NFL 2015 Preseason: Week 2 Raiders Recap
The Oakland Raiders traveled to Minnesota to play the Vikings in the second preseason game for both teams.
While these franchises have both had some tough times in recent years, there is excitement in both quarterbacks Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater. They impressed as rookies, and do not look to regress in their sophomore season.
The Vikings got the football first and soon faced third and nine at their own 21. Bridgewater threw incomplete but D.J. Hayden was called for illegal contact. While the defense eventually held at the Oakland 46, the penalty changed the game from a field position standpoint. A terrific punt had the Raiders starting at their own 2 yard line and going nowhere. A poor punt had the Vikings starting at the Oakland 39, but the starting defense did just enough. On 4th and 3 from the Oakland 17, superstar kicker Blair Walsh actually missed a 35 yard field goal.
The Raiders began their second possession on their own 25, and this time the starters did well. Latavius Murray ran for gains of 6 and 9 yards. Carr hit Marcel Reece for 12 more. Then came the play that had Al Davis smiling from above. From the Minnesota 48, Carr went for the bomb to Amare Cooper for a 40 yard gain. Murray would run it in from two yards out to make it 6-0 Raiders. With the new extra point rule in effect, the Raiders went for 2. Murray was stopped short.
Sebastian Janikowski sent the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 40. Bridgewater moved the Vikings easily, and the second quarter began with him throwing a 10 yard touchdown to Johnson to tie the game. Walsh’s struggles continued as he missed the extra point for a 6-6 tie. Bridgewater was done for the night while Carr stayed in for two more series. Murray was out and Trent Richardson came in. Again, Richardson was ineffective. Minnesota backup Shawn Hill was intercepted, and with 6 1/2 minutes left in the half Christian Ponder came in for Carr to face his old team.
Taiwan Jones had a 10 yard run, but Richardson lost 5 yards on the next play. Ponder would lead the Silver and Black down to the 5 yard line, but a short pass lost 3 yards and then Ponder threw incomplete. The field goal was good as the Raiders led 9-6 with only 2 minutes left in the half.
The backups on the Oakland defense then melted down as Hill moved the Vikings 80 yards in 13 plays. With 8 seconds left in the half, Hill threw a touchdown pass to give the Vikings the 13-9 halftime lead.
Ponder did well to start the third quarter, moving the Raiders from their 20 to a 4th and 3 at the Minnesota 35. In the regular season this would mean a 53-yard field goal for Seabass. This is preseason, so Jack Del Ri0 decided to go for it. Ponder lost a yard.
Minnesota’s third string quarterback came in. Heineke was quickly hit and fumbled, giving the Raiders the ball at the Minnesota 29. Ponder could not take advantage, as the Raiders were forced to settle for a 37 yard field goal to trail 13-12.
With less than four minutes left in the third quarter after the Vikings went 3 and out, third string Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin came in. McGloin sometimes looks brilliant, but he is a very raw talent. From the Oakland 12, his first pass was intercepted at the 22 and returned all the way to the one yard line. On third and goal, the Vikings banged it in for a 20-12 lead.
McGloin could not get anything going but the game was an absolute nightmare for Blair Walsh. Midway through the fourth quarter Walsh missed again from 38 yards out. With just over one minute left Walsh missed from 49 yards out. Oakland’s fourth string quarterback Fajardo came in and tried to rally the Raiders from their own 39. The Raiders went virtually nowhere as Fajardo was intercepted near midfield with 16 second left.
Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray could be the new triplets. let’s not put them in Canton yet, but they are all quite good. Trent Richardson is awful. Ponder and McGloin are both too much of a see-saw ride. The Raiders will be in big trouble if their starters go down. As for Blair Walsh, the former Pro Bowler may not even make the Minnesota roster if he keeps shanking short field goal tries. It was ugly, as preseason often is, but Mike Zimmer and Jack Del Rio can both find some positives and some room to improve.