Everyone in the Raiders’ building is riding high right now after saving their season with a big Thursday night win over the Chiefs. There were some positive records set and milestones hit in that win, but amidst it all, there was another dubious record that was set.
The Raiders have yet to intercept a pass this season. Last week they were among three teams in NFL history to not have an interception through six games according to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press. Both of those teams — the 1997 Titans (Oilers at the time) and 2002 Bills — had multiple interceptions in their 7th game, which means now seven games in, the Raiders stand alone as the first team in NFL history to go seven games into a season without picking off a pass.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio began his postgame press conference by saying that he was sure there were some things the Raiders didn’t do well in their crazy win over the Chiefs that required two plays run after all time had expired on the clock to win it, adding “We’ll have fun with that.”
So, when I asked him about the team still being without an interception, he got a big wry smile on his face.
“Look, we’ve had so many opportunities to catch the ball,” said Del Rio. “We have to catch the ball. I mean, really there’s not much to say on it. We’re in position to catch the ball. We’re not catching it. We have to catch it. We’ll get the jugs out and make sure we’re catching it more. We had a lot of opportunities over the last few weeks. We haven’t had any yet. We’ll keep working at it.”
One particular opportunity Thursday night for the Raiders stands out like a sore thumb. It came midway through the third quarter with the Chiefs down 21-10 lining up in 3rd and 12 at their own 37-yard-line. Alex Smith went deep and safety Keith McGill looked like he would have the interception for sure. He undercut Albert Wilson, leapt in the air and it clanked right off his hands. Wilson alertly slowed up, caught ball off the tip and scored the 63-yard touchdown.
There's missed opportunities. And then there's this. pic.twitter.com/tIvuB75lXd— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) October 21, 2017
As Del Rio said, the Raiders have had a lot of opportunities. That would be one. Alex Smith was taking a chance it would be picked, figuring if it did, it would be like a punt. Not sure he planned for that, however.
Joseph got a hand on a potential pick in the game as well, but it just out of his reach. He has had a few of those this season.
In case you’re wondering, thru seven games last season the Raiders had 7 interceptions and finished with 16 picks which was 9th most in the NFL. There are two other teams in the NFL that have just one interception -- the Dolphins and Panthers.
Reggie Nelson led the Raiders with 5 interceptions last season after having 8 for the Bengals the previous season. Who will be the first Raiders player to get an interception this season? And when?
I’m going with Justin Ellis to get his first career pick. Just cuz that seems like how this would happen.