Raiders

Raiders drop heartbreaker on late Bills TD

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Raiders drop heartbreaker on late Bills TD

Sept. 18, 2011
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Bills will take the win any way they can get it.After a wild back-and-forth fourth quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick found David Nelson wide open on fourth down for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left to secure a 38-35 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday."I don't know what happened, but I think they misaligned to be honest," Fitzpatrick said, in noting how wide open Nelson was over the middle. "I was lucky enough to see it."Chalk it up to luck, pluck and resilience, because the Bills are showing they're improved.A week after a convincing 41-7 win at Kansas City, the Fitzpatrick-led offense had a 35-point second half in overcoming a 21-3 first-half deficit.Buffalo scored touchdowns on each of its five second-half possessions as the teams traded the lead five times in the final 14:10.Fitzpatrick went 28 of 46 for 264 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Fred Jackson scored twice in the Bills' home opener."I can't recall one quite like that," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "It was an amazing gut-check by our football team. What they did coming out of halftime was really amazing."The Raiders (1-1) saw the result from a different perspective in squandering a chance to open a season at 2-0 for the first time since 2002."Not a whole lot to say other than that effort isn't going to be good enough," defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. "We didn't seem to give the offense any help in the second half. That's on us. It isn't good enough."The 38 points were the most allowed by Oakland in a loss since a 43-37 defeat to Seattle in 1998. And they allowed 481 yards - 326 in the second half - and 34 first downs."Good job by them, bad job by us," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. "When it's all said and done, we did not finish the game."And yet, the Raiders nearly pulled off an improbable comeback of their own.From his own 44, Jason Campbell threw a desperation pass into the end zone, that was intercepted by rookie cornerback Da'Norris Searcy, who outwrestled receiver Denarius Moore for the ball.Campbell went 23 of 33 for 323 yards and two touchdowns. Darren McFadden scored twice in finishing with 72 yards rushing and 71 receiving. Moore had five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in filling in for an injury-depleted receiving group that was down three starters, including Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee).As if the game needed any more drama, officials required 10 minutes to review the final play - Searcy's interception - to determine the call on the field was correct. Referee Mike Carey returned to a near-empty stadium to announce the interception had in fact stood.Seymour didn't think the call would be overturned, and then lamented: "We had opportunities and didn't take advantage of them. That's the bottom line."Two plays before Nelson's decisive score, cornerback Chris Johnson dropped an interception in the Raiders' end zone on a pass intended for Donald Jones."The game would've been over," Johnson said. "I take this loss for the team today."There was also no excusing how the Raiders left Nelson to slip free over the middle.The Bills looked down and out after a dreadful first half which ended with Oakland's Tyvon Branch blocking Rian Lindell's 39-yard field goal attempt.Buffalo then came out running in the third quarter, as Jackson opened the scoring on a 43-yard run.Then came the offense from both teams at the start of the fourth quarter.Jackson gave the Bills their first lead, 24-21, on a 1-yard run 50 seconds into the fourth quarter.The Raiders responded five minutes later, as McFadden caught a swing pass to the right and rumbled in from 12 yards.Buffalo went up 31-28 with 4:48 left when Fitzpatrick capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 6-yard pass to tight end Scott Chandler.Back came the Raiders, who regained the lead 1:07 later when Campbell hit Moore on a 50-yard pass over the middle.Fitzpatrick then led a 14-play, 80-yard drive in which he twice converted on fourth down."Determination," said receiver Stevie Johnson, who scored on a 7-yard catch. "We had the determination. Everybody was just a unit. We came out and did what we had to do."Searcy, certainly wasn't going to let anyone take the interception away. Not Moore, who got a hand on the ball, or the officials."Once I grabbed it, I told myself nobody's going grab it away from me," Searcy said.Notes: Bills owner Ralph Wilson was unable to attend his first home opener in the team's 52-year history because he's recovering from a broken hip. Wilson watched the game from his home in suburban Detroit. ... Wilson did provide a videotaped tribute at halftime, when former defensive lineman Phil Hansen was inducted on the Bills' Wall of Fame. ... According to STATS LLC, the 35 points were the most allowed by the Raiders in a second half. ... Discipline continues to play a factor against the Raiders. After being flagged 15 times for 131 yards against the Broncos, they had eight penalties for 85 yards against Buffalo.

Donald Penn ends holdout, returns to Raiders practice

Donald Penn ends holdout, returns to Raiders practice

ALAMEDA -- Left tackle Donald Penn missed Raiders training camp, two preseason games and a return to the team's practice facility while holding out for a new contract. 

He still doesn't have one. Penn ended a 26-day holdout on Wednesday afternoon, returning in time to practice with his team for the first time since the offseason program. He returned on faith, believing the Raiders would work out a higher pay rate after he re-joined the club. 

General manager Reggie McKenzie made it clear on July 31 that the Raiders wouldn't talk contract with a player who wasn't in camp. That stance never changed. 

Penn still wants a new deal. That hasn't changed, either.

The Pro Bowler out-performed the two-year, $11.9 million contract he signed during the 2016 offseason. Penn allowed just one sack and 28 total quarterback pressures last season, totals that ranked No. 6 among all NFL tackles. He wanted salary to reflect performance, with paychecks that put him in the top 10 offensive tackles. He is scheduled to receive a $5.8 million base salary in 2017, which ranks far below highest earners. 

Penn doesn't need to play in either contest to prep for the season, and he has plenty of time to get ready for the Sept. 10 opener at Tennessee. Everything he does can be simulated in practice, though game intensity is tough to match. He should slide back in with the starting offensive line, allowing Mashall Newhouse from the left side to right tackle and wage a position battle there with Vadal Alexander. 

Donald Penn practicing with the Raiders for the first time this preseason

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Penn was formally added to the active roster late Wednesday afternoon. Defensive end Jimmy Bean was waived in a corresponding move.

Bulked up Amari Cooper 'not going to let anybody push him around'

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AP

Bulked up Amari Cooper 'not going to let anybody push him around'

ALAMEDA – Amari Cooper enters this season bigger and stronger, yet still just as fast. The Raiders receiver analyzed how opponents covered him, honing on what worked best.

Defenders tried to be physical at the line of scrimmage to disrupt his timing and divert precise routes. They also shaded safeties to his side, doubling coverage downfield to make Derek Carr throw another direction.

The Raiders quarterback didn’t do that Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams. Cooper ran a go route, with a linebacker trailing, a corner on the outside and a safety crashing from the interior. In that moment, Carr let Cooper go make a play.

It was an excellent catch where Cooper high-pointed the ball and brought it down in heavy traffic. That wasn’t the type of play he was known for in previous seasons. He’s excellent at making explosive plays after the catch.

Cooper didn’t have room to move after hauling in the first-quarter volley. He crashed to the ground, but held on for a 31-yard gain, proving he can produce in different ways.

“He’s becoming that guy that we can throw it up to,” Carr said. “We all know (Michael Crabtree) can do that. In ‘Coop’s’ rookie year, he’d come down with a few of them, but it’s consistent now that he wants to be a guy that has every aspect of the receiver game. He put it on display on the one that I threw up to him. I tell the receivers before every game, ‘If it’s you one-on-one on a go and that’s the play call, I’m always going to give you a chance. I don’t care what it looks like. You go make the play or nobody does.’ I guess ‘Coop’ really took that to heart, because he wants the ball to keep coming to him.”

Cooper has said before gaining 1,000 receiving yards isn’t that hard, and he hasn’t been satisfied with two straight Pro Bowl seasons. That’s why Cooper came into training camp bigger, stronger and ready to push back.

“I think that that’s the (new) aspect this year. He’s just playing so physical,” Carr said. “He’s not going to let anybody push him around, and that’s his personality since I’ve known him. He doesn’t want anyone to push him around. He doesn’t want to take anything from anybody. I think that each year he has gotten so much better at both of those.”

High-pointing a ball is one thing. Avoiding route disruption is another. He turned to Crabtree for help near the line of scrimmage, and has added dimension to the start of his route.

“I usually use my feet to get separation off the line of scrimmage at the top of my route,” Cooper said. “But, one of the things I’ve learned from him is you can also get the same results using your hands. … The defensive back, he wouldn’t know. Are you going to use your feet? Are you going to use your hands? So it’s a good change up.”

The Raiders have seen an improved Cooper this summer in practice and preseason games, someone who isn’t simply stronger. He’s using his strength well to counter how he’s being defended.

“Much has been made about him being bigger and stronger, and you certainly see that,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said. “It’s harder for defenders to knock him off his route. He maintains proper route depth more consistently, and his play speed is high for someone who didn’t get a lot of practice (in training camp, due to injury). We were pretty pleased with what we saw (Saturday against L.A.).