Raiders key matchup No. 2: Huff vs. Manning


Raiders key matchup No. 2: Huff vs. Manning

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Broncos matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (CBS) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Part No. 1: Dennis Allen vs. John Fox

Raiders CBS Michael Huff vs. Broncos QB Peyton Manning
Tale of the tape
Huff: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, seventh season, Texas
Manning: 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, 15th season, TennesseeSo how would Michael Huff assess his play last week as a starting cornerback?"Got thrown in the fire," he said. "Kind of learned a lot last week. Had my growing pains on a few plays, obviously should have played better, got to hold up better on the outside. But luckily we got the 'W' and that week's over so I can learn from that film and get better this week."Sounds fair enough, right? Against Pittsburgh, Huff's "burn rate" was 55.6 percent in giving up five receptions on nine targets for 89 yards and a touchdown.Now Huff, who last played corner on a regular basis as a sophomore in college, finds a new challenge in Peyton Manning. Talk about your learning-on-the-job training."It's like a cat and mouse (game) because you know every snap he's reading," Huff said. "He reads everybody. Linemen, he reads whether your right foot's up, your left foot's up, things like that. So every snap you've got to be on point and ready for him."Manning, who has made a cottage industry of the no-huddle offense and changing calls at the line of scrimmage, is off to a pedestrian start, at least by his standards, with five touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 85.6."I'm not falling into that trap," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "Hes Peyton Manning. Hes a Hall of Fame quarterback. Theres no way that were going to, in any way, say that hes not the same quarterback that hes been. Ive watched the tape. Hes still an outstanding quarterback. Hes operating that offense and I dont really see much of a drop off of where hes been before. I think hes still an outstanding quarterback."RELATED: Notes from Dennis Allen's Friday briefing
Which might bode poorly for not only Huff, but also fellow cornerbacks Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson. As a trio, the three have a combined burn rate of 81.8 percent, allowing 27 receptions on 36 targets for 358 yards with a touchdown and a passer rating of 115.3.Not that Manning is licking his chops. At least, not publicly."Were still, you know, kind of forming our identity a little bit here," Manning said. "I really havent gotten into any comparisons to playing in Indianapolis here. Its a new team, weve got new players, a new system and were trying to get things going in the right direction here. So I still think it comes down to execution. Whether you huddle or you dont huddle, you still have to be able to execute. Thats really the key to moving the ball, I think."The key for Huff, meanwhile, will be beyond just covering his man. It will be mental, as in building his confidence."Definitely, because it's been so long since I was out there (at corner)," he said. "I looked back (at the tape) and I lined up sometimes 10, 12 yards off, when I really wasn't probably paying attention to it. But this week I'll be more focused on my depth on certain things."And that switch from safety to corner, just how different are the positions?"You can't really simulate what it's going to be like until you're out there," he said. "So I think just being out there that week, just learning splits and my depth on certain coverages and things like that definitely helped. I got that week out the way so this week should be better."

Notes: Marquette King has a bad day, mocked by Kelce


Notes: Marquette King has a bad day, mocked by Kelce

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Marquette King had a bad day at work. The Raiders punter rarely does, and celebrates his exploits with dances catered to each opponent. He has become a social media maven in recent weeks, by far the NFL’s most interesting punter.

On Thursday night, the opposition fought back. King mishit a punt that gave lightning quick Tyreek Hill an opportunity to return a punt 78 yards for a touchdown.

He also couldn’t get a slightly-off-target snap down in time for Sebastian Janikowski to kick a makable field goal.

All told, King punted eight times, and didn’t land a single one inside the 20-yard line. His 31.1-yard net average was 10 yards below his season average.

King’s no good, very bad day took a strange turn on the punt return touchdown, when Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce approached King and did a bronco riding dance King debuted in Week 9 against Denver. Kelce did his dance and then barked at the Raiders young punter, which was followed by a terse exchange.

"He told me I didn't have any rhythm," Kelce said on NFL Network. "I told him, 'Trust me, wait until I get until the end zone.'"

King also found Hill in the end zone and said unkind things that ultimately got him flagged for taunting.

That was the end of a bad sequence where King didn’t hit the punt right. His coverage was angled left, and he hit it straight.

“We kicked it right to a dangerous guy,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We didn’t want to kick it in the middle of the field. We wanted to get it to the sideline or out of bounds, but we just missed. He’s too dangerous a guy to give that type of opportunity to.”

Osemele taken to hospital: Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele was taken to a Kansas City hospital on Thursday morning with an undisclosed illness.

He wasn’t ready to play on Thursday night, and was a late scratch. Vadal Alexander and Jon Feliciano played left guard in Osemele’s stead, but the Raiders missed their emotional leader along the line.

Del Rio said Osemele should be fine with a few days rest, and should be ready to practice when the Raiders resume football activity early next week.

“It was significant enough that we wanted to make sure he got the proper care,” Del Rio said.

Osemele was able to travel home on the team charter.

Another strong day for Murray: The Raiders passing game couldn’t get much going against Kansas City. The same can’t be said for the run game. The Silver and Black totaled 135 yards on 31 carries, an effort led by Latavius Murray’s fine day. He had 103 yards on 22 carries, the second straight game he has exceeded 100 yards total offense.

Murray kept the offense afloat while the air attack struggled, including several key runs on a late comeback push that was ultimately unsuccessful. Murray also scored his 12th rushing touchdown of the season, matching the highest total since Marcus Allen had a dozen touchdowns in 1990.

This ‘n that: Raiders receiver Amari Cooper exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the second straight year, becoming the first Raiders to reach four digits in the first two years of his career. He is the third player in NFL history with at least 70 catches and 1,000 yards in his first two pro seasons. …Khalil Mack had a strip sack for the third straight game, which extends a marvelous run of defensive play. Mack has a sack in eight straight games, and has eight sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in the last six games. …The Chiefs have won four straight games against the Raiders, and sit atop the AFC West with three games to play.

Carr takes responsibility for poor Raiders passing game, 'We played awful'

Carr takes responsibility for poor Raiders passing game, 'We played awful'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Derek Carr has made 44 starts as Raiders quarterback. They all haven’t been pretty. Most of them have, but the 25-year has hit a few bumps during what is generally considered a sterling start to his career.

He threw some costly interceptions in 2015, and was learning on the job as a rookie. He’s been nothing short of awesome this season. Until Thursday night, certainly one of his worst as a professional.

Ponder this stat line: 17-for-41, 117 passing yards, no touchdowns, no picks. His 49.1 passer rating was career low.

That’s un-Carr-like, to say the least.

While his receivers dropped four passes, there were many others not in the tally that should’ve been caught. Special teams made some costly mistakes and the defense had some first-half lapses.

Carr wasn’t afraid to say quarterback play had a huge impact on a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a nationally televised game that dropped the Raiders to 10-3 and into second-place in the AFC West.

“It was definitely a bad night, no way of getting around that,” Carr said. “I hate to have a bad night coming on this one, out of all the games we’ve had. Obviously, we didn’t do enough. 

“I feel very responsible for that because of being the leader of the offense and the team. I feel sick to my stomach when we put something like that out there on film. It hurts, I can promise you that. I put too much time into this to go do something like that.”

Carr didn’t want to make excuses after this loss. He didn’t blame his right pinky, which he dislocated in two places against Carolina, which still causes discomfort.

“It definitely wasn’t the finger’s fault,” Carr said.

He didn’t blame frigid temperatures, or whether that had an effect on his grip or his ailing digit. It certainly might have, but the Raiders quarterback never plays the blame game.

Despite the passing game’s struggles, Latavius Murray ran well and the defense clamped down in the second half. That kept the Raiders down one score most of the second half, but they couldn’t cross the goal line.

The Raiders had more than eight minutes to put a game-trying drive together, but stalled at the Kansas City 19-yard line and turned it over on downs.

Carr put one touchdown drive together, late in the first half that made it 21-10. The defense forced two turnovers in the red zone early in the third quarter, but the Raiders only got three points from those opportunities.

That, much like everything else that happened in the passing game, was uncharacteristic of an explosive unit.

“Everything about tonight was unusual, to be honest,” Carr said. “To have our defense step up for us and make plays, and for us to go out there and not execute, do things we don’t do… That’s why it’s frustrating. That why I promise you I’m not worried.

“We played awful. It wasn’t good enough, but I’m not worried because I know the guys in the locker room. I’m not worried one bit, but it just sucks. We have to take it. We have to take the punch, but I’m not worried. I think we’re going to bounce back.”