King’s Kourt: Raiders tame the Lions in the return to the Coliseum
By Kenny King
The Oakland Raiders had not played in front of the home crowd since Week 2, and they made sure to send them home happy with their Week 9 victory over Detroit.
The Oakland Raiders returned home for the first time in seven weeks, as the last time the Raiders were home, the Oakland A’s were still playing, and there was dirt on the field In addition, Melvin Gordon was a holdout, and the media was still obsessing over the 2018 trade that sent Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for a pair of first round draft picks.
In what was essentially the second home opener of the season, opening up the second half of the season, the Raiders were finally home. The fresh emerald sod glistened in the sun as the home crowd was blessed with a flyover after the National Anthem, and an emotional moment of silence for the late Willie Brown.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, a good old-fashioned shootout was underway, as the Raiders and Lions traded a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter, the first coming from Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate and October’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month Josh Jacobs. That was followed by a nine-play 75-yard drive from Matthew Stafford, capped by a two-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay.
Both offenses were moving the ball with tremendous efficiency and both defenses struggled to make adjustments for a majority of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, while the Raiders were enjoying a seven-point lead, the Lions pounced on a break in the defensive coverage and quickly drove the ball down the field to score and tie it up with a little over five minutes left in the game.
Enter Derek Carr and the Raiders offense, who relied on the sure hands of Jalen Richard, who racked up 54 receiving yards and 12 rushing yards on the series, which set the Raiders up for a nine-yard TD strike from Carr to Hunter Renfrow.
In true bend but don’t break fashion, the Raiders defense allowed the Lions to drive 76 yards down the field to the one-yard line with 3 seconds left on the clock, and on fourth-and-1, Clelin Ferrell broke free and applied the pressure to Stafford, forcing him to throw off of his back foot leading to Karl Joseph breaking up the end zone pass to cement the victory.
A tremendous amount of credit needs to go to the entire rookie class, as all the Raiders touchdowns in the game were scored by rookies. Jacobs had two, while Foster Moreau and Renfrow had the others. Rookie fullback Alec Ingold paved the way for Jacobs on his scores and rookie Trayvon Mullen showed flashes of great play.
While there wasn’t much punting in the game due to both offenses efficiency, rookie punter AJ Cole also played exceptionally well in averaging 48 yards per punt.
The road trip certainly helped build team chemistry as when I sit, ok, pace, and watch each game you see a group of men who are truly enjoying what they do and are continuing to grow together as a team. The Raiders are a young team that is continuously getting better and are learning along the way. As the Raiders embark into the second half of the season they must now look forward to continued growth, minimizing mistakes, capitalizing on opportunities and being more aggressive on defense.
Enjoy this win Raider Nation, it feels good. Soak it in and keep this excitement through the week because this is a short week and the Los Angeles Chargers are coming to town. Raider Nation needs to be in full force this Thursday and bring the fire and excitement that only Raider Nation can.
The Raiders are at a point in their schedule where they can truly control their destiny, a win this week puts the team above .500 and looking ahead the Raiders have a real opportunity to make a run.