NFL 2017 Preseason: Week 3 Raiders Recap

NFL 2017 Preseason: Week 3 Raiders Recap

After two preseason games, the Oakland Raiders appeared to be solid on offense and very shaky on defense. Even better news for the offense was left tackle Donald Penn ending his holdout and reporting for training camp. As for the defense, Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were not getting help from a secondary that was torched in consecutive weeks. The third preseason game is the one that most closely resembles a regular season game. The Raiders were at the Dallas Cowboys.

After a touchback, the first play saw Marshawn Lynch carry the ball for 4 yards. Derek Carr then hit Amari Cooper for a 9 yard gain and the game’s first 1st down. However, on 3rd and 4 from the Oakland 44, Carr threw incomplete. The Cowboys took over at their own 26.

Ezekiel Elliott is appealing his 6 game suspension to start the regular season, but nothing prevents from from playing in preseason games. He gained 4, 5 and on 3rd and 1 got the tough yard. A heavy dose of the run saw the Cowboys move down the field just as easily as the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams did. On 1st and 10 from the Oakland 29, the Silver and Black finally stiffened on defense. Das Prescott completed a pass to Elliott for no gain, and then Elliot lost a yard. On 3rd and 11 a completion to Elliot came up well short. Dan Bailey did hit the 42 yard field goal for a 3-0 Cowboys lead.

The Raiders took over at their own 19 and Carr went to work. After hitting Lynch for a 7 yard gain, a 3rd and 1 completion to Cordarelle Patterson gained 3 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Dallas 48, Carr hit coper for 11 yards. On 1st and 15 from the Dallas 42, Carr found cook for 7 and Jalen Richard for 13 more. On the first play of the second quarter, Carr went to Patterson for a 17 yard touchdown and a 6-3 Raiders lead. Backup kicker Greg Tavecchio missed the extra point as Sebastian Janikowski had the night off.

The Cowboys took over at their own 20 and again moved easily against Oakland’d defense. Prescott hit Jason Witten for 12 yards and a 24 yard defensive pas interference penalty moved the Cowboys to the Oakland 41. Prescott hit Hanna for 13 yards and former Raiders running back gained 18 yards down to the Dallas 10. On the next play Prescott hit Witten of the touchdown and a 10-6 Cowboys lead.

Oakland took over on their own 15. On 3rd and 3, Carr hit Michael Crabtree for 5 yards. However, offensive holding on the next play killed the drive and the Raiders punted. On 3rd and 3 from the Dallas 37, Prescott hit Cole Beasley for 8 yards. However, illegal use of hands on the offense meant 3rd and 13 instead of 1st and 10. On the next play Prescott was sacked for a 12 yard loss. The Raiders took over at their own 40. Carr hit Cook for 11 and the Raiders soon faced 3rd and 9 at the Dallas 48. Al Davis smiled in heaven as Carr went deep to Cooper for the touchdown and the 13-10 Raiders lead with 3:15 left in the half.

The Cowboys soon faced 2nd and 13 at their own 15, but Prescott hit Witten for 28 yards.However, on 3rd and 2 just past midfield, Prescott threw incomplete. With 1:40 left in the half and the Raiders getting it back at their own 12, Carr was done for the night. Backup EJ Manuel came in. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 20 with 27 seconds left, fullback Olawale ran around the end for a 56 yard gain. However, offensive facemark instead meant 3rd and 12 from the Oakland 10. Manuel took a knee as the Raiders took the lead into the locker rooms.

The starters were done for the night, and the Raiders had won the first string battle. The backups played like backups as each team punted on their first two possessions of the third quarter. Dallas began their next possession at their own 34. Backup quarterback Rush hit Brice Butler for 18 yards. Alfred Morris gained 17 and then 5 more. On 2nd and 5 from the Oakland 26, Rush was sacked and fumbled. Hamilton knocked the ball out and Lewis picked it up and raced 65 yards for a defensive touchdown. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the Raiders had a 20-10 lead. Even though this was now a game of backups, protecting the lead and getting a preseason win would be a psychological lift.

From the Dallas 15, Morris gained 16 yards with 15 more tacked on for unnecessary roughness. On 3rd and 12 from the Dallas 44, Rush threw incomplete, but roughing the passer meant 15 more yards and a gift first down. The fourth quarter began with the Cowboys facing 4th and 5 from the Oakland 36. Since this is the preseason, Jason Garrett decided to go for it rather than punt or kick a field goal. Rush threw incomplete, but another defensive pass interference penalty meant 6 more yards and another first down. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 22, Rush hit Nwachukwu for 8, Swaim for 7, and Hillman for the 7 yard touchdown. The Cowboys were within 20-17 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

Manuel was completely ineffective, and third string quarterback Connor Cook played the rest of the way. On 4th and 1 from the Oakland 34, Jack Del Rio decided to gamble. Again, this is the preseason. Cook took the quarterback sneak and gained 2 yards. Yet it was all for naught after that. On 3rd and 11 from the Oakland 35, Cook was sacked and fumbled for an 8 yard loss. Oakland was lucky to punt the ball away. Yet another defensive personal foul for a facemark had the Cowboys starting midway through the fourth quarter at the Oakland 47.

Forget that these are backups who may never play an NFL regular season game. The play was undisciplined, and the penalties were killers. On 2nd and 7 from the Oakland 44, Rush went deep to Lenoir for the touchdown. Just like that, the 20-10 lead was gone and the Raiders trailed by 4 points.

The Raiders soon faced 3rd and 1 at their own 34. Cook hit Mickens for 6 yards and George Atkinson III gained 9 more. The Raiders were in business 2nd and 1 just shy of midfield. Then once again, they were quickly out of business. Mickens lost 3 yards and Cook was sacked for an 8 yard loss on 3rd and 4.

With 3:12 to play and the Cowboys facing 3rd and 5 at their own 34, the Oakland defense could not get a stop. Third string quarterback Kellen Moore was in, and he hit Jones for 11 yards and a key first down. Just before the 2 minute warning, The Cowboys faced 3rd and 8 at their own 47. This was the last chance for the defense to get a stop. Moore went deep incomplete at the 2 minute warning. The Raiders would get the ball back with one timeout at their own 10 with 1:45 to play. Connor Cook had his chance to be a hero.

Cook hit Brent for 7 and Zamora for 9 more to the Oakland 38 as the clock ticked down. On 3rd and 8 with 1:19 to play, Cook hit Mickens for 11 just past midfield. An incompletion stopped the clock with 30 seconds left. A mind-numbing 4 yard completion forced the Raiders to take their last timeout with 25 seconds left. On 3rd and 6 from the Dallas 45, Cook went deep to Johnny Holton for a 37 yard gain. Cook raced to the line and spiked the ball to stop the clock. With 7 seconds left, the Raiders had 2nd and goal at the 8. Cook quickly fired incomplete, and 4 seconds remained on 3rd and goal. On the game’s final play, Cook fired incomplete again. He had moved the Raiders 82 yards, but they needed to go 90.

Another loss has the Raiders at 0-3 in the preseason. However, there were more positives than negatives in this game for the Raiders. The first string had the team leading at the half, and the defense played much better than in the previous two games. However, this team lives and dies with Derek Carr. He went 13 of 17 for 144 yard and 2 touchdowns. Yet the defense still has much room for improvement. Prescott ripped them in going 11 of 14 for 113 yards and one touchdown. Rush was nearly perfect in going 12 of 23 for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. The game featured no interceptions by either team. The Raiders offense is clearly ready to start the season and the defense clearly is not. Whether the issue is Ken Norton Jr.’s scheme or not remains to be seen. On Thursday, August 31, the Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks in their fourth and final preseason game. 24-20 Cowboys


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