Here we are at Week 3 already with the Raiders getting set to take on the Cleveland Browns, which is an Eastern Time Zone game that has been impossible for the Raiders to overcome in recent times. They are hoping things are going to be different this time around as they start out with the ball at the Cleveland 18 yard line.
Oakland had a very nice drive going thanks to several receptions by Amari Cooper. Cooper had All-Pro cornerback Joe Haden covering him but it did little to slow him down as he collected 3 catches for 54 yards on the drive. Unfortunately, the Raiders couldn't punch it in a goal to go situation and settled for a Sebastian Janikowski, 23-yard field goal which put Oakland in the lead 3-0 early on.
The Browns started their first drive at the Raiders 20 yard line after a touchback on the kickoff from the Polish Cannon. They managed to get one first down on the drive but it was only because of a Raiders penalty. Other than that one penalty the Raiders defense was quick to the ball and was putting pressure on the QB. They looked more like the preseason version of the defense than the team that gave up 33 points in each of the first two weeks.
Oakland's offense was not nearly as fluid the 2nd time around thanks to several stuffed runs up the middle. They had to punt after a nice pass break up on 3rd down by the Browns on a deep ball that Derek Carr was slightly late in getting to Michael Crabtree. The first Marquette King punt of the day followed the failed 3rd down and went into the endzone for a touchback.
Cleveland's drive started with a pass bouncing off of a diving D.J. Hayden's hands, and also featured the Raiders first sack of the year which came by the hands of Ray Ray Armstrong to finish the 1st quarter. The first play of the 2nd quarter was a completed pass on 3rd down far short of the 1st down. They punted the ball and it was fair caught at the 12.
Both teams traded 3 and outs after that and then it would have been another 3 and out from the Raiders after that except for a roughing the kicker penalty that gave Oakland a first down. It was a huge penalty because shortly after that the Raiders completed a pass to Amari Cooper for 40 yards where he was able to show off his speed and his strength with a stiff arm as he got the Raiders deep into Browns territory. This time there was no stopping them either has Derek Carr threw a bullet pass to Andre Holmes for the touchdown a few plays later to make the score 10-0 Raiders.
Josh McCown and the Browns finally got a big play on their next drive, a 40 yard completion to their TE Gary Barnidge which was equal to their total yards of offense up to that point in the game. They went to Barnidge again on 3rd down after that for another catch, then another first down pass to the dangerous Travis Benjamin that put the Browns into the Raiders red zone, and they followed that with an explosive first down run to the 1 yard line.
The Raiders defense turned stout at the goal line though. They stuffedthe Browns twice on runs up the middle and had a great pass break up from Malcolm Smith as well. The Browns were going to try to go for it on 4th down but they had a false start penalty that forced them to go with the field goal instead to make the score 10-3. The Browns might have been saved by that penalty, the Raiders defense was ferocious and appeared ready to make another play if not for the false start penalty.
Oakland got the ball back with 1:39 left in the half and started at their own 30 yard line after a nice return from Taiwan Jones. Their first play of the drive was a 20 yard run by Latavius Murray, and their next play was a 36 yard catch and run from Seth Roberts. The two plays took just 30 seconds and had the Raiders down to the Browns 14-yard line. A couple of plays later they got the touchdown with a beautiful toss from Carr to Seth Roberts in the back of the end zone where only Roberts could get the ball.
The touchdown made the score 17-3 Raiders with 18 seconds left, and the Browns just kneeled to end the half once they got the ball back. There was a moment of excitement on the kickoff when the return man fumbled the ball and the Raiders recovered it, but the play was overturned after review even though the ball did seem to move slightly before hitting the ground. It can not be stressed enough, but this was a great first half following their excellent win last week against the Baltimore Ravens,