. The defense forced a 3rd down on that set of downs but D.J. Hayden gave them an easy first after he mauled A.J. Green in the end zone for defensive holding. The Bengals then smashed easily through the middle of the defense for a 2nd touchdown run by Jeremy Hill to make the score 17-0 with just over 2 minutes left in the half.
Matt McGloin came out to lead the Raiders on their last drive of the half because Derek Carr was still in the locker room with an apparent hand injury. His drive consisted of a dropped screen pass by Seth Roberts, a Carlos Dunlap sack, and then after the 2 minute warning came a 12 yard run on 3rd and 16 by Latavius Murray. It was another pretty good punt from Marquette King but Adam Jones had a nice return to the Cincinnati 39 yard line where the Bengals took over with 1:03 left.
One minute from midfield is plenty of time in the NFL, proven yet again by the Bengals who quickly moved into Raiders territory with an 18 yard completion to Tyler Eifert, a 13 yard run by Giovani Bernard and then a 14 yard catch and run from Bernard again. One of the few bright spots for the Raiders came after that with T.J. Carrie making a great play to stop a TD reception 2nd down, but they got the TD after that anyway with yet another catch by Tyler Eifert.
If you had imagined what the worst possible circumstances would be after just one half of football to the season, it would be the Raiders down by 20-some points with Derek Carr injured. That is exactly where we sit now with the halftime score being 24-0 Bengals and Derek Carr's injury severity being completely unknown. The comments section in the 2nd half should be some what entertaining, though the same can not be assumed for the football game.