The message is clear: The Raiders need to get out of their own way

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The message is clear: The Raiders need to get out of their own way

KANSAS CITY -- Some messages are easier to discern than others.This one was as clear as the crisp, cold day in Middle America.Get out of our way, the Raiders seem to be saying to anyone in their path. Even, and, yes, especially, the guys wearing Silver and Black.No wonder an exhausted Hue Jackson looked more relieved and, yes, somewhat disgusted, than happy when Sebastian Janikowski's game-winning 36-yard field goal split the uprights in overtime.

Sure, the Raiders had survived, 16-13, against the Kansas City Chiefs. But the agony they put themselves through before coming out on top was almost too much for Jackson to bear. Almost."I feel like I want to pass out," Jackson said as he took the podium for his postgame media conference. "I'm serious."Could you blame him?Not only had the Raiders turned away the Chiefs, Oakland also had to deal with, in their opinion, flag-happy referees. But perhaps most draining, they had to overcome themselves.The Raiders had a season high-tying 15 penalties, for 92 yards. They blew a beautifully-executed fake field goal for a 36-yard touchdown run by Brandon Myers when long snapper Jon Condo inexplicably let the play clock expire for a delay-of-game penalty. Then they missed the ensuing field goal. Later, they allowed the Chiefs to drive 80 yards in five plays and 1:53 to tie the game with 62 seconds to play."That's Raider football right now," Jackson said with a sigh. "That's the way it's been."I wish we could win 40-14, I do. We haven't had one of those yet. But at the end of the day, the bottom line is winning, and that's what this is all about."After all, when it came to crunch time, the Raiders settled down."This is not the time to have a penalty," quarterback Carson Palmer barked in the huddle. "If somebody gets a good jump and the snap gets by you, let them go. I'll get out of the way.'"You can't get backed up, especially in overtime."The message got across: Oakland did not have another penalty after Stanford Routt was called for defensive holding with 13:54 to play in regulation.And the message was clear after the Raiders won the coin toss heading into overtime."Oh, O.K.," receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said when he heard the play come into the huddle. "We're going for it."Lined up on the left in a two-receiver set, Heyward-Bey sold a post-pattern before running by free safety Kendrick Lewis down the sideline on a corner route.Palmer lofted a perfectly-placed ball, Heyward-Bey ran under it and had a 53-yard pickup, down to the Chiefs' 23-yard line."That was a hell of a call from Hue," Heyward-Bey said. "That took a lot of guts."Said Palmer: "It was just the right time to call it. I wanted it earlier, but we saved it for the right time."It was also the first play of overtime and was set up by Michael Bush's running on first downs throughout the game."Darrius has been through a lot," Bush said, "dropping balls, catching balls, and he made a big play."Bush then picked up five yards on a pair of carries and out trotted Janikowski for the win."That was Carson at his finest right there, in my opinion," Jackson said of the throw that set up the game-winning field goal. "And that's what he's got to be for this football team, and that's what I expect he will be for this football team. He's just got to keep pushing."And the Raiders have to stay out of their own way.Still, Jackson had an inkling things would be O.K.The rookie coach recounted a story of one of his last conversations with the late Al Davis."The man told me, he said, 'Hue, we will win it in the end,'" Jackson said. "And I believe that. I don't know how it's going to happen, but I know this much, I truly believe in a guy who was my leader, who told me that before he passed (away)."Minutes later, the spent Jackson, his playoff hopes still aloof, left the interview room, walking arm in arm with Raiders CEO Amy Trask.The message, indeed, was clear.

Injury report: Joseph out, Latham questionable for Raiders vs Chiefs

Injury report: Joseph out, Latham questionable for Raiders vs Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders safety Karl Joseph hurt his toe in Sunday’s victory over Buffalo, and was still in pain early the next week.

That gave him virtually no shot to play Kansas City on Thursday night with a short week to recover. The Raiders made his omission official on Wednesday, and ruled the first-round pick out of the AFC West clash at Arrowhead Stadium on their official injury report.

Veteran Nate Allen will take his place in the starting lineup. He played well in Joseph’s stead against the Bills, and has the versatility to play back or closer to the line of scrimmage as Joseph did.

The Raiders defense is still ailing on the interior, with defensive tackle Stacy McGee (ankle) ruled out of his second straight contest.

There is slightly better news for Darius Latham, who was deemed questionable after missing two light practices but returning in time for limited work on Wednesday. Getting him back would help a thinned rotation that heavily features Denico Autry, Dan Williams and Jihad Ward, who has struggled some of late.

The Chiefs have a healthy team despite the short week. Receiver Jeremy Maclin will return from a groin injury. Edge rusher Tamba Hali will play despite limted practice work, and defensive tackle Dontari Poe is questionable with a back issue.

Raiders Status Report
Doubtful

LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), S Karl Joseph (toe), DT Stacy McGee (ankle) Questionable
DT Darius Latham (ankle), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Cory James (shoulder)

Chiefs Status Report

Questionable
DT Dontari Poe (back), DE Kendall Reyes (knee)

NOTE: Kansas City’s WR Jeremy Maclin, OLB Tamba Hali and CB Phillip Gaines did not receive an injury designation, meaning they will play.

 

Mack, Irvin feed off each other, form dynamic duo in Raiders pass rush

Mack, Irvin feed off each other, form dynamic duo in Raiders pass rush

The Buffalo Bills were running right through the Oakland Raiders early in Sunday’s contest, a never-ending assault that took its toll on defenders in silver and black.

That was the case for the most optimistic, steadfast member of that unit.

“We were giving up big plays, and I was frustrated,” star edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “Actually, I was pissed off.”

Bruce Irvin sensed a disturbance in the force. The veteran pass rusher knew how to fix it.  A little pep talk would get Mack going again.

“We feed off each other’s energy. … That dude pulls me up. I was feeling a little down towards the middle of the game, and he was like, ‘Come on. We need you. Come on. Let’s go. He pulled me up and kept pushing.”

That wasn’t the turning point in yet another comeback win. It wasn’t the only reason why defense locked Buffalo down during a run of 29 unanswered points.

It showed how strong a friendship Mack and Irvin have formed since the spring, one that helps get the best out of the other. Bonds formed from insatiable work ethic, one evident even in the offseason program.

“We’re both so hungry to be great that it just brought us together,” Irvin said. “When I got here, we talked right away. Khalil and (quarterback Derek Carr) were the first two guys I sat down with, and I told them I was coming over to play with Khalil, to help turn this thing around and become one of the top units in the league. Khalil and I just bonded quickly, and it was like we had been friends forever. It’s like whole thing was meant to be.”

It has turned out to be a productive pairing. There are 15 sacks, 94 other quarterback pressures and eight forced fumbles between Irvin and Mack this season.

Mack has the bulk of those numbers, especially during a second-half run where he has been outright dominant and jumped into the conversation for defensive player of the year. Mack has been involved in four turnovers the last two games, including game-sealing strip sacks while recovering his own fumble in consecutive weeks.

“You all don’t want to talk to Robin,” Irvin quipped. “Batman’s right over there.”

Irvin has used that line after two home victories in a row. The fifth-year pro is more than Mack’s sidekick. He’s on a roll himself, with sacks in three straight games. He uses speed and agility to create pressure off the strongside edge, dealing with left tackles on a consistent basis.

“I’m in a good groove right now,” Irvin said. “Mentality, physically, I’m in a very good place right now. It’s really showing on the field these past couple weeks.”

Irvin has been a productive defender either making plays on his side or driving traffic back towards Mack. It works both ways, with Mack drawing significant attention that often leaves Irvin in more favorable matchups.

The combination has been impactful, especially on a defense that doesn’t’ get pressure from other sources. They’ve been productive in the clutch as well, with six sacks coming in the fourth quarter. Mack has big plays the last two weeks, and Irvin has a big sack late in a victory over Houston in Mexico City.

The Raiders defense is improving, and having Irvin rushing strong recently helps Mack and the entire Raiders defense.

“He’s always been in a good groove, but there are things going well for this defense,” Mack said. “I’m on the other side, and you have coverage going well. (Opponents) try to do all the chipping and those things that play a factor in doing what we do. The fact that he’s rolling right now is not a surprise.”