Post-game recap of the Oakland Raiders thrilling 28-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4.
After a 2-1 start, the Oakland Raiders had their sights on a 3-1 record, with the undefeated Baltimore Ravens having other plans.
In a rematch from 2015, a game the Raiders won 37-33, this one had higher stakes. Oakland finished last season 7-9, while Baltimore finished 5-11. This year, both teams are off to a good start, with their eyes on the playoffs.
With the #2 offense (Oakland) facing the #2 defense (Baltimore), something had to give.
The game started out relatively slow, although Jalen Richard returning the opening kickoff for 20 yards was a decent start for Oakland. With Taiwan Jones out, this game would be a great opportunity for Richard to seize the job. More on this later.
In total, the first six drives of the game were punts. Three for the Raiders and three for the Ravens. Four of those drives were three and out — two for Oakland and two for Baltimore.
Cory James was a standout, particularly in the first half. He was making tackles all over the field, including sniffing out a screen play for a stop on third down. James had eight tackles in the first half, and one was for a loss.
There was some interesting play-calling early for Oakland — 1st & 25 screen play followed by a 2nd & 17 RB draw, for example. Also, too many penalties was once again an issue. Six for 47 yards in the first half, and a few that negated what would have been big plays for the offense.
Back to Richard, who has seen the majority of the punt return duties so far. He returned a punt 47 yards, down to the Baltimore 6-yard line.
One play later, Carr connected with Seth Roberts for a touchdown, on a diving grab by Roberts. Oakland up 7-0.
On Baltimore’s next drive, they answered back with a field goal. 9 plays, 42 yards in 3:34. This drive was almost all Joe Flacco, but the Raiders defense was able to hold with their backs against the wall. The Ravens were at Oakland’s 5-yard line, before failing having to settle for the field goal.
A couple of drives later, the Raiders put together a beautiful offensive drive — 9 plays, 80 yards in 4:00 — capped by a Michael Crabtree touchdown reception.
Crabtree had another play earlier in the drive, hauling in a contested grab on 3rd & 5. DeAndre Washington put the Raiders in position to score the touchdown, picking up a 28-yard gain on the ground. The Crabtree TD came one play after that.
After a few more defensive stops, the Raiders defense went conservative on the final drive of the half. Giving wide receivers too much room at the line or in the middle of the field, the Ravens easily got into field goal territory to end the half.
Oakland led 14-6 at halftime. One notable injury took place in the first half, as tight end Lee Smith hurt his ankle in the second quarter.
Baltimore had the ball to start the first half, and T.J. Carrie forced a fumble on Devin Hester on the opening kickoff — unfortunately, the Ravens recovered.
The second half started similar to the first, with the teams exchanging punts. But Baltimore would put together a lengthy drive on their next series, getting inside of Oakland’s 20-yard line with relative ease.
The big difference for the Ravens was getting their ground game going. Oakland run defense was gashed on the drive, all the way down to the 1-yard line. On 4th down, a QB sneak put Baltimore in the endzone. At 14-12, the Ravens two-point conversion attempt was intercepted by Sean Smith.
Oakland’s offense stalled for virtually the entire third quarter, but got some help from the defense to start the fourth, as Bruce Irvin forced a fumble that Oakland recovered at the Baltimore 29-yard line.
The offense capitalized, with a Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree touchdown connection — their second of the game. The score put the Raiders up 21-12, with about 11 minutes to go in the game.
The energy definitely picked up after this series of plays, as Khalil Mack logged his first sack of the season when the defense got back on the field.
Mack had a big day — maybe not in the box score, but he was incredibly disruptive all game long. He forced multiple holding calls and picked up his first sack of the day.
Down 21-12 after the Crabtree touchdown, the Ravens wouldn’t go away quietly. It only took one play, as Steve Smith Sr. took a pass to the house. But not before throwing a stiff arm on David Amerson and leaving Reggie Nelson in the dust.
That put the game at 21-19, Oakland. With a chance to put the game away, rookie running back DeAndre Washington fumbled.
Baltimore recovered within the redzone, and scored a few plays later. They also converted a two-point conversion to take a 27-21 lead.
With about three and a half minutes to go in the game, Oakland took over with a chance to grab the lead, and potentially win.
And that’s exactly what they did.
A 66-yard drive that took only 1:24 put the Raiders in the endzone, on a beautiful throw and catch between Carr and Crabtree. It was Crab’s third touchdown of the game.
That gave Baltimore a little more than two minutes left in the game, and they sure made it interesting. After getting to midfield with ease, their drive stalled. On 4th & 10 from the 50-yard line, they were out of field goal range, and had to go for it.
On a deep pass to Kamar Aiken, Reggie Nelson delivered a big hit, breaking up the pass.
Game over. Raiders move to 3-1.
Carr was 25 of 35 for just 199 yards, but more importantly, he had four touchdowns and no turnovers. He also didn’t take one sack.
The run game was non-existent — as a team, Oakland ran the ball 19 yards for 62 yards.
Along with Carr, Crabtree was the star of the day. 7 catches for 88 yards and 3 TD’s, including some big catches that moved the chains.
Cory James was everywhere on the day, finishing the game with 15 tackles. Karl Joseph was second, with 8 tackles. So it was another quality start for the two rookies.
The Raiders had 6 pass deflections and 2 sacks, including one that Bruce Irvin forced for a fumble.