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Raiders preseason week 2 Ballers & Busters vs Rams

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Happy eclipse day, everyone. Basically the opposite of whatever the Raiders defense is doing these days. While the moon will be blocking the sun, the Raiders can’t block even the lowly Rams from scoring.

Those Rams, led by former Cal Bear Jared Goff, scored on three of four first half drives Saturday to take a 17-14 lead at the half. The Raiders offense was able to keep pace so long as the first team offense was in the game.

With each team’s backups fighting it out in the third quarter, neither was doing any scoring. Then both teams scored again late with their roster hopefuls going at it.

There were a few positives in the Raiders’ performance. Mostly from the one man wrecking crew you expect to dominate.

Ballers

Khalil Mack

The Rams ran in the vicinity of Khalil Mack on the first play and he got a piece of the runner to stop him for a loss. Later in the drive, he came around the right edge and was held so badly, he was spun around, and yet there was no call. He STILL nearly sacked Goff, who was able to find an open receiver for a 25-yard catch and run. Not sure what it takes for a guy to get a holding call, cuz that one was pretty obvious.

With no doubt some anger from the no-call on the previous drive, Mack went hunting. On the first pass play the Rams put two tight ends on him and he bulled it way through both of them to destroy Goff on the sack. The ten-yard loss on the play resulted in the only stalled drive of the Rams’ first half.

Mack added another pressure to force an incompletion on the next drive. But, again, he can’t do it alone. He made a go at it though, finishing with 1.0 sack, 3 pressures, 4 tackles, and 2.0 tackles for loss in just 20 snaps.

First team Oline

And I mean all five. That’s, from left to right, Marshall Newhouse, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Vadal Alexander. They played a full half of near flawless football. None gave up so much as a pressure on Derek Carr while most of them were pushing the defense around in the run game.

Osemele and Newhouse laid key blocks on Marshawn Lynch’s first run that went for six yards. Osemele had another couple blocks on a couple run plays on the Raiders’ second scoring drive. Jackson and Hudson had a couple run blocks and Alexander helped out on a 10-yard run late in the first half.

The Raiders still need to get Donald Penn back into the fold, but Saturday was promising for the tackle fill-ins.

Cory James

Another outstanding performance from James. He helped Mack stuff that first run of the game for a loss. He then made the tackle on third and 15 following the Mack sack to hold the Rams to a three-and-out. After the Rams had converted four third downs on their final drive of the first half, James made sure they didn’t get the fifth, flying over to stop a bubble screen for a short gain. He finished tied for second on the team with 6 combined tackles.

Amari Cooper

It’s good to have him back. That’s what Derek Carr is saying right now. Cooper led the Raiders with 3 catches for 46 yards. The big one saw him in triple coverage up the right sideline. He put a vicious double move on his defender to get behind him, but Carr didn’t lead him on the pass, so Coop climbed the ladder for a spectacular leaping grab for 31 yards. Three plays later, the Raiders were in the end zone for their second touchdown.

Derek Carr

Carr had good numbers in the game, and led the Raiders on two touchdown drives. But to honest, he wasn’t at his best. His first touchdown pass, however, he threw an absolute laser to Lee Smith on a seam route for a 19-yard touchdown. It was a 16-yard pass to Jared Cook on a slant that helped get them there.

The second drive began with a 9-yard hookup with Coop on a comebacker. But it ended two plays later with a Carr and Crabtree miscommunication (Crab went out and Carr threw in) resulting in Carr throwing an easy interception to Trumaine Johnson.

The following drive, he connected with Coop for six yards, then two plays later went for Coop again, but put too much air under the ball, allowed the defender time to knock it down. The next play he was called for delay of game. Two plays later was the 31-yard pass to Coop. The pass really should have been out in front of Coop, who had broken past his defender on the double move. Luckily Coop recognized what he needed to do to come down with the ball, so he went up and got it.

A couple plays later, Carr threw a simple quick pass to Michael Crabtree on a tight slant. Crabtree did the rest, putting his foot in the ground and cutting back left, breaking the ankles (so to speak) of the Troy Hill and running it in for the touchdown. Tying it up at 14-14, Carr’s day was done, completing 7 of 9 passes for 100 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception.

James Cowser

The king of the preseason is at it again. Cowser showed great discipline and it paid off for him several times. With the Rams charging for their third score of the game, Jared Goff rolled right, looking to pick up yards with his feet. He saw Cowser running up to stop him and wisely ran out of bounds instead for a 1-yard gain. That set up 3rd and 12 and they failed to convert and settled for the field goal. At the end of the first half, the Rams got one play. It was a run up the middle and Cowser stuffed it for no gain.

On the first Rams drive of the second half, Cowser showed off his coverage skills by knocking down a short pass. It set up third and 8 and the Rams didn’t convert. He later stuffed a run for a loss.

Marquette King

King was launching skyshots all game long. He had five punts in the game, and four of them were moon shots. NASA said they were concerned it may result in changing the moon’s orbit and cause a cancellation of the eclipse.

His first punt didn’t happen until the final seconds of the second quarter. He sent it high in the air and the return man stayed away from it, allowing it to settle at the 7-yard-line and eliminate any chance the Rams would have of using the final :40 seconds to get back in scoring range.

His second punt went 51 yards and had enough hangtime to let the coverage team get down there to stop the return for a loss at the 23-yard-line. His next punt went 55 yards with a return of 6 yards and a holding penalty pushing it back to the 22-yard-line – 59 yards from the line of scrimmage. His next punt went 45 yards and was downed at the 10-yard-line. He had a 44.4 yard net average with two downed inside the 20.

Justin Ellis

In just 11 snaps, Ellis collected 4 tackles (1 solo). He stayed with a run on the first drive that had driven back several linemen and linebacker to hold it to three yards. He also had a run stuff for a two yard gain a bit later. If there was a good run that went through his position in this game I didn’t see it.

Tyrell Adams

The Raiders first team middle linebacker throughout the offseason, Adams played like it Saturday. He came in to start the second half and quickly had a run stuff. The next play, he came on a blitz to force an incompletion.

Late in the third quarter, he made the tackle on a short catch to set up 3rd and 16, then navigated through traffic to seek out the ball carrier on a screen and stop them short of the first down.

Connor Cook

Cook came in late in the third quarter and got three drives in this game. Two of those drives didn’t go well. But the one that did go well, Cook looked like a different player than he’s shown up to this point.

His second series, he converted on three third downs. The first he connected with Keon Hatcher for 15 yards on third and 10, then threw a perfect pass away from defenders to Pharaoh Brown for 6 yards on third and 3, then converted third and 5 on a pass to George Atkinson III for 8 yards. A run set the Raiders up at the 17-yard-line and Cook threw probably the best pass I’ve ever seen him make. Johnny Holton got a step on his defender on a corner route and Cook placed it perfectly on his hands on the fade for the score.

The Rams would take back the lead and give Cook a chance to play the hero with 1:05 left in the game, but he couldn’t find the magic he had on that one drive. At least we know he has it in him. That one drive won’t win him the backup job, but it may earn him more opportunities to see if he can duplicate it.

David Sharpe

The rookie fourth round pick led the team in snaps (38) and played mistake-free football in that time, lining up at the left tackle spot. That’s very good news for the team’s hopes for him. Though they’d prefer not to need him right away.

Honorable mention

Lee Smith – He bobbled and hauled in a pass over the middle from Carr for the team’s first touchdown from 19 yards out. But his penalty for illegal shift took a first down off the board and led the Derek Carr interception on the next drive.

Nicholas Morrow — He showed some of his size limitations, but also made a couple fantastic plays, slicing through for a 6-yard tackle for loss, and reading and nearly picking off a pass late in the game.

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