In what turned out to be an ugly game, the Raiders managed to hold onto the lead despite neither side of the ball playing particularly well. Oakland extended their current winning streak to three games. Meanwhile, the Bengals, who last won a game against our very own Oakland Raiders in 2018, drop to 0-10 on the season.
The Raiders got off to what seemed like a hot start with a 21-yard run from Josh Jacobs. The run game stuttered for much of the remaining gameplay, as was the case in this drive after a pair of 2-yard runs from Jacobs set up a third and 6. Carr was sacked by Cincinnati defensive stalwarts Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, forcing a punt on the opening drive.
Cincinnati started off with their own chunk run play, a 17-yard rumble from RB Joe Mixon. After two incompletions, they faced a third and 10 and rookie QB Ryan Finley coughed the ball up on a strip sack by DE Maxx Crosby and DT Maurice Hurst recovered the ball on the Cincinnati 28-yard line. Just three plays later, Jacobs gave the opponent the ball right back with his first fumble of the year. The Bengals answered with a 12-play, 85-yard scoring drive capped off by a Mixon touchdown scamper. Mixon gained 43 yards on the ground across that drive.
After exchanging punts, the Raiders got the ball on the 9-yard line. They drove the length of the field, propelled by the arm of QB Derek Carr, who completed seven consecutive passes on the drive, including a beautifully executed play-action pass where he hit a wide open rookie TE Foster Moreau on a throwback play.
The Raiders offense got the ball back with 5:16 remaining in the second quarter. It was Jacobs’ turn to redeem himself and he carried the ball five times for 28 yards against a Bengals defense that was selling out to stop him all game long. In scoring territory, Carr threw his first incomplete pass of the day on what looked like a miscommunication with TE Darren Waller. Carr didn’t flinch, however, and on the subsequent play took matters into his own hands, scrambling on a designed pass play before leaping into the endzone for his first rushing touchdown of 2019 that gave Oakland a 14-7 halftime lead.
The Raiders defense forced a punt on the Bengals opening drive after halftime. Six plays later, Carr made his first mistake of the game, throwing to Hunter Renfrow on a third and 4. Bengals Safety Jessie Bates III correctly identified Carr’s tendency to throw to Renfrow across the middle on third downs and jumped the route, giving the ball back to his offense at midfield. In a tough spot, the Raiders defense bent but didn’t break and forced a field goal to make it a 4-point game.
The game turned into a defensive effort, with both offenses failing to move the ball into scoring territory and four consecutive punts. The last Bengals drive of the third quarter was ended with an 8-yard sack by none other than Crosby.
The Raiders offense got the ball back to start the fourth quarter and started from their own 34-yard line. After two chunk plays, a 32-yard catch from Waller and a 21-yard Jacobs run, the Oakland offense slowed down. Facing a fourth an 1 deep in enemy territory, Jon Gruden elected to give the ball to bruising rookie FB Alec Ingold. Ingold made it across the first down marker, but his efforts were futile. Carr and the offense failed to punch it in and settled for a field goal, the last score of the game.
Down 17-10, the Bengals offense was desperate for a score. They were able to put together a 10-play drive with a solid effort from Finley, who took a 17-yard run to midfield and two plays later hit RB Giovanni Bernard for a 16-yard run after the catch. Crosby managed to log yet another sack, but Finley bounced right back with a 20-yard strike across the middle to WR Auden Tate. Unfortunately, Tate was injured on the play when Raiders Safety Curtis Riley hit him in the back of the head and the WR had to be immobilized and carted off the field. Thankfully, he was able to signal a goodbye to the crowd. But the medical process took over five minutes and the wind out of the Bengals sails with it. The Bengals ended up turning the ball over on a fourth down attempt.
With a little over five minutes remaining in the game, the Raiders offense attempted to put it away. Carr was able to convert two first downs with his arm to Waller and WR Zay Jones, respectively. But the Bengals run defense tightened up, stuffing three consecutive rush attempts from the offense and forcing a punt to give Cincinnati a chance with 1:48 left in regulation.
The first play of the Bengals last ditch effort to tie the game started with Crosby’s fourth sack of the game. On the next play, it was another rookie who sealed the deal. CB Trayvon Mullen, who had already broken up several passes on the day, came down with his first career interception, effectively finishing the ball game
Despite a box score that shows 112 yards rushing from Jacobs, the Bengals more often than not were able to stuff the Raiders rushing attack, leading to third and longs. Much of Jacobs total came on chunk plays.
Crosby had a career game, logging 4 sacks to up his total to 6.5 on the year. Last week, he had a whopping 10 QB pressures, but only logged a half a sack. This week, you can tell he was out to finish on those plays and make the rookie QB pay.
The Raiders defense held Ryan Finley to 13 completions on 31 attempts. However, they gave up several big plays on the ground. The Bengals gained 163 yards rushing between Mixon, Bernard, and Finley. Oakland’s defense has seemed to abandon stopping the run in favor of rushing the passer in recent weeks.
Carr finished with his second highest passing yardage of the season. He distributed the ball to eight different receiving options for 292 yards. Its good to know this offense can work through the air as effectively as it can on the ground.