NFL 2017 Preseason: Week 1 Raiders Recap

NFL 2017 Preseason: Week 1 Raiders Recap

The offseason is one step closer to being over. While the preseason is not real football, it is still better than any other sport.

The Silver and Black are back. The Oakland Raiders played their first preseason game at the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona lost the Hall of Fame Game 20-18 to the Dallas cowboys, but the Cardinals jumped to a 15-0 lead in that game and looked super.

Sebastian Janikowski kicked the ball 6 yards deep in the end zone and it was returned to the Arizona 30. Carson Palmer did start for the Cardinals, as did David Johnson. Johnson only gained 2 yards on his first carry, but on the next play defensive pass interference in the secondary had the Cardinals at their own 40. Johnson then ran another 10 yards to midfield. On 2nd and 7, a play-action fake had Palmer throwing a bomb to a wide open receiver. The ball was incomplete at the 5 yard line, but there were no defenders in sight. Palmer hit the third down conversion as the Cardinals continued to steamroll over the Raiders defense.

On 3rd and 4 from the Oakland 15, Palmer threw incomplete. Phil Dawson made the 33 yard field goal, but the Raiders were called on defense for an illegal formation. These are the types of penalties that have plagued the Raiders for decades. Bruce Arians took the points off the board for 1st and goal at the 10. On 3rd and goal from the 12, Palmer threw a strike to Brit golden for the touchdown. The Cardinals held the ball for over 6 1/2 minutes on their 14 play, 70 yard drive. Their offense has looked very impressive in successive weeks. The Raiders defense looked awful, and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. will take the fall if the defense plays like this during the regular season.

After a touchback, the Raiders took over without their key starters playing a single snap. Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and the starting offensive line all had the night off. Left tackle Donald Penn is still in a contract holdout. So gauging the Raiders offense would be impossible without seeing the first string. None of them played.

EJ Manuel got the start for the Raiders, and the backup quarterback did complete several passes to get the Raiders to a 3rd and 4 at the Arizona 34. A miserable play call known as the West Coast offense had Emanuel completing a 2 yard pass.  On 4th and 2, Jack Del Rio opted for a 51 yard field goal. Seabass hit a knuckleball that was way wide and way short as the Raiders remained scoreless.

The Cardinals took over at their own 41 and Palmer was done for the night. Drew Stanton came in at quarterback. From the Oakland 45, a bomb by Stanton to the end zone was incomplete, but the receiver did beat the double coverage. Andre Ellington took a draw play 15 yards on the next play. The Raiders caught a break when a helmet on a football forced a fumble that the Raiders recovered. Oakland took over at their own 22.

On 3rd and 4 from their 28, Manuel found Cordarelle Patterson for 17 yards. Jalen Richard gained 5 and 4, but on 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 46, Richard got stuffed. Del Rio decided to go for it. On 4th and 1, Richard got stopped again. Arizona took over and soon faced 3rd and 5 at the Oakland 44. Stanton hit Ross for 10 and Golden for 26. A shot to the end zone should have been intercepted but the defender just dropped it. On 3rd and goal at the 7, the pocket collapsed on Stanton. He rolled to his right and found Niklas for the touchdown. Stanton had all the time in the world in staking the Cardinals to a 14-0 lead.

The Raiders took over at their own 13 when Mickens hesitated and tried to run the kickoff back from 7 yards deep in the end zone. Mickens even fumbled but got it back. After picking up one first down, Manuel threw incomplete twice and then was sacked. The Cardinals got it back at their own 36 and continued moving the Cardinals with ease. On 3rd and 3 from Arizona 43, Stanton hit Jeremy Ross for 11 yards. On 3rd and 7 from the Oakland 28, Stanton hit Ellington for 13 yards. On 3rd and 5 from the Oakland 10, Stanton threw incomplete. The defense finally held as Dawson hit the 28 yard field goal to make it 17-0 Cardinals.

The Raiders got it back at their own 19 with only 1:05 left in the half. Manuel hit Mickens for 14, Clive Walford for 30 more, and Mickens for another 6 yards to the Arizona 25. Only 2 seconds remained in the half. Tavecchio came in for a 43 yard field goal try rather than Seabass. Tavecchio was good as the Raiders trailed 17-3 at halftime.

The second half was pure garbage time as both teams brought in their third string quarterbacks. The Raiders had Connor Cook and the Cardinals went with Blaine Gabbert. After an exchange of punts, the Raiders faced 3rd and 12 at their own 35. Cook did hit Crockett for a 29 yard gain. Mickens took an end around 24 yards. Defensive pass interference set up Crockett for a one yard touchdown run as the Raiders were within 17-10.

The Cardinals looked awful under Gabbert, punting on 4th and 19 from their own 5 and giving the Raiders the ball at their own 39. On 3rd and 5 from the Arizona 41, Cook hit Johnny Holton for 7 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Arizona 34, Cook hit Mickens for 11 yards. Yes Cook was playing against a third string defense, but he looked good. On 2nd and 8 from the Arizona 21 and looking for the tying score, a short pass to Holmes was fumbled away.

Gabbert from the Arizona 31 turned into game manager mode, as runs and short passes led to a 13 play drive that ate 6:45 off the clock. A pass Gabbert threw under pressure was perfectly thrown and the receiver just dropped it in the end zone. With 13 minutes left in regulation, Dawson hit a 43 yard field goal to put Arizona by 10.

The Raiders moved from their own 26 to the Arizona 43 before the drive broke down. The Cardinals moved from their 22 to the Oakland 28. A backup kicker missed a 46 yard field goal. From the Oakland 36, a pair of completions meant 1st and 10 at the Oakland 46. Cook then threw 4 straight incompletions. Arizona ran out the clock.

Although Arizona “only” won by 10, the Oakland defense looked dreadful. All 3 Arizona quarterbacks led scoring drives, and the top 2 Arizona quarterbacks moved the ball easily. Grading the Oakland offense is tougher because the starters did not play. If Oakland is to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender, the defense has to get much better in a hurry. They were awful, but one big mitigating factor can be said in defense of the defense. Although most of the starters played, Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin did not. 20-10 Cardinals

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