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Raiders week 2 Ballers & Busters vs Ravens

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In a back and forth shootout like this one, there is a lot of praise as well as blame to be handed out. Though since the Raiders were triumphant in the end, you can figure there will be more kudos than finger wagging.

The Raiders jumped out to an early lead in this game, going up 10-0 in the first four minutes of the game. This would go out throughout the game . The Raiders would pull ahead only to see the Ravens come back and tie it. It wasa 10-10 at the end of one and 20-20 at the half. Then the Raiders would win the third quarter going up 30-20, only to watch the Ravens score 13 unanswered to take the lead at 33-30 with just over 2 minutes in the game.

Crunch time, moment of truth, and the Raiders needed a field goal to tie and they did one better by punching it into the end zone for a 37-33 win. With an offensive showing like that along with the defense giving up 33 point for the season week in a row, you can bet that will bear itself out in this week's B&B.


Derek Carr

He wasn't perfect in this game, including throwing what could have been a devastating interception late in the fourth quarter. Though in his defense, his follow-thru was disrupted by on oncoming rusher. Aside from that, had a lot of great moments including taking the Raiders offense by the reins in the 2-minute drill and driving them for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

On the first possession of the game, Carr and the Raiders offense were set up in third and 8 at their own 32-yard-line. Then Carr made a fantastic anticipation throw for Amari Cooper who hadn't even broken open yet. When Cooper broke open, the ball was there and he raced up the left sideline for a 68-yard touchdown.

The Raiders would get the ball back after one play, but a couple Carr overthrows had them settling for a field goal and a 10-0 lead. Carr couldn't put anything together the rest of the first quarter as the Ravens came back to tie it up. But as soon as the second quarter began, he was back in business. Under pressure, he connected with Michael Crabtree for 16 yards to begin the drive. A few plays later he rolled right and hooked up with Crabtree again for a 37-yarder up the right sideline. The next play he threaded the needle to Andre Holmes for a 21-yard completion that was stopped at the one-yard-line and was punched in on the next play.

Late in the third quarter, with the Raiders up 23-20, the offense moved near midfield and in two plays were once again in the end zone. The first was a designed bootleg run win which Carr showed off his wheels to sprint for 24 yards up the left sideline. He was sure not to try and stiff arm anyone this time either. Then on the next play he rolled left again, this time spotting Crabtree on the opposite side of the field and throwing across his body for a 29-yard touchdown. It was not a pretty pass, but it got there and that's what matters.

The Ravens would score on their first two possessions of the fourth quarter to tie it up. To make matters worse, on his interception, Carr didn't step into a throw before having his hand hit on his follow-thru. As a result the pass intended for a streaking Crabtree became an arching duck that was easily intercepted. The Ravens would add a field goal out of it for a 33-30 lead.

Then Carr had his finest moment. He completed 7 of his nine passes on the ensuing drive, finishing it off with a perfect strike to Seth Roberts for the 12-yard touchdown. Dagger.

Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes

In that order. Crabtree had his best game in three years with 9 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Cooper shook off early nerves again to put up 109 yards and a touchdown of his own. Seth Roberts came out of nowhere to catch the game-winner. Andre Holmes had several key grabs and finished with 3 catches for 50 yards.

Cooper got it started when he showed his supreme route running and quickness to shake Ravens' top corner Jimmy Smith and fly up the sideline for the game opening touchdown. He was a steady performer the rest of the day, keeping the ball moving down the field.

Holmes had a 21-yard catch on the Raiders' third drive. Early in the second quarter he made a tough catch in double coverage and immediately took a hard hit and held onto the ball to set the Raiders up at the one-yard-line where they would score on the next play for a 17-10 lead. In the third quarter he picked up a key third down with an 8-yard catch and that set up the touchdown for a 30-20 lead.

Crabtree was all over the place. He forced a pass interference on the Ravens to start the Raiders' second series. He had a 12-yard catch on their third series, a 16-yard catch to begin their fourth series and on the next play broke open up the right sideline for a 37-yard catch to the 22-yard line. The Raiders scored a touchdown two plays later.

He had a 4-yard first down catch on the next drive to help set up a field goal and had another three-yard catch for a first down on third and three to set up another field goal. The next drive, he had a 5-yard catch on third and three, and finished off the drive by getting open on the backside of the play to catch a 29-yard touchdown.

On the Raiders' final, game-winning drive, he had a huge 14-yard catch that set the Raiders up at the 17-yard-line with :46 seconds remaining. A couple plays later, Seth Robert went on a post pattern and caught the final go-ahead touchdown.

Masterful job by this group of receivers.

Latavius Murray

Even though he didn't receive the ball near as many times as the Raiders claimed he would, he made the most of his limited carries. All day long he was picking up good chunks of yardage to keep the offense within reach of the sticks. Several times, he looked to be stopped at the line or in the backfield only to escape trouble and pick up positive yardage. He scored the Raiders' second touchdown of the day on a 1-yard run.

Murray also added some key receptions to this total. He caught a pass in the flat, broke a tackle and picked up 12 yards on the first play of the Raiders' final drive. A few plays later, in third and 3, he caught a dump pass and went for 7 yards. He finished with 65 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries (4.3 yards per carry) along with 3 catches for 22 yards.

Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson, J'Marcus Webb, Austin Howard

Honestly, this is not me being lazy. What a game by all five of the Raiders' starting offensive linemen. The standout of the group was Gabe Jackson who was an absolute monster as a run-blocker, including blocking two Ravens' defenders on Latavius Murray's 1-yard touchdown run.

Each of Hudson and Webb had key blocks on Murray runs as well to help him with his impressive 4.3 yards per carry. While Penn and Howard kept Carr clean nearly the entire day with the one exception being Penn allowing pressure on Carr on his late interception. There was officially one sack but it was on a roll out that Carr took out of bounds.

All five of these guys gave Carr plenty of time to throw as well as Murray and Taiwan Jones good blocks and room to find positive yardage.

Neiko Thorpe

I keep saying that touchdown pass from Carr to Roberts was the game-winner. But there was still :26 seconds left on the clock in which for Joe Flacco and the Ravens to try and drive for a score. That ended in one play when Thorpe chased down a Flacco pass to intercept it and officially seal the win.

All told, Thorpe was a boom or bust player in this game. Without that game-ending pick, he probably would have been a Betweener.

Late in the first half, Thorpe gave up a catch and missed the tackle for a 20-yard gain. Then he made up for it with a coverage incompletion and a pass defended in the end zone to help hold the Ravens to a field goal heading into the half. He had tight coverage to end a series with an incompletion early in the third quarter.

On the following drive, he gave up a 13-yard catch and a 26-yard catch only to end the drive with another pass defended to force them to settle for a field goal. Next drive he gave up a catch that went for 38 yards to help set up the game-tying touchdown at 30-30. In total, he made more plays than he missed and put a stamp on it at the end. He also led the team with 3 passes defended.

TJ Carrie

While Thorpe took the ball from the Ravens on the final play, Carrie took it away on their very first play. Ravens receiver Kamar Aiken caught a short pass and Carrie was right there to make the tackle and knock the ball out. The Raiders took over at the Ravens' 29-yard line and added a field goal for a 10-0 lead just under 4:00 into the game. That lead set the pace for the day.

On the next Ravens' possession, Carrie was lights out. He had a tackle on a 4-yard run, a coverage incompletion, and on third down had tight coverage again for an incompletion to force them to settle for a field goal.

The only big play Carrie gave up was a missed tackle on a 38-yard catch which helped set up the Ravens' game-tying touchdown at 30-30. Other than that all he had was an inconsequential holding penalty after which the Ravens had to kick a field goal anyway as time was running out. In total, he gave up 3 catches on 7 targets to his receivers for a total of 39 yards. One of those was the play on which he forced the fumble.

Sebastian Janikowski

Three field goal attempts, three field goals made. Only one of those was a true chip shot (23 yards). The other two were from 46 and 48 yards out. Though Seabass made them all look like chip shots. He had 8 kickoffs with 7 of them for a touchback. The other he kicked to the one-yard-line and it was returned 29 yards to the 30. The Ravens then drove for their first score on a field goal.

Honorable Mention

Marquette King - Had a career long 70-yard punt in the game. One of just two punts on the day. And those holding duties seem to be going well with Janikowski's perfect day.


Malcom Smith

He was second on the team with 12 tackles (7 solo). But he also tied for the team lead with 3 missed tackles. There was one time where he was put on Steve Smith Sr in coverage but I don't really fault him for that. On the Ravens' final drive of the first half Smith had two missed tackles and was called for holding on third and 11 which gave the Ravens a first down at the 11-yard-line.

The first series of the second half, ended with Smith in on a tackle for loss and then a tackle short of the first down on third and long.  He had another run stuff on the next drive for a one-yard gain. Then early in the fourth, on first down at the 13-yard line, he was out of position to give up a 6-yard run. They would score a touchdown on the next play.

Smith helped stop the final Ravens' drive by keeping his gap assignment to force the running back to try outside where he was stopped for a 2-yard gain. They would settle for a field goal a few plays later. On an overall long day for the defense, Smith had his moments both good and bad.

DJ Hayden

He was second on the team with 2 passes defended. He also gave up 5 catches on 8 targets. The first Ravens drive, Hayden gave up a 7-yard first down catch and had a pass defended in the end zone to help hold them to a field goal. Late in the first half he gave up a 23-yard catch that helped set up a field goal to tie the game at half, 20-20.

He had another pass defended in the third quarter on a five-play series. Later in the quarter, he gave up a 14-yard catch and then left the game hurt. The Ravens added another field goal at the end of that drive. He caught a big break late in the fourth when he was beaten by Steve Smith Sr on what could easily have been a touchdown except Flacco slightly overthrew Smith and it was ruled incomplete, forcing them to settle for a field goal.

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