Category Archives: Oakland Raiders

Raiders Team Grades: Raiders Fall To Patriots In Mexico

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders have struggled throughout the 2017 NFL season. After starting off the year as favorites to make the playoffs and one of the top AFC teams when it came to Super Bowl odds, injuries decimated the Raiders secondary, and the offense has struggled to meet the heights that they reached last season.

After beating the Miami Dolphins last week, the Raiders needed a rebound game this week in Mexico City, but their opponents were the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The Raiders were unable to keep up their momentum and fell to the Patriots, 33-8. Here is a look at the Raiders’ team grades after their loss to the Patriots.

Offense: C-

If the stat line is all fans look at, the Raiders were not horrible on offense. They lost the yardage battle to the Patriots, 420-344, but the problem is that the Raiders didn’t put any points on the board until the fourth quarter. Derek Carr completed 57 percent of his passes, but threw only one touchdown to go with one interception. The offensive line just gave up one sack as well. However, Carr only averaged 8.4 yards per completion and wasn’t moving the team down the field.

It also hurt the Raiders that they had 15 third downs in the game, and converted on less than half of them, with seven conversions. They even went for it on fourth down four times, with a 50 percent conversion rate. With a 4.8 yard-per-play average, there wasn’t much of a chance for the Raiders to sustain their drives.

The running game didn’t help much, either. Marshawn Lynch had his longest run of the season with a 25-yard scamper and averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry the rest of the game. Jalen Richard added 19 yards, and Jamize Olawale returned from injury to add 16 yards as well. As for the receivers, Michael Crabtree and Cordarrelle Patterson combined for 10 receptions and 96 yards, but it was Amari Cooper who scored the only touchdown reception on three catches for 28 yards in the game.

Defense: F

The Raiders released one of their injured cornerbacks and put a second on Injured Reserve since their last game, and they still don’t have the weapons needed to stop elite quarterbacks. Tom Brady completed 30 of 37 pass attempts for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks led the team in yards with 149 and a score while Danny Amendola led New England in receptions (8) and scored a touchdown to boot.

The Raiders defense also didn’t do much to stop Dion Lewis, who had a great game as well. The New England running back ran for 60 yards on 10 carries and caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders couldn’t stop the Patriots offense, although not many teams can. However, this is a recurring theme this season. Oakland won’t win against elite teams until they can start to stop opposing quarterbacks.

Special Teams: C

When it comes to the Raiders’ quality special teams, they had almost nothing to do against the Patriots this week. Oakland converted a two-point conversion, so the Raiders kicker did nothing this week. There were no field goal or extra point attempts in the game. New England only had to punt the ball twice, and Oakland never had a chance to return one. The Raiders also had just one kick return, which was for 16 yards. Finally, punter Marquette King was below average with three punts, only one inside the 20, and averaged just 45.6 yards per attempt.

Coaching: D

The Raiders needed to find a way to stop the Patriots, and couldn’t seem to pull it off in this game. The Raiders were down by 30 points before they even scored their first touchdown. Tom Brady completed his first nine passes, and the Raiders defense still can’t seem to stop anyone. If the Raiders don’t improve quickly, their season might spiral out of control.

Up Next: The Raiders (4-6) might have a slight break over the next two weeks. While they lost to the Denver Broncos (3-7) the last time the two teams played, Denver has lost six games in a row and have fallen hard in the AFC West. If the Raiders can win that game, they should be able to keep the momentum going when they face the New York Giants (2-8) the week after that. If the Kansas City Chiefs drop one of their next two games and Oakland wins against NY and Denver, the Raiders could play for the AFC West lead in three weeks when they travel to play the Chiefs. There is still a chance for Oakland to turn things around, and the next two weeks are pivotal in that opportunity.

Trump calls on NFL to suspend Marshawn Lynch

President Trump is calling on the NFL to suspend Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, who sat during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Sunday’s game but stood for the Mexican national anthem, which was played because the game took place in Mexico City. Trump, who has repeatedly criticized NFL players who do not stand for the national [more]

Raiders Defeated By Patriots 33-8 In Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The New England Patriots approached their nine-day trip to Denver and Mexico City the way they do just about everything else under coach Bill Belichick.

They were all business.

And now they head home with two convincing wins over AFC West opponents as the Patriots once again appear to be peaking at just the right time of the season following their sixth straight win.

Tom Brady threw for 339 yards and three scores , the Patriots forced two key first-half turnovers and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a team-record 62-yard field goal to lead New England to a 33-8 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

“These trips come down to whether you win or lose,” Brady said. “You remember it when you win, but if you lose, you want to forget it as fast as you can. … You really have to focus in on what you have to do, and you’ve got to try to keep your routine as best you can so that, when you come out there and play, you’re ready to go.”

After starting the trip with a 41-16 win over the Broncos , the Patriots (8-2) spent the week at the Air Force Academy to acclimate themselves to the thin air at 7,200 feet elevation at Azteca Stadium.

They arrived in Mexico City on Saturday and thoroughly dominated the Raiders to the delight of a crowd that featured many fans chanting “Brady! Brady!” throughout the game.

“We talked about it, when we took off to go to Denver, about a long trip but making it worthwhile,” safety Devin McCourty said. “Being away from home meant preparing, doing a good job of preparing, and being together, executing our game plan. I think, both sides of the ball, we did that today.”

The game turned during a key sequence late in the first half. The Raiders (4-6) were driving and poised to cut into a 14-0 deficit when Seth Roberts caught a pass inside the 5. Roberts held the ball loosely as he fought for more yardage and Marquis Flowers knocked the ball loose . Patrick Chung recovered with 33 seconds left at the New England 7.

The Patriots managed to move 48 yards in four plays and ended the half with Gostkowski’s field goal that was tied for the sixth-longest field goal in NFL history.

“That was a 10-point swing right there,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “That was a tough one to swallow.”

Here are some other takeaways:

NAVY MAN: Belichick has long ties to the Naval Academy because his father spent years there as a scout and coach. That made it a little unusual for him to walk into his postgame news conference wearing an Air Force hoodie. The sweatshirt was a gift from academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria after the Patriots spent the week practicing there.

“I’ll always be a Navy man,” Belichick said. “Just want to give a shoutout and a big thanks to General Silveria and his staff at the United States Air Force Academy and the work we had there.”

FAILED EXPERIMENT: With starting cornerback David Amerson sidelined a third straight game with a foot injury and the secondary struggling as a whole, Del Rio moved rookie Obi Melifonwu outside. The second-round safety had played only seven snaps on defense all season because of a leg injury that sidelined him for eight weeks. But he struggled in his start at cornerback against the Patriots, allowing a 64-yard TD catch by Brandin Cooks on the opening drive of the second half when he bit on a double move. The Raiders have no interceptions this season, tying the 1976-77 49ers for the longest streak ever without picking off a pass.

“We need more production,” Del Rio said. “I’m willing to try just about anything.”

STEPPING UP: The Patriots thrived despite missing two starting offensive linemen. Center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) both were inactive, giving an opportunity to center Ted Karras and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle. New England averaged 4.5 yards per rush and gave up just one sack.

DROPSIES: The Raiders once again struggled to hold onto passes with Roberts dropping one on third down to stop Oakland’s first drive, Michael Crabtree dropping one later in the first quarter and Oakland finishing with five overall in the game. There was also another deep pass that bounced off Johnny Holton’s shoulder pad for an interception by Juron Harmon .

“I’ve got to throw the ball better,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “The drops, it’s got to be something to do with me.”

RETURN TRIP: Before the game, the NFL announced that the league has extended its deal to play games in Mexico through 2021. The current three-year contract is set to end in 2018. The announcement didn’t specify where the games will be played or what teams would come. There is a new stadium in Monterrey that also could accommodate an NFL game.

“They’ve done a nice job for us the past couple of years,” Del Rio said. “If this was a road game, I’d enjoy it.”

AFC playoff picture: Steelers, Patriots atop the conference

Some things never change. The Steelers and Patriots are the two franchises that have played in the AFC Championship Game the most, and the Steelers and Patriots are the two teams atop the AFC this year. Here’s how the AFC playoff picture looks, with each team now having played 10 games: LEADERS 1. Steelers (8-2): [more]

Marshawn Lynch sits for U.S. anthem, stands for Mexican anthem

LaVar Ball may have to work a little harder to retain the attention of the Commander-in-Chief. Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, playing in Mexico against the Patriots, sat for the U.S. national anthem (as usual). Per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Lynch stood for the Mexican national anthem. The development comes at a time [more]

Tom Brady doing Tom Brady things as Patriots take early lead

Tom Brady is amazing in case you didn’t realize that already. He opened Sunday’s game going 9-for-9 for 61 yards and a touchdown. That gives him 48 touchdowns and four interceptions over the past two seasons. Let’s repeat that: Tom Brady has 48 touchdown passes and four interceptions over the past two seasons, which encompasses [more]

Marshall Newhouse inactive for Raiders; Mike Gillislee for Patriots

All seven of the Patriots’ inactives are key players. But the Patriots already ruled out four before they turned in their inactive list Sunday. Right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle), center David Andrews (illness), wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) and wide receiver Matthew Slater (hamstring) were listed as out Friday. The Patriots’ other inactives are cornerback [more]

Oakland Raiders Week 11 Injury Report: Raiders’ Cornerback Woes Continue

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders got a break with their bye week just when they needed it. After having a large number of injuries on their secondary, the Raiders seem to finally be healing up. Oakland got a big win right before their bye to improve their record to 4-5, but they have to get healthy and start winning more games. The Raiders moved to second place in the AFC West, but are two games back from the Kansas City Chiefs and have a losing record, which hurts their Wild Card chances.

This week, the Raiders play the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, so they need all the bodies they can get on the field. Here is a look at the Oakland Raiders injury report for their Week 11 game.

Raiders Secondary Starting To Come Into Focus

For most of the season, the Oakland Raiders have had two or more cornerbacks listed on the injury report. Before the Raiders’ bye week, David Amerson, Gareon Conley and Demetrius McCray were all ruled out while safety Karl Joseph was listed as questionable. Coming off the bye, Amerson is still out, but no other Raiders player is listed on the injury report in the secondary.

The bad news is that it isn’t as great as it looks. Conley was moved from the injury report to Injured Reserve and the rookie won’t play at all this season. Head coach Jack Del Rio said that it was time to look to next season for his contributions to the team. 

As for Demetrius McCray, the Raiders realized he wasn’t returning as well. They ended up waiving him and coming to an injury settlement back on Nov. 9.

Of the three cornerbacks that suffered through the season injured, only Amerson remains, and he was upgraded from out to doubtful this week. However, things are getting better.

The Raiders only had three cornerbacks active to play against the Miami Dolphins before the bye week. They are compensating for their injury losses by switching to a cover-2 more often, something that Sean Smith specializes in. First-round pick Karl Joseph is also ready to start at free safety and second-round pick Obi Melifonwu returned before the break from Injured Reserve and is ready to take on a huge role.

Raiders Getting Healthy

The best news is that the Oakland Raiders’ injury report is shrinking. The only other two major injuries are to Cory James, who should play despite his knee injury; and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse, who was also listed as questionable. The injury to Newhouse is more worrisome as the Raiders need him in the lineup to protect Derek Carr. Newhouse has a hip and quad injury and if he can’t play, Vadal Alexander will start in his place.

Oakland Raiders Injury Report


  • Gabe Jackson (G) – foot – limited practice
  • Cory James (LB) – knee – limited practice
  • Marshall Newhouse (OL) – knee – limited practice
  • Jamize Olawale (FB/RB) – hamstring – limited practice


  • David Amerson (CB) – foot – did not practice


Raiders Probably Won’t Have Amerson Against Brady, Patriots In Mexico City

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders will likely be without cornerback David Amerson when they play Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Mexico City on Sunday.

Amerson, who has missed the past two games with a foot injury, sat out practice again Friday and worked with a trainer on the sidelines. The fifth-year veteran will travel to Mexico but is listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report.

“He ran well enough on the side for it to be a consideration,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “Still doubtful, which means what it is. The percentages are not great that he’s going to play but there’s that possibility that remains.”

>>ALSO READ: Del Rio’s Foundation Using Mexico City Trip To Help Needy

Del Rio had been hopeful that Amerson would recover enough during the bye week to play against the Patriots. Instead, the Raiders’ best cornerback is almost certain to be inactive for a third consecutive game while Dexter McDonald will likely start in Amerson’s absence.

“You just have to plug in, coach up and move on. Nobody really cares,” Del Rio said.

The Raiders have had to shuffle their secondary most of the season due to injuries and poor play.

Oakland’s projected lineup of Amerson, Sean Smith and safeties Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph has started only one game together this year. Smith lost his starting job early in the year. Amerson also missed time because of a concussion and shoulder injury.

Earlier this week, the Raiders placed first-round pick Gareon Conley on season-ending injured reserve due to a shin injury that has plagued the rookie cornerback since camp. Conley, the 24th overall pick, played in only two games and made seven tackles.

Second-rounder Obi Melifonwu spent the first eight weeks of the season on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery. Melifonwu made his debut in Oakland’s 27-24 win over Miami on Nov. 5.

The Raiders also lost backup cornerback Antonio Hamilton to a season-ending knee injury in October.

“The areas where we’ve had injuries are probably the two thinnest positions coming into the season,” Del Rio said. “Linebackers and corners have been the two spots that have really been hit the hardest. Sometimes it goes that way. We feel like we’re practicing well and that we’re building our confidence. We’ll get a great challenge this weekend to see where we are with arguably the greatest quarterback to play, at least in the modern era.”

Oakland heads into Sunday’s game ranked 22nd in pass defense and is the lone team in the NFL without an interception this season.

Notes: Right guard Gabe Jackson (ankle), linebacker Cory James (knee), right tackle Marshall Newhouse (hip/quad) and fullback Jamize Olawale (hamstring) were all limited and are questionable.

Del Rio’s Foundation Using Mexico City Trip To Help Needy

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio’s foundation will once again use a trip to Mexico City for some philanthropy.

Del Rio’s wife, Linda, and daughter, Lauren, will distribute backpacks filled with Raiders-themed items and school supplies to needy children on Saturday, the day before the Raiders take on the New England Patriots in their second game in Mexico City in two years.

Raiders alumni including Hall of Famers Fred Biletnikoff and Willie Brown will then hold a clinic for the kids.

The Raiders, the Jack Del Rio Foundation and the NFL are all donating $10,000 to Mano Amiga, a non-profit organization that helps needy children in Mexico.

“We are excited to return to Mexico City and to have another opportunity to fully engage and to provide resources and hope for the many wonderful people who became part of the NFL family last year,” Linda Del Rio said. “Our Jack Del Rio Foundation is partnering once again with the Raiders organization and the National Football League to foster the NFL’s goal to leave sustainable elements and resources where we have the privilege to live, work, and play.”


RUN STUFFERS: The Eagles have the NFL’s top-ranked run defense and they’ve won several games by a large margin, so teams aren’t even trying to run against them. Philadelphia’s opponents are averaging 18.4 rushing attempts per game, which is the fewest in league history. Only Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt had more than 40 yards rushing in a game against the Eagles (8-1). Hunt ran for 81 yards in Week 2, a 27-20 loss to the Chiefs. Overall, the Eagles have allowed only 66.4 yards rushing per game.

“We are a good penetration team up front, and then we have good tackling linebackers and good tackling safeties that can clean it up,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “It also has to do with some of the coverages that we play. Even if it’s a pass defense, there’s still enough guys that we can defend the run.”


SO MUCH WINNING: Entering Week 11, seven teams, nearly a quarter of the league, were on winning streaks of at least four games. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and LA Rams had each won four in a row. The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots were on five-game strings. And the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints were each on a seven-game run.

It’s the first time there were seven teams with at least a four-game winning streak since Week 14 of the 2011 season.


THAT’S WHY: Bengals fans are wondering why speedy first-round pick John Ross isn’t getting more playing time. One play last Sunday in a 24-20 loss at Tennessee showed why.

The receiver slowed while running a deep pattern on third down, so he wasn’t able to catch up to Andy Dalton’s throw. It was the only time he was targeted. Shoulder and knee injuries have limited Ross to a total of 17 snaps all season. He has run the ball one time on a reverse, and he has yet to catch a pass.

Coach Marvin Lewis took Ross to task for slowing up on the deep pass route. Ross didn’t expect Dalton to throw his way on the play.

“He let his teammates down, he let me down, he let Andy down,” Lewis said. “Maybe that ball’s not supposed to go there in that coverage, but if you do it right and you run like he can, that can be a big play for us. If he’d been running, likely he catches it.”


BAD RETURNS: The Broncos have finally benched rookie punt returner Isaiah McKenzie, who had five fumbles, including one Sunday night that ignited the New England Patriots’ 41-16 rout in Denver.

He’s been supplanted by Jordan Taylor, who, at 6-foot-5, is 9 inches taller than McKenzie, who’s generously listed at 5-8.

Coach Vance Joseph raised eyebrows in early August when he made McKenzie his punt returner before the preseason games had begun. He insisted the Broncos had drafted him specifically for that purpose, and he stuck with him over the first half of the season despite McKenzie’s constant yips.

His fifth fumble was the last straw.

“We can’t have any more issues as far as muffing the punts,” Joseph said.

Taylor is thrilled to get on the field. He’s been inactive five times this season and has just five catches for 41 yards.

“Just protect the ball,” Taylor said of his mindset. “As a punt returner, it’s either you catch it or you don’t. It’s hard not to think about that, but going out there in the game you just have to be confident in what you do during the week.”

Taylor said he’s not just going to fair catch everything, though.

“I think the main goal is to play it safe and catch the ball for sure, but if there are plays to be made I’m definitely not going to hesitate,” Taylor said. “I’ll try to take some chances.”


PRO BOWL VOTING: The NFL and Twitter are introducing a new way for fans to vote for the Pro Bowl roster through direct messaging.

Fans may participate via entry cards tweeted from all 32 team accounts or by directly visiting the @NFL profile page at The entry cards will initiate a private direct message and enable fans to select a position group or search for a player or team to begin the voting process.

During the final week of Pro Bowl voting from Dec. 7-14, fans will be able to vote directly on Twitter. To cast a vote, fans should tweet the first and last name of the player, or the player’s official Twitter handle, along with the hashtag: #ProBowlVote.

Fans can also vote online at The rosters for the Pro Bowl will be announced on Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. The Pro Bowl will be on Jan 28, 2018, in Orlando.

Mexico City’s altitude will affect Patriots’ and Raiders’ special teams

The Patriots and Raiders are meeting in Mexico City on Sunday, and special teams will be affected. The game is at Azteca Stadium, which is 7,380 feet above sea level. That’s much higher than the 5,280-foot altitude of Denver, and that means punts and field goals will travel farther than they do at any NFL [more]

Jack Del Rio on Mexico City altitude: Preparing in Oakland makes sense for us

The Raiders and Patriots will be playing in Mexico City this Sunday and the two teams have opted for different ways of preparing for the game. The Raiders are practicing in Oakland and are treating the game similarly to other road trips while the Patriots have moved operations to Colorado Springs after playing in Denver [more]

Derek Carr thinks Raiders are Mexico’s team

Considering their home is a temporary one, and they’re going 2,000 miles from home this week, the Raiders expect to enjoy home-field advantage Sunday. Via Chris Booker of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr thinks his team will have a vocal following in Mexico City against the Patriots. The Raiders beat the Texans there [more]

New England Patriots Training With Air Force To Prepare For Oakland Raiders Game

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) – The tunnel leading down to the Falcon Stadium football field is dotted with warnings that a “lack of acclimation to altitudes above 6,000 feet has proven to cause serious illness.”

Just before reaching the field, there’s an overhang with a sign that warns about a “lack of oxygen ” at 6,621 feet above sea level.

Meant more for intimidation than information, the signs still serve as a stark reminder of the Rocky Mountain’s lung-piercing thin air. Which is exactly why Bill Belichick decided to keep his team in Colorado after the Patriots (7-2) destroyed the Broncos 41-16 Sunday night.

Up next for Tom Brady & Co. is a trip to Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium (elevation 7,200 feet) to face the Oakland Raiders (4-5) on Sunday. So, rather than head home, the Patriots bused an hour south to train at altitude this week.

“You can feel it for sure,” said tight end Rob Gronkowski, noting his skin was dry. “A lot of people are getting their nose super dry, their mouth super dry. So, I’m just glad to be here to prepare for what Mexico City will be, at the same altitude. So, it’s good training and I’m glad we’re doing it.”

Belichick also brought his team to the Academy for its attitude.

They heard about survival training from cadets who had to hunt wildlife in the mountains; they listened to Falcons football coach Troy Calhoun talk about molding the next generation of military leaders; and they got to see paratroopers cap off Wednesday’s workout on the Falcons practice fields.

“Which was super cool,” Gronkowski said.

Belichick was first introduced to military and football formations as a youngster at the Naval Academy, where his father, Steve, had a 33-year run as a football coach and scout for the Midshipmen.

“I have a lot of respect for all the service academies – but Navy first,” Belichick said. “But a lot of respect here. These guys do a great job. … This is a great, great institution. The discipline, the leadership they have here. I hope some of it rubs off on me this week.”

Gronkowski said this week has been a training camp-like bonding experience for the Patriots, who have toured some of the sites on the sprawling mountainous installation.

“It’s good to have an understanding of where you are and what happens at an institution like the Air Force Academy,” Belichick said. “We only have one guy that can really relate to that.”

That’s long snapper Joe Cardona, who attended the Naval Academy and knows firsthand the rigors of a military institution.

This week he’s harkening back to his college days as the Patriots bond with one another.

“Being together as a team is great. You’re surrounded by each other and it’s great for building the team, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than at the Air Force Academy,” Cardona said. “Well, maybe at the Naval Academy. But it’s great to be here.”

Even in the thin air.

“I would be remiss to say I play enough plays to really have my lungs burning,” Cardona said, “but there were a few times in practice that I had to breathe a little deeper, try to get the oxygen in.”

Even though he knows all about the effects of altitude from his days as Denver’s defensive coordinator, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio is taking the opposite approach. He’s keeping his team at sea level this week just as he did last season in the lead-up to Oakland’s game against Houston at Azteca Stadium, which the Raiders won 27-20.

“We’re going in as late as possible, and they’re spending the week training at altitude in Colorado,” Del Rio said. “So, two contrasting approaches to it, and we’ll see how it works out. We did this last year. We went the day before like we’re doing this year and that seemed to work for us. I know that there are several theories out there in terms of how you best handle the altitude and we just do the best we can to prepare our squads, and then we go compete.”

Tom Brady’s usual Wednesday news conference was pushed back to Friday, but he’s been looking forward to this Mexico trip since the Super Bowl.

“It will be a great experience for our team,” Brady said when word got out last winter that the Patriots would head south of the border this year. “I’ve always enjoyed it. For our team, we’ve gone to London (twice), and I’ve loved those experiences. They’ve been great bonding trips for our team.”

The Patriots played an exhibition game in Mexico City in 1998, beating Dallas 21-3.

“There’s a lot of excitement down there, and they love football,” Brady said. “We want to go down there and put on a great show.”

The only college stadium that’s higher than Falcon Field is Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium, which is 7,215 feet above sea level.

For one Patriots player, this is nothing, however.

Tackle Nate Solder grew up in Leadville, Colorado, which is 10,152 feet above sea level.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.