Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Full Report Card Grades for Oakland
It’s better to win a disgusting, penalty-ridden contest than to lose a clean game. The Oakland Raiders accomplished the former with an NFL-record 23 infractions in a poor showing in terms of field discipline and on-field communication.
Nonetheless, when’s the last time the Silver and Black finished the first half of a season at 6-2 or better?
The answer is 2001.
The Raiders' fifth consecutive road victory and sixth win of the season came late in overtime after blowing three real opportunities to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in regulation and overtime combined.
After celebrating a hard-fought win, head coach Jack Del Rio must address the team’s propensity to rack up senseless penalties on late hits, illegal formations and delays of game. The coaching staff should look in the mirror to address personnel infractions for employing 12 men on the field.
The absurd amount of violations falls squarely on Del Rio’s shoulders. As the leader on the sideline, the confusion, undisciplined play and NFL record for most penalties happened on his watch. The Buccaneers didn’t play well on Sunday, which allowed the Raiders to win despite the atrocities on the field.
Oakland took the field as its only competition on Sunday. The Buccaneers didn't offer much on either side of the ball. Fortunately, the Raiders didn't beat themselves.
As for the victory, the Raiders’ young stars put their best on display. Quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive lineman Khalil Mack all finished with impact plays to propel the team to victory. Wideouts Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts put the game away with their catch-and-run receptions in overtime.
The team should take solace in performing well enough to overcome all the self-inflicted wounds in Week 8.
How does each positional group grade in the 30-24 overtime victory?
For the first time, it’s necessary to add a plus to an A. Carr threw the ball 59 times and didn’t throw a single interception. The Buccaneers strip-sacked him, but the Raiders signal-caller made big-time plays throughout the matchup. He nearly helped put the game away on a 13-yard scramble in regulation before a missed field goal.
Overall, Carr completed 67 percent of his passes with a heavy workload and a lot of pressure on his arm to deliver for nearly 75 minutes. Unlike other prominent quarterbacks, he’s more judicious with his passes and accurate with ball placement in crucial moments. Carr threw for 513 yards, which goes down as a career high and ties for ninth-most during a game in NFL history.
Individually, the running back performances don’t jump off the page. However, for those watching the actual game, you realized Latavius Murray's four first-down carries were huge factors in a tight game. Both DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard broke off runs for 20 or more yards.
It’s ideal to display more offensive balance, but Carr’s throwing arm caught fire, and the running backs contributed in spots to keep offensive drives alive. After a stagnant start, fullback Jamize Olawale produced the first big play on a 68-yard reception to the Buccaneers' 3-yard line.
Wide Receiver and Tight End
The Buccaneers didn’t pick their poison; they chose both on Sunday. Cooper and Crabtree both eclipsed 100 receiving yards. The younger wideout took his production to another level with some spectacular deep catches, including one for a touchdown. The AC-DC connection accounted for 173 yards. Crabtree put the offense on his back during the overtime period with three catches for 60 yards.
However, Cooper dropped a critical pass that would’ve set the special teams unit up for a field goal inside the 20-yard line. He also committed an unnecessary roughness penalty in overtime, which pushed the offense back 11 yards.
On the final drive, Roberts came up huge with a 41-yard catch-and-run reception after shaking off two defenders en route to the game-winning touchdown.
Tight end Mychal Rivera came into the game with three catches for 30 yards on the season. He added three catches for 36 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to his 2016 resume.
The Buccaneers sacked Carr twice, including one strip for a fumble, which led to seven points. Offensive tackle Donald Penn caught a touchdown pass, but he also drew three unnecessary penalties in an emotional game against his former team. It’s not the first time the 10-year veteran lost his cool during a close matchup.
Overall, the referees flagged the offensive line nine times for penalties ranging from illegal procedure to illegal use of hands. Despite fielding one of the best offensive lines in the league, it’s imperative to continue sharpening techniques during practices.
Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers didn’t finish the game due to an ankle injury, per Tampa Bay Times reporter Greg Auman. Nonetheless, he ran 19 times for 69 yards, averaging 3.6 yards per carry.
The defensive line successfully limited the ground attack, which put immense pressure on quarterback Jameis Winston and his lone reliable passing target, wideout Mike Evans.
Don’t count Mack out as a sack-title contender. Through eights weeks last season, he logged four sacks. After eight weeks in the current season, he's logged five sacks after dropping Winston twice on Sunday. The Buccaneers signal-caller didn’t have ample receiving options or time in the pocket against the Raiders.
The linebackers remained quiet throughout the contest for better or worse. Perry Riley went down with an injury and returned. He finished with two tackles. Bruce Irvin assisted in clamping down on the ground attack as opposed to rushing the passer.
The referees flagged Cory James as an illegal man downfield on a punt. Malcolm Smith surrendered a touchdown and delivered an unnecessary hit on Winston for a 15-yard penalty. Fortunately, the linebackers didn’t allow the running backs or tight ends to exploit weaknesses in mid-field coverage.
The Raiders lost cornerback Sean Smith early in the game, which thrust D.J. Hayden into a prominent position on the perimeter. The fourth-year veteran struggled at times with three infractions, but he didn't surrender a lot of yards in coverage. Despite Hayden’s strides, he’s better suited to play in the slot. If Smith misses extended time, TJ Carrie should take over on the perimeter.
Karl Joseph delivered two big hits—one came in late and drew a penalty flag. Overall, he patrolled the field from sideline to sideline, minimizing yards after the catch. The rookie safety led the team with seven tackles.
Cornerback David Amerson held Evans to four catches—the fewest he's recorded in a single game on the year. The Buccaneers wideout converted a two-point conversion and accumulated a mere 50 receiving yards as a non-factor.
We can blame Cooper’s drop late in the fourth quarter or his unnecessary roughness penalty in overtime, which hurt field positioning. However, when called upon, kickers are expected to execute.
As the record holder for most conversions from 50 yards out, at times, Sebastian Janikowski will need to bail the offense out with a long field goal. He could’ve ended the game in regulation but failed to do so. He’s paid to split the uprights. If he doesn’t, it’s not Cooper’s fault or the result of windy weather conditions. The 52-yard kick isn’t a chip shot, but he still missed on a scoring opportunity.
Punter Marquette King shanked one punt for 42 yards and squandered an opportunity to pin the Buccaneers further inside their own territory in overtime.
The coaching staff implemented an effective game plan on both sides of the ball. Oakland outgained Tampa Bay 626-270 in total yards. The Raiders should’ve dominated the scoreboard, but the penalties kept the Buccaneers offense alive throughout the contest and bailed their defense out of disadvantageous circumstances. Overall, the Silver and Black gave up 200 yards in violations.
Sunday’s lack of discipline on the field isn’t an isolated incident. The Raiders averaged nine infractions per game and 75.4 penalty yards per contest coming into Week 8, per TeamRankings.com.
Del Rio must address his team’s lack of discipline going forward as the Raiders match up against stiffer competition. Five of their remaining opponents have records at .500 or better. Poor attention to detail with 12 men on the field or unnecessary roughness penalties can ruin a flawless game plan. Against better teams, there’s little margin for error.
Follow Maurice Moton on Twitter for news, updates and intriguing discussion about the Oakland Raiders.