JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Raiders have been good coming from behind this season, but they haven’t shown a killer instinct.
They’ll create a lead, let it slip and then rally (or not) at the finish.
That didn’t happen this time. They jumped out to a two-score halftime lead, sat on it and never got up in a 33-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This result was a mandatory against a poor Jaguars team with some talent and no cohesion.
A maligned Raiders defense needed this one, even if a solid showing came against a terrible Jaguars attack.
The Raiders kept Jacksonville out of the end zone for 56 minutes and largely corralled quarterback Blake Bortles and speedy receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns with coverage and an improved pass rush.
The offense scored twice in the second quarter, but didn’t do much for most of the second half. Seabastian Janikowski inflated the score with four field goals that kept Jacksonville at arm’s length, and Latavius Murray finally swung the axe on a 9-yard touchdown run with three minutes left
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wasn’t great but got the job done. He was 23-of-37 passing for 200 yards and a touchdown. Amari Cooper didn’t do much while shadowed by Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey, but Michael Crabtree came through in the clutch with eight catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.
This win wasn’t pretty, but they all count the same.
The Raiders move to 5-2 this season, with another chance to win against Tampa Bay next week in this two-game Florida swing.
The offense chose to eliminate risk while up multiple scores in the second half, milk the clock, punt and allow the defense to grind out a victory. They did exactly that, though a Julius Thomas touchdown catch trimmed the lead some with four minutes remaining.
The Raiders struggled to find the end zone early on, but scored steadily and eventually hit pay dirt twice late in the second quarter. They scored 14 points in the final 5 minutes, 32 seconds, which changed the complexion of this game.
The Raiders put together a long, sustained drive, with 63 of its 75 yards gained on the ground. Latavius Murray concluded proceedings with a 2-yard touchdown run that put his team up 13-3.
Jacksonville responded with a field goal, but left too much time on the clock for Carr.
He took the Raiders 75 yards downfield, largely on one perfect over-the-shoulder strike to Michael Crabtree. Crabtree mopped up three plays later with a 2-yard touchdown catch on a well-timed slant.
A barely watchable third quarter produced a field goal for each side as the game grinded to a halt.
Murray’s return helps run game: The Raiders running game hit a lull the past few weeks after a hot start, but it got cranking again in Jacksonville. Latavius Murray’s return and a high carry volume got things going against a middle-of-the-road Jaguars run defense.
The Raiders had 144 yards on 34 rushes, averaging 4.2 yards per carry in this one. Murray led the way with 59 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
Lots of yellow: There were a ton of penalties and a few ejections in this game. Johnny Holton and Jalen Ramsey were thrown out for fighting. Malik Jackson was ejected for multiple personal fouls complaining about a roughing the passer penalty.
The Raiders made several mistakes, and were penalized 11 times for 117 yards. The Jaguars were flagged 13 times for 122 yards. The 239 combined penalty yards are a single-game high this season.
Sitting it out: Right tackle Menelik Watson needs a bit more time to recover from a groin injury suffered in Week 3 against Tennessee. He was limited all week but not considered ready to play. Austin Howard started, and Matt McCants was his backup after missing five games with a knee injury. Vadal Alexander also missed work with an ankle injury.
The Raiders were also without core special teams players Brynden Trawick and Taiwan Jones, both down with injury.
What’s next: The Raiders will stay in Florida between Sunday’s game and next week’s contest at Tampa Bay. They’ll practice at the IMG Academy in Bradenton and stay at a nice hotel in Sarasota in the interim to prepare for the Buccaneers.