There wasn’t a lot to celebrate in this one. The Raiders managed to hang around with the Ravens in the first half, but it was clear the Ravens were just toying with them. Knowing they could have their way with the Raiders, the Ravens decided in the first half to make it a point for quarterback Lamar Jackson to not run the ball as much. They wanted to see if he could run the offense from the pocket and through the air.
While it wasn’t a rousing success, the Ravens still took a 13-10 lead into the half, mostly due to a 70-yard punt return touchdown. Then once they came out for the third quarter, they let Jackson go. And they literally ran away with the game.
The Ravens scored on their opening possession of the third quarter and then went on a nearly nine-minute, 17-play drive for another score well into the fourth quarter.
The Raiders put a touchdown on the board in the third quarter and did absolutely nothing after that aside from give up a defensive touchdown off a strip sack. It also gave them a touchdown in all three phases of the game.
Without a lot of viable options at receiver, Roberts took center stage. The Raiders scored a touchdown on their opening drive. It began with Roberts making a 10-yard catch on the second play, followed by an 11-yard end around.
Late in the second quarter, the Raiders went on another scoring drive. In third and ten, Jared Cook took a pass in the right flat and thanks to a nice block by Roberts went for 16 yards. Later in the drive, Doug Martin went off left tackle and got a block from Roberts at the second level to help him pick up 14 yards and put the Raiders in position for a 42-yard field goal to pull to within three at the half.
The Raiders scored one more time in the game and again Roberts was a crucial factor. He caught the longest pass of the game for the Raiders, going for 44 yards to put the Raiders in scoring position at the 28. They would score the touchdown a few plays later.
He would finish as the Raiders leading receiver with 54 yards on 2 catches and he would have had a lot more had Derek Carr saw him wide open streaking across the middle of the field late in the fourth quarter instead of throwing out right to Marcell Ateman for two yards. That drive would end two plays later with the strip sack returned for a touchdown.
Last week Martin didn’t have a carry in the second half because of a hip injury. This week he had just one carry in the second half because by the time the Raiders got the ball for the second time, it was midway through the fourth quarter and they were down ten points.
Martin had just 11 carries in the game, but he put up 51 yards on them to average 4.6 yards per carry. He also added three catches for 21 yards.
On the opening drive, they moved into second and goal from the 7-yard-line where Martin picked up six yards to put the Raiders in third and goal at the one. Then he dove over the goal line for the score to open the game with a 7-0 lead for the Raiders.
The next Raiders scoring drive, he opened up with a 5-yard run, and put them in scoring position with a 14-yard run.
His final play was an 8-yard catch to give the Raiders the first down at the 17-yard-line. They scored the touchdown two plays later pull within three, down 20-17.
Gotta get a defender in here and none were better than Conley. He was a dark cloud over Michael Crabtree most of the day, allowing just one catch for 10 yards in his coverage. He also defended a couple passes to Crabtree cleanly. One of those pass breakups was in the end zone and Marcus Gilchrist intercepted the ball to keep the Ravens from scoring before the half.
Cook had two catches, both for 16 yards. Both were big catches. The first was on third down to set up the Raiders second score. The second was a brilliant touchdown grab in which, he turned back to get a pass well behind him and pulled it in with one hand as he backed over the goal line.
He also had what looked to be a big catch that would have put the Raiders in first and goal on that same drive he helped move them for a field goal. But he was flagged for offensive pass interference. That was at best a ticky tack penalty, but whatever.
Last week in Arizona was Whitehead’s best game of the season, but it had too many lapses for him to make the Ballers. This week, he wasn’t perfect, but his good far outweighed the bad. And he wasn’t victimized on any explosive plays as he had in previous games this season.
What he did was lead the Raiders with an impressive 14 tackles and added a pass defended as well.
There was a series in the second quarter Whitehead was a part of every play. He had tight coverage to force Jackson to throw the ball away on first down. He had a pass defended on second down, and on the next play was the second player to get a hand on a pass to deflect it and allow it to be intercepted by Reggie Nelson. That drive set the Raiders up in good field position to drive for a field goal before the half.
Two of Whitehead’s 14 tackles were for little to no gain on scrambles by Lamar Jackson which is not easy to do.
Erik Harris, Reggie Nelson, Marcus Gilchrist – Harris was the first to get a hand on the pass that Nelson intercepted. The next drive, Gilchrist made a brilliant interception, while keeping his feet inbounds for a touchback.