Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Full Report Card Grades for Oakland
It’s time to forget about the theory focusing on West Coast teams traveling poorly into east-coast time zones and instead give credit to preparation. The Oakland Raiders beat their fourth consecutive opponent outside the Pacific Standard time zone with a 33-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Silver and Black controlled the game throughout. However, the win came with some rough patches, specifically the chippy and undisciplined play between both teams. The Raiders and Jaguars accumulated a combined 24 penalties, 239 yards lost and three ejections.
Contrary to what many expected, this game didn’t feature two high-octane offenses. Both squads logged 344 total yards. At times, the Raiders struggled to punch the ball past the goal line, settling for four field goals. The Jaguars couldn’t even reach the end zone in the first half.
For the most part, Jacksonville couldn’t get out of their own way with penalties, drops and turnovers. The Raiders capitalized on the additional scoring opportunities. Oakland forced three takeaways, and the defense didn’t allow the opponent a serious shot at a comeback.
Oakland answered a terrible loss at home with a decisive victory on the road against a team that won consecutive games. The Raiders maintained their undefeated record (4-0) when going into another club’s house.
The Jaguars came into this game with the No. 8 pass defense in the league. They don’t allow offenses to gain chunk yardage downfield, and it didn’t happen for the Raiders on Sunday. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 200 yards and a touchdown.
Nonetheless, unlike the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, he didn’t turn the ball over either. Carr didn’t toss up risky 50-50 passes for his receivers. He took what the defense allowed and put together a pivotal drive before halftime with a deep throw to wideout Michael Crabtree for 56 yards. They finished the drive with Carr’s only touchdown pass, which gave the Raiders a comfortable 20-6 cushion.
It’s good to see Carr avoid forcing deep throws or pressing to move the ball when the opportunities just didn’t exist downfield.
Welcome back, Latavius Murray. He averaged a pedestrian 3.2 yards per carry on 18 carries for 59 yards, but he scored two of the team’s three touchdowns. His final score closed the door on a potential Jaguars’ comeback.
Murray’s return means a lot more than 3.2 yards per carry. Carr looked less frenetic in the pocket with the starting back in pass protection.
Murray’s short runs also extended drives, which keeps the defense on the sideline a little longer. He’s not going to consistently reach 100 yards on the ground, but his nose for the end zone and technique in blocking schemes goes unmatched among the Raiders’ running backs.
Both Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington fit as complementary backs, but the offense still needs a hammerhead who can run with volume to finish off drives and rack up first downs. Jamize Olawale can’t handle 18 carries per game like Murray.
Wide Receiver and Tight End
The Jaguars decided to focus on and negate Amari Cooper throughout the game. They stayed content with taking away the young dynamic receiver as a deep threat. However, the attention to Cooper opened the field for Seth Roberts and Crabtree in critical moments.
As mentioned, Crabtree burned cornerback Prince Amukamara on a deep reception for 56 yards before halftime. The veteran wideout then finished the drive with a touchdown catch. Though unfair because it’s not a throat slash, Crabtree must stop celebrating with the Kenny Powers gesture to avoid unnecessary penalties.
Again, Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera posed as decoys for most of the game. Walford could’ve reeled in a touchdown catch in the first half, but a tipped ball disrupted his concentration. Yet, he had an opportunity to pull in the catch. The Raiders have non-factors at tight end right now.
The running lanes didn’t open for any of the ball-carriers on Sunday. On the positive side, the offensive line kept Carr’s jersey clean. The Jaguars came with extra pressure, but the pass protection handled blitzes and extra defenders adequately.
In an unfortunate situation, Donald Penn lost his composure late in the game when the players let frustration overwhelm cooler heads. As a veteran, you’d like to see Penn maintain his self-control when the opponent attempts to gain an emotional advantage. Fortunately, the penalty didn’t change the outcome.
We can only point to Khalil Mack’s sack as the lone positive for a weak defensive line. If not for a wide margin on the scoreboard, the Jaguars could’ve gashed the Raiders' interior line a few more times on the ground.
Between quarterback Blake Bortles’ scrambles outside the pocket, Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon, the Jaguars ran 16 times for 105 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Oakland has allowed 100-plus rushing yards in five out of seven contests. In a close game, the run defense would’ve stood out as a bigger problem.
Bruce Irvin danced throughout the game and for good reason. Despite logging one single tackle, he applied pocket pressure in some spots and drew some penalties. Early in the game, he forced his fourth fumble this season.
On the other hand, the Raiders must find a replacement for Malcolm Smith at some point. Bortles underthrew a pass to tight end Julius Thomas in the end zone, and it landed right in Smith’s breadbasket. However, the linebacker didn’t want the ball enough, and Thomas ripped the pigskin through his arms and scored the Jaguars’ only touchdown.
The refs also flagged Smith for unnecessary roughness during a hostile point in the game and defensive-pass interference.
For consecutive weeks, the secondary put together a joint-solid performance. There's one issue, though. Wide receiver Marqise Lee took advantage of D.J. Hayden in the slot. The Jaguars wideout racked up seven catches for 107 yards, but it’ll go unnoticed due to Bortles’ overall poor performance and a Raiders victory.
Other than poor coverage in the slot, the perimeter cornerbacks didn’t allow chunk yardage downfield. In some cases, the Jaguars suffered self-inflicted miscues in the passing attack, which include critical drops.
Nonetheless, David Amerson came up with a crucial interception in the end zone. The talented pair of Allen wide receivers—Hurns and Robinson—combined for a mere six catches for 54 yards.
The Raiders’ special teams played a near-flawless game against the Jaguars. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski proved he still has game left in his tank; he converted all four field-goal attempts and tacked on three extra points after the touchdown scores.
Long snapper Jon Condo sent a bad snap toward Marquette King. The athletic punter took off running for a first down on a 27-yard dash and gained more rushing yards than Richard and Washington combined on one rush attempt. King turned an imperfect play into a solid dagger into the heart of the Jaguars’ comeback.
Andre Holmes also recovered a muffed punt return, which led to a field goal.
The coaching staff didn’t make any glaring mistakes this week. The Raiders couldn’t muster up a lot of offense in the second half, but the Jaguars defensive backs put up a tough challenge in coverage.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave went with a gadget play, featuring Johnny Holton on the run, which worked on the first attempt and failed on the second. Again, credit the Jaguars for a solid game plan in pass defense.
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s unit held the Jaguars offense to 16 points. Of course, Smith should’ve intercepted the late pass to Thomas in the end zone for a wider win margin.
However, the defense forced three turnovers. We can all look at yards allowed and advocate firing Norton, but his defense comes up with critical turnovers more times than not, such as Amerson's interception of a pass in the end zone, which could’ve ended with a deflection. The Jaguars would’ve still put points on the board, though.
Norton actually drills his defensive backs on catching the football during practices, which translates to takeaways on the field. The Raiders held the Jaguars to 344 total yards—the fewest allowed in a single game this season.
Box score stats provided by NFL.com.
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