Ho-hum! Another week, another victory. This must be what it used to feel like to be a Patriots fan, before all their players died of dysentery. The Raiders were favored in this game by 15 points and won by 25. That’ll show you, Vegas!
There was a lot that went right today and, let’s be honest, not much that went wrong. That is similar to Week 1, when the Raiders played a tighter game against a vastly superior team in Tennessee, who spanked Jacksonville today. So let’s take a look at who starred and who should be barred:
1) The Raiders’ death-machine offense
The fact that the Raiders are going to be able to march down the field and score at will appears to be a historical inevitability at this point. Derek Carr went 23/28 for 230 yards and three touchdown passes, all to Michael Crabtree. The Jets put their best corner, Morris Claiborne, on Amari Cooper all day and dared Carr to go to other players. He did, and at no point did New York appear able to stop him, slow him down, or otherwise impede him in any fashion.
The Raiders also rushed for 180 yards on 27 carries, an average of 6.7 yards per rush. That’s incredible against a team with a defensive interior as talented as the Jets. Marshawn Lynch had 12 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown, but I’ll get to him later. Jalen Richard had the big run, a 58-yard touchdown scamper on a toss play. The Jets were hopelessly outclassed all around.
2) The Raiders’ defense
For the second straight week, the Raiders’ defense came to play. The Jets scored two touchdowns in the game- one was aided by the refs and the other came in complete garbage time with the Raiders up by nearly 30 points. They sacked Jets QB Josh McCown four times. Khalil Mack and Karl Joseph each had one, and Mario Edwards Jr. got two. The presence of Edwards and fellow lineman Eddie Vanderdoes is having a huge impact on Oakland’s ability to both rush the passer and stop the run this season.
3) Gareon Conley
The Raiders’ first-round pick this year, Conley missed all of preseason and Week 1 with a shin injury. He was healthy for this one and he came to play. In the first quarter, the Jets threw a long pass to the left side, and Conley was right with his man. He leapt and got a hand on the ball, and knowing he could not make the pick, he attempted to tip the ball to safety Reggie Nelson. Nelson did not catch the tip, but it was an incredible play by Conley. That’s the sort of play you want to see from your first round pick.
Conley wasn’t tested again until the fourth quarter. He had tight coverage on the receiver, who made a very difficult catch against Conley. Nothing Conley did was wrong, it was just a good throw and a good catch. Conley’s technique looked good and he was in the receiver’s back pocket. Conley’s growth and development will be key in future games when Oakland plays teams with high-powered offenses and elite receivers.
4) Marshawn Lynch
Lynch didn’t have the most impressive day statistically, but with Lynch it’s about far more than simply stats. He brings a toughness to the team and a love of Oakland that is unrivaled, and both are infectious. The Oakland crowd erupted when Lynch scored his first touchdown in Silver and Black, and later on Lynch was rocking out to the stadium PA:
I also want to give credit to the Raider fans here. Some were wondering if the fans would come out to support this team, knowing they would be leaving town in the coming years. The answer is yes, and the stadium is louder than ever this year. The Raider fans are finally getting the team they have deserved all along.
1) The New York Jets
The last time I saw a team as talentless and pathetic as the Jets was probably the 2013 Oakland Raiders. We’ve come a long way since then and so can the Jets. But we did it with fiscal responsibility and superb drafting. The Jets have displayed neither in their entire history.
The Raiders demolished them, as they should have. Perhaps the Jets will pick up a win here or there, but I think 0-16 is a strong possibility. Sam Darnold is currently booking his USC class schedule for 2018.
2) The refs
Now, I’m not one to participate in ref-bashing. They’re human and for the most part they perform a difficult job to the best of their ability. But today, they were dreadful, and that is a conservative assessment.
They called three unnecessary roughness penalties in the first half against Oakland which were all highly questionable and then called a ‘defenseless receiver’ penalty against Buster Skrine that was anything but, giving Oakland a free first down. The first such penalty was against Bruce Irvin, and was so egregiously bad that noted Raider hater Dan Fouts went on a rant about what a terrible call it was. Did the NFL swap refs with the Pac-12 when we weren’t looking?
3) The Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers were still selling tickets for their game today against Miami on Thursday. They play in a 27K seat soccer stadium. They are a complete embarrassment, and they lost AGAIN on a last-second field goal which was no good. Young Hoe Koo should be fired into the sun, but for Oakland’s sake I hope he remains kicker for life.
The Chargers were selling PARKING PASSES for this game for $100. No wonder nobody showed up.
4) The Nebraska Cornhuskers
That just about covers this game and the NFL this week. I can’t gripe at all with the Raiders and the Jets are too pathetic to keep ripping on. So I want to go to the college ranks and make fun of a team that, for much of my childhood, was a national powerhouse and couldn’t be stopped: Nebraska.
They used to run the option and they were good at it. Star quarterbacks like Tommie Frazier, Eric Crouch and Scott Frost lit up the scoreboard with their ability to run and pass. On Saturday, a week after getting boatraced by Oregon, the Cornhuskers lost to Northern Illinois, and everyone laughed.
Nebraska fired a perfectly good coach, Bo Pelini, because he was a jerk. They hired a mediocre coach, Mike Riley, because he was nice. Apparently Nebraska does not get cable TV, or they would have known what a disaster the previous eight years of Oregon State football was, and also Riley’s tenure with the Chargers. Nebraska gets everything they deserve, and I hope their football program gets set on fire.