Instant Replay: Raiders show progress in win over Lions

Instant Replay: Raiders show progress in win over Lions
August 15, 2014, 10:00 pm
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With two preseason games remaining and time to fix mistakes, the biggest concern regards injuries.
Scott Bair

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – The Raiders didn’t start Friday’s exhibition off right. The first offensive possession ended with an interception. Then, two plays later, the Detroit Lions were up seven points.

Offense responded with a three-and-out. The defense couldn’t counter, and conceded another touchdown.

After a dismal showing in last week’s preseason opener, the Raiders were surely thankful for time to make up for another shaky start.

While they never put together a string of dominance, the first unit showed minor flashes before exiting for good.

The defense forced a pair of three-and-outs, which was a positive after a rough start. Starting quarterback Matt Schaub led a sustained touchdown drive on his last series, an 11-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard TD run from Darren McFadden.

The reserve teams had some say, propelling the team to a 27-26 win over the Lions at O.co Coliseum.

With two preseason games remaining and time to fix mistakes, the biggest concern regards injuries. Eyebrows raised when rookie quarterback Derek Carr was pulled in the fourth quarter after taking a hard hit late in the fourth quarter.

[BAIR: Concussion tempers solid outing by Raiders QB Carr]

Carr was taken into the locker room shortly after. He pointed to his ribs as he left the field, but head coach Dennis Allen said that Carr suffered a concussion. 

The second-round pick played an extended period in this game. Head coach Dennis Allen said last week that Carr would stay with the second team, but he played a series with the first unit. He led the Raiders to a field goal on that drive.

All told, he completed 9-of-16 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown while leading the Raiders to 13 points.

Third-stringer Matt McGloin was able to lead a comeback drive after taking over for Carr, with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Brice Butler in the game's final seconds.

Schaub’s second start: Schaub had mixed results in his second preseason game, but it was an improvement over last week’s effort against Minnesota. He made several nice throws, including one that clanked off James Jones’ hands in traffic and ended up as an interception.

He made most throws under duress. The starting offensive line struggled against Detroit’s menacing defensive front, especially on the right side. He still tall, took some hits and generally played well.

He finished 8-of-13 passing for 87 yards in 25 snaps. He was 3-for-5 on third down and helped the team score its first points, which came on a 1-yard run from Darren McFadden.

Corner concerns?: Tarell Brown was set to be the Raiders’ No. 1 cornerback, whether DJ Hayden was healthy or not. It’s tough to say he’s played like one. He allowed several completions in tight coverage last week against Minnesota, but he got flat beat on his first series.

He bit on a double move from Lions receiver Golden Tate, who juked and then zooming by for an easy 28-yard touchdown reception.

Carlos Rogers had a nice pass breakup, but missed a tackle that led to a big gain. With Chimdi Chekwa out with a knee injury, TJ Carrie played outside corner in the nickel. He made some rookie mistakes as a tackler and a cover man.

Mack’s first sack: No. 5 overall pick Khalil Mack spent last week’s game against the Vikings and the first half of Friday’s preseason game in the middle of the pack. There were no “wow” plays, or many tackles for that matter, to speak of.

Mack broke through in the third quarter, and brought down Kellen Moore with a power rush. Mack doesn’t get maximum points because it came against Detroit’s third string, but it was a baby step in the right direction. He stopped running back George Winn for no gain on the next play with pure power.

He didn’t do much earlier against experienced offensive linemen, either as a linebacker or a down-lineman in the nickel package.

Hanky heavy: NFL referees are making a strong point of emphasis regarding illegal defensive contact and hands to the face. The Raiders and Lions were frequent offenders, as teams learn to adapt to stringent rule enforcement. There were fewer pre-snap penalties than last week – that’ll please the Raiders coaching staff – but there were flags aplenty.

All told, the Raiders had seven penalties for 65 yards, better than the 13 flags for 94 yards tallied last week at Minnesota.

Young players make moves: Young players, some of whom are fighting for a roster spot had quality contributions. The best came from receiver Brice Butler, a second-year player fighting for a roster spot. He had four receptions for 74 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Undrafted tight end Jake Murphy caught a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter. 

Carrie had a nice 50-yard punt return late in the third quarter.

Injury update: Raiders safety Tyvon Branch suffered an ankle injury in the first half. Carr, tackle Matt McCants and tight end Scott Simonson suffered concussions in the game. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who had a 22-yard gain on a screen pass, suffered a minor finger injury. 

Sitting it out: Several Raiders didn’t suit up due to injury. CB Nieko Thorpe, CB Chimdi Chekwa, S Brandian Ross, DT Justin Ellis, TE Nick Kasa and TE David Ausberry were scratched prior to kickoff. CB DJ Hayden, S Usama Young and G Lucas Nix remain on the physically unable to perform list.

What's next: The Raiders return to their team facility in Alameda for the rest of the preseason. They practice four consecutive days, starting Sunday, before leaving Thursday for their third preseason game at Green Bay.