Paul G's Instant Replay: Bengals 34, Raiders 10

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Paul G's Instant Replay: Bengals 34, Raiders 10

BOX SCORE
CINCINNATI -- The Raiders failed to show up in the first half, played outstanding in the third quarter and were involved in another strange progression of plays in the fourth, when the referees lost control. The end result, a 34-10 Cincinnati Bengals victory over Oakland before an announced 56,503 at Paul Brown Stadium.The Raiders' losing streak reached four games and they have been outscored by a combined 169-79 in that stretch.Midway through the fourth quarter, the Raiders appeared to have a fumble recovery on a strip by Joselio Hanson for a touchdown that would have made the score 27-17 on Mohamed Sanu when the referees huddled and announced an "inadvertent whistle" stopped the play, giving the Bengals the choice of accepting the play or playing it over. They played it over. And on a Bengals delay of game, Lamarr Houston took Andy Dalton down, creating a melee that ended with the refs kicking out Houston, Tommy Kelly and Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, despite Bengals defensive players Manny Lawson, Carlos Dunlap and Taylor Mays coming on the field. Former Raiders coach-turned Bengals assistant Hue Jackson also came on the field to play the role of peacemaker, so to speak.East Coast Woes continue: The Raiders' woes in the Eastern Time Zone continued as they lost their ninth straight game in the east, getting outscored by a combined 315-155 in the process. The skid dates back to the Bruce Gradkowski comeback game in Pittsburgh on Dec. 6, 2009. In fact, the Raiders are now just 5-26 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone since Dec. 15, 2002.A less-than-welcoming homecoming: Carson Palmer was booed lustily early and often as the Raiders quarterback made his first appearance in Cincinnati since "retiring" and being traded over a year ago. He was greeted by the Bengals just as rudely, getting sacked four times, including twice in the Raiders' first possession, losing a fumble and getting picked off. Palmer finished with 146 yards on 19 of 34 passing with a touchdown pass. His franchise-record streak of 200-yard passing games ended at 16.Halftime adjustments?: After getting outscored by a cumulative 123-34 in the third quarter this season, the Raiders beat the Bengals 10-0 in the third on Sunday, Sebastian Janikowski drilling a 50-yard field goal and Carson Palmer hit Denarius Moore for a 20-yard touchdown pass.Automatic SeaBassstill: Sebastian Janikowski's 55-yard field goal in the third quarter, kicked into the more open end of the stadium with the Ohio River in the background, easily cleared the crossbar. It was his 23rd made field goal of the season in 24 attempts. His only miss was the 64-yarder he attempted at the end of regulation against Jacksonville.Turning on a dime: After outscoring the Bengals 10-0 in the third quarter, climbing within two touchdowns at 24-10 and sitting at midfield on 2nd and 4, Carson Palmer was strip-sacked by Manny Lawson and Rey Maualuga recovered. Two plays later, BenJarvus Green-Ellis broke off a 39-yard run to the 1-yard line. A 20-yard field goal by Mike Nugent put the Bengals up by 17. Ballgame.Checking in with Tom Flores: The former two-time Super Bowl winning coach of the Raiders spares no one on the radio broadcast when things go sideways. Such was the case early. "The Raiders don't have an answer for the blitzes they've shown."Up next: The Raiders (3-8) begin a three-game homestand, their final three home games of the season, by playing host to the Cleveland Browns (3-8), who upended the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Raiders select DT Eddie Vanderdoes in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Raiders select DT Eddie Vanderdoes in third round of the 2017 NFL Draft

EDDIE VANDERDOES
Position: Defensive tackle
College: UCLA
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 305 pounds
Selection: Third round, No. 88 overall

The Raiders needed depth at defensive tackle. They got some in Eddie Vanderdoes. Whether he helps provide an interior pass rush – he needs improvement in that area -- or joins a run stuffing rotation will be determined in time, but the UCLA product is a solid athlete despite not looking the part. He’s agile with exceptional strength capable of dominating blockers along the interior line.

Good push is needed against the run and pass, especially with Dan Williams released in a salary cap move earlier this month.

Draft analysts say Vanderdoes brings toughness to his position group, and doesn’t mind taking on double teams. He has better pass-rush ability than his stats and shape suggests, assuming he can continue to develop that aspect of the game.

He’s from Auburn, just northeast of Sacramento, and will be happy playing closer to home the next few seasons.

Vanderdoes has an injury history. He missed most of the 2015 season with an ACL tear and didn’t seem to be 100 percent in 2016, when his performance took a dive. If Vanderdoes can return to pre-injury form, the Raiders have a solid player on the roster.

They didn’t produce enough in the middle against the run or pass, and need help to form a rotation capable of slowing opponents down on the interior. He can play on the nose or in three technique if asked, adding strength and versatility to the base package. Creating interior push could help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin off the edge.

The Raiders entered this draft needing defensive help, and have added three players on that side of the football. The Silver and Black still need help at linebacker as they move into the draft’s third day, where depth can be added to this group.

Raiders select safety Obi Melifonwu in second round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Raiders select safety Obi Melifonwu in second round of the 2017 NFL Draft

OBI MELIFONWU
Position: Safety
College: Connecticut
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 224
Selection: Second round, No. 56 overall

The Raiders don’t have many safeties, a position group with Reggie Nelson, Karl Joseph and not much else.

They added a physical specimen in the second round, someone who can play aggressive near the line of scrimmage. Melifonwu stands 6-foot-4 and 224 pounds, which gives him an advantage intercepting and breaking up passes.

This is an excellent value at this spot in the second round, and provides depth and competition at a key defensive spot. He can cover tight ends well without being a size mismatch, an asset the Raiders have lacked in recent seasons. He’s a hard-hitting tackler with breakneck speed. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine and jumped out of the building during agility drills.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said during the draft broadcast that Melifonwu can play press cornerback and linebacker in certain packages outside his natural safety spot. He has great range, helped by size and speed to cover miscalculations.

Analysts say he can be slow to diagnosis plays, but could be aided by veterans around him in the Raiders backfield. He also struggles at times as the last line of defense.

The Raiders have taken two defensive backs in as many selections, trying to fortify a pass defense ranked a disappointing 24th last season. They gave up too many big plays in the back, and the Raiders had drafted players who can shore up that deficiency.

General manager Reggie McKenzie prefers size in the secondary, and they got a player with great physical traits who can be developed into an even better player.

Incumbent members of the Raiders secondary should be on notice, with young bucks set to compete for significant playing time. It should be a deeper, tougher unit with Melifonwu and first-round pick Gareon Conley.

He impressed at the NFL scouting combine and the Senior Bowl, where he proved he compete with higher-level competition. If Melinfonwu and Conley make an immediate impact, the Raiders pass defense should be much improved.