OAKLAND – It’s impossible to say the Raiders stopped LeSean McCoy. The Buffalo Bills running back had 130 yards on just 17 carries, averaging 7.6 yards per rush.
He was shifty as advertised, hard to bring down especially in open space. He killed the Raiders early on, suffocating them with a steady dose of his rushing style.
They couldn’t stop him at all. Until they made some changes that put more bodies around the ball, dared the Bills to throw deep and came at McCoy in waves.
“We saw how they were trying to attack us,” linebacker Malcolm Smith said. “We found a way to protect ourselves and be in better position to make plays.”
It took some time to figure out, but McCoy started slowing down late in the third quarter. He had 14 carries for 127 yards until he cramped up later in the third quarter, and didn’t do much on the ground after that.
“He’s one of the best in the business,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He made life difficult for us, but we settled in and got the stops we needed to get a nice victory.”
Stopping the run was key to it. Stopping, of course, remains a relative term. Buffalo ran for 212 yards and three touchdowns and, at times didn’t need to pass to move downfield and score.
The Bills offense got bottled up in the third quarter, with three straight three-and-outs that put Buffalo into passing situations where they struggle and the Raiders pass rush can make a profound effect.
“They showed what type of team they are,” McCoy said. “They got stops when they needed stops and scored when they needed to. …I just felt like this is a game we had in our hands that we let slip away.
Carr’s pinky is fine, thank you: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was taken off the injury report after this practice week. He wasn’t questionable or doubtful after dislocating his pinky in two spots last week versus Carolina. He was going to play.
He didn’t wear a glove on his ailing digit, though he sported a splint of some sort during the game. He had his throwing hand’s pinky and ring fingers taped together in a postgame press conference – it’s that way much of the time – but insisted it caused zero issues during Sunday’s game. The Raiders played all but one snap from the shotgun and pistol, but Carr bristled at questions whether his finger limited the offense in any way.
Proof is in a 97.3 passer rating, 260 yards passing, two touchdown and no picks. He was rarely inaccurate, and played well throughout the game.
Carr had his left hand examined after a planned run, but never missed a snap and came out of the game just fine.
“It really didn’t (impact me),” Carr said. “If I missed a throw it was just because of me to be honest. They took me off the injury report for a reason. It was not affecting me at all. Just leaving it taped for precautionary, just to be safe.”
Marquette gets flagged: Raiders punt Marquette King feels so good after a punt goes well that he just has to dance. That’s why he busted out the Pee Wee Herman “Tequila” dance after pinning Buffalo at their 4-yard line.
A rusher hit him in the leg and was called for roughing the kicker, and King went a smidge too far. He picked up the flag – you can’t do that – did a jig as he waved it in the air, and then spiked it to the ground.
It was entertaining, sure. But it also drew another flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“It’s definitely a teachable moment,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s not mean spirit in what he’s doing. He’s having fun. He enjoys himself. He had the Pee Wee Herman out there today. I saw that. I got a giggle.
“He’s enjoying himself. Now, right there, he just didn’t realize you can’t do that. He was like, ‘Really? I couldn’t do that? Oh man. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Mr. Ref.’ It really was innocent and obviously, we’ll make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to teaching to make sure we understand what we need to do there. That should never happen again.”
Cowser’s first sack: Undrafted free agent James Cowser is popular among his teammates. The edge rusher was well liked during his time in the preseason, and was welcomed back when signed to the practice squad near midseason.
He was added to the active roster last week, made his professional debut on special teams against Carolina and made a big impact on defense Sunday afternoon.
He sacked Tyrod Taylor for a 10-yard loss in the second quarter to help force the Bills’ first punt. It was his first as a pro, though the action is old hat for the all-time FCS leader in sacks.
It was a big moment for Cowser and those around him.
“Cowser stepped up and got a big sack at an important time,” fellow edge rusher Khalil Mack said. “We knew he could step in and play well and do some things. It’s key for us that the young guys step up.”
This ‘n that: RB Latavius Murray scored his 10th and 11th rushing touchdowns of the season on Sunday night, the largest total since Marcus Allen had 12 in 1990. That’s the fifth-highest total in franchise history. … S Karl Joseph suffered a foot/toe injury and did not return. … The Raiders have won six straight games, and haven't allowed a 100 passer rating in that stretch. …Khalil Mack has had a sack in seven straight games. Bruce Irvin has had a sack in three straight.