NFL 2018 Preseason Week 1 Raiders Recap

NFL 2018 Preseason Week 1 Raiders Recap

America’s long national nightmare is over. Football is back. True, real football does not begin until September. Preseason is a lie, but it is all we leatherheads have.

The Black Hole was rocking as Chucky returned to the team he began coaching 20 years ago and left after the infamous Tuck Rule game. The Oakland Raiders kicked off their 2018 preseason by hosting the Detroit Lions. This game was the debut for new Lions coach Matt Patricia.

The first preseason game usually tells us absolutely nothing. This game may have told us even less than that. Matthew Stafford did not even play. Derek Carr played only one series.

Carr began with a pair of completions for 11 total yards. Jordy Nelson got one of those catches for 4 yards. On the third play of the game, Marshawn Lynch broke off tackle for a 60 yard touchdown run. However, it was called back due to an offensive holding penalty on rookie Kolton Miller. The grade has been so high on Miller that the Raiders have let Donald Penn hold out. After the Lions punted on their first series, Miller earned his second holding penalty on the return. Speaking of holdouts, Khalil Mack is still not in camp.

Matt Cassel started at quarterback for the Lions and Connor Cook took over after the first series for the Raiders. From just shy of midfield, Cook went deep to Johnny Holton for a 41 yard gain. Yet on 3rd and goal at the 3, Cook threw incomplete.

The kicking game will be key for the Raiders this year. Sebastian Janikowski was cut a few weeks ago. Seabass was with Gruden the first time around, but after 18 years he was released. Backup Georgio Tavecchio was cut last week, leaving rookie Eddie Piniero. Piniero’s 21 yard field goal had the Raiders up 3-0 after the first quarter.

The Raiders got it back and Cook had his best drive of the night. On 3rd and 5 from the Oakland 32, he found Martavius Bryant for 18 yards to midfield. From the Detroit 34 to start the second quarter, Cook went deep to Butler for 24 yards. On 3rd and goal at the 7, this time the Raiders finished the drive. Cook hit Spitzer for the touchdown to make it 10-0 Raiders early in the second quarter.

The Lions got back in the game with help from a 15 yard penalty on Karl Joseph for lowering his head to make contact. On 3rd and 11 from the Oakland 25, Cassel hit Valles for 13 yards. Abdullah got in from the one to get the Lions within 10-7 midway through the second quarter. On the next Detroit series, they brought it 3rd string quarterback Rudock. He did not have success.

With 1:10 left in the half, the Raiders took over at their own 29. Cook worked quickly, hitting Jalen Richard for 16, 9 and 5  yards. Piniero drilled a 48 yard field goal to put the Raiders up 13-7 at halftime.

The Lions began the third quarter facing 3rd and 1 at their own 38. Johnson ran for a 57 yard gain to the Oakland 5, but offensive holding wiped it all away. 3rd string quarterback EJ Manuel came in and the Raiders moved from their own 26 to a 1st and goal at the Detroit 6. Manuel then fumbled the snap and the Lions recovered in a game getting uglier by the moment.

The Lions would soon face 3rd and 11 at their own 6, when Rudock hit johnson for 19 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Detroit 25, Rudock only gained 2 yards. Yet defensive holding kept the drive going. On 1st and 10 from the Oakland 11, a sack of Rudock finally killed the drive. The Lions held the ball for a staggering 18 plays and 8 minutes. Yet on the first play of the fourth quarter, they settled for a 24 yard field goal from Santoso to trail 13-10.

Both teams then faced 3rd and 1, ran the ball, and failed to convert. With 6:17 left, the Raiders took over at their own 42. Warren ran for gains of 19, 11 and 3. Yet on 1st and 10 from the Detroit 13, another offensive holding penalty killed the drive. With 2:17 to play, Piniero hit a 45 yard field goal. However the Raiders only led by 6 points. They had not closed the door. Making matters worse, Piniero kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, allowing the Lions to start at their own 40.

Normally in preseason games, coaches do not go all out. Yet in his very first game, Matt Patricia decided to bring Matt Cassel back in the game. On 4th and 11 from the Detroit 39 with 1:13 left, Cassel hit Lucas for 14 yards.With 40 seconds left the Lions had 1st and 10 at the Oakland 35. Cassel threw incomplete twice and was then sacked and fumbled. The Raiders recovered to lock up the win.

Jon Gruden has plenty of things to improve. However, trying to judge a Raiders game without Derek Carr or Khalil Mack is useless. Marshawn lynch is clearly ready. Kicker Piniero is off to a good start. The defense looked good most of the night. Kolton needs to stop holding and start blocking. 16-10 Raiders

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