Talk about a night and day difference between that first half and the second half of the game against the Buffalo Bills. The first half was slow, out of rhythm and lacking in much scoring. The 2nd half though, wow. The Raiders have been doing this every week but I still get surprised by it, this offense is simply incredible.
When the Bills started the 2nd half with two quick touchdowns to take a 15 point lead though it felt like this game was over. The Raiders never come back from that large of deficits, they just don't. Well, they did this time and it's more proof of just how different this team is from the dark years team we have grown so used to.
The post trauma from all those terrible seasons in a row was in full effect when the Bills cruised out the gate in the 2nd half too. There were more than a few Raiders fans livid with their team's performance and inches away from throwing in the towel.
Not Derek Carr and Khalil Mack though, there is absolutely no quit in either one of these star players. It is crazy to think about how great these two are and how much they have changed the culture in Oakland. Not only are they amazing to Raiders fans, they have gotten to be undeniably awesome to the rest of the NFL world too.
I don't know if a team has ever had the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year to separate players in the same season, but it really seems like it is going to happen this year. Carr is too clutch to ignore and the Raiders just keep winning, he is definitely a leading candidate for MVP after his 6th 4th quarter or OT comeback of the season.
Khalil Mack though, he had a slow start to the season but he has to now be considered the frontrunner for DPOY after these past two weeks and the 7 week tear that he has been on in general. His non stop motor got him to Tyrod Taylor to hit his arm and force a key interception and then he clinched the Raiders victory for the 2nd straight week with a strip sack.
To do this against Buffalo though, now that is icing on the cake for Khalil Mack. He played at Buffalo University and considers Buffalo to be HIS city. Yet, when the draft came around the Bills had the chance to grab him they passed and went with Sammy Watkins instead. Watkins has been great when healthy, but there is no doubt that the Raiders are thankful that the Bills made that decision.
Seriously though, 29 unanswered points. 29! That's how the Raiders won this game, with pure domination despite being down that before mentioned 15 points. That is epic territory, and it is just one of a variety of unbelievable ways that Oakland has won this season. Down by 15, NFL record 23 penalties, 18 unanswered points to lose the lead...No Problem!
Not to be overlooked in this victory though was the 1, 2 punch of Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard. The two of them combined for 135 yards on 29 carries and 2 Murray touchdown runs. Those TD runs got Murray past 10 on the season, the first Raiders running back to do so since my namesake Marcus Allen did it so long ago.
As good as Latavius Murray was and usually is, it is Jalen Richard that was even more impressive. His returns were electric and the power he ran with despite his 5'8 stature were the type of things that Raiders legends are made of. DeAndre Washington hasn't been bad at all this season but Jalen Richard has been so good that Washington wasn't even active for this game against the Bills.
Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were their normal great selves, though there was a period of time where if you cursed Crabtree out in your living room it'd have been understandable. He dropped a sure touchdown in the first half and then two plays later had a taunting penalty which was completely unacceptable.
He turned things around the 2nd half with a TD and several key catches, but he really does need to get his anger in check a little bit. These personal foul penalties he is having this year are going to screw the Raiders sooner or later unless he gets his emotions under control. It is a fine line though, he is an emotional player who uses his anger as a tool so he can't get too complacent either.
Last but not least, Marquette King needs to leave the yellow flags alone even if his celebrations are highly entertaining. The Twitterverse blew up with love for King after his latest celebration where he grabbed the refs flag which was thrown because of a roughing the kicker penalty. He then used the flag as a prop in a celebratory dance, which I'm pretty sure is the first I have ever seen a player do that.
Was it hilarious? Yes. Was it something that he should have done or should do again? Absolutely not. It's a penalty whether you think it should be or not, and though it didn't matter this time it could matter a different time. Let's hope that one is a one and done for the greatest punter in the league though.
Now the Raiders have the biggest game have the season coming up against the one team that thoroughly dominated them earlier this year, Kansas City. It's going to be a very tough, primetime Thursday Night game that very easily could end up deciding the division all together.
These Raiders are not the same team that played the first time around, that was an odd game that was in terrible, rainy weather and directly after funding approval in Las Vegas. The team was as flat as could be and did not play well at any point, win or lose things should be much different this time.
Enjoy this big win against Buffalo for another day or two but then it will be on to KC very quickly. Hopefully we will get to really celebrate after a Raiders victory in Missouri, because if not a loss is going to be very painful even in this dominant of a season. One thing is for certain, Derek Carr and Khalil Mack will be ready to put it all on the line against the Chiefs.