With the entire country watching, the Oakland Raiders took the field Monday night under a roaring crowd anxious to see the return of Jon Gruden. Just a couple hours later, that same team would leave the field to boos following an embarrassing 33-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In an otherwise bleak performance, veteran tight end Jared Cook was a bright spot delivering an historic performance for the Silver & Black.
Cook set a new franchise record for most receiving yards in a game by a Raiders tight end finishing the night with 180 yards on nine catches. The previous mark was held by Todd Christensen who recorded 173 yards on November 20, 1986 against the Chargers.
Wade Phillips and the Rams defense made it a point to key on Amari Cooper throughout the game. And the Rams linebacking corps is one of few weak areas on the Rams defense. As a result, Cook found himself in plenty of favorable matchups of which he and quarterback Derek Carr were able to take advantage.
“That’s why Jared [Cook] had a big game,” Carr explained after the game. “We had no problem seeing what they were doing, obviously. It’s not an indication of Amari or anything like that. If the coverage looks a certain way during a certain play, we have other options. That’s why Jared and the running backs came up big than the pass game for us.”
Cook is now just the fifth tight end in the past 20 seasons to record 180 or more receiving yards in a game according to Pro Football Reference.
When asked why he had such a big night, the 10-year veteran reiterated Carr’s statement about the Rams defensive scheme.
“We knew going into the game they were going to play a lot of man [coverage], so we knew we had matchups all across the board,” said Cook. “We planned on [Rams safety Mark] Barron. We had a feeling he was going to be doubtful, but he ended up playing.”
“Obviously Jared [Cook] came up huge tonight and they disguised their coverages,” Gruden told the media postgame. “It allowed us to get the ball to our tight ends and backs. Unfortunately we were not able to get more out of it.”