OAKLAND – (Wire Service Report by The Sports Exchange) – The Oakland Raiders are expected to file the necessary paperwork in the coming weeks to relocate the NFL franchise to Las Vegas. After many years of trying to get a new stadium in Oakland, the Raiders have made a firm decision on their future, according to NFL media reports.
The city of Oakland has made no progress to keep the team and has not come up with a stadium proposal the league and the Raiders believe is credible, sources told Rapoport.
The Raiders need 23 of the 31 other franchises to approve the move. A relocation vote on the Raiders is not expected before the annual league meetings in March. Raiders owner Mark Davis was in talks with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson last year about financing a Las Vegas stadium for $1.9 billion.
Houston 27, Oakland 14
When: 4:35 PM ET, Saturday, January 7, 2017
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON — The Houston Texans had earned their standing as the top-ranked defense in the NFL, competing against quarterbacks that ran the gamut from exceptional to ineffective. Oakland starting a rookie signal caller opposite the Texans on Saturday and that provided another opportunity for them to showcase their might.
Behind a defense that smothered Raiders quarterback Connor Cook throughout, the Houston Texans cruised to a 27-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders in an AFC wild-card playoff game at NRG Stadium.
Cook, a fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, looked every bit like a third-stringer pressed into emergency duty, completing 18 of 45 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. With starter Derek Carr (leg) and backup Matt McGloin (shoulder) out, Cook was the lone option. The Texans, who led the NFL in total defense for the first time in franchise history, showed Cook no mercy.
“We make it difficult on a lot of quarterbacks,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “I think the guy (Cook) has a future in this league. He completed some passes and had some nice plays. We have a good scheme and more importantly than that, we have a bunch of good players. Guys that play good team defense.”
Making their first postseason appearance since the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, the Raiders did not eclipse 100 total yards until their first possession of the fourth quarter, doing so on a 10-yard pass from Cook to tight end Mychal Rivera that also marked their first third-down conversion following an 0 for 11 start.
During an eight-possession stretch bracketed by their two touchdowns in the first and fourth periods, the Raiders punted eight times, produced just three first downs, and amassed 28 net yards on 28 plays. The Raiders finished 2 of 16 on third downs and averaged just 2.9 yards per play.
“It was his first start, on the road, in a playoff game, against the No. 1-ranked defense,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said of Cook. “It was a tough draw for him.
“We had hopes that we would be able to do enough around him so he wouldn’t have to do as much.”
OAKLAND RAIDERS (12-3) AT DENVER BRONCOS (8-7)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Sports Authority Field at Mile High. TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson.
SERIES HISTORY: 113th regular-season meeting. Raiders lead series, 61-49-2. The Raiders have won two in a row. In last meeting in Denver, Raiders won 15-12 as Khalil Mack had five sacks of Brock Osweiler — all of them in the second half. The most historic meeting between these two teams was on Jan. 1, 1978, when the Broncos defeated the defending champion Raiders 20-17 to win their first AFC championship.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Raiders, who have clinched a playoff berth, can secure the AFC West division and lock up a first-round bye with a win or with a loss by Kansas City. Oakland can earn the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win and a New England loss.
With Derek Carr lost to a broken leg, Matt McGloin will step in at quarterback. The Raiders will hope to succeed with the kind of game plan that was so successful in the first meeting, when they rushed 43 times for 218 yards.
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch will both see action for Denver. No matter who takes the snaps, though, the first task remains the same: Protect the quarterback. Denver’s offensive line didn’t allow any sacks last week, but it permitted plenty of pressure, forcing Siemian to throw before he wanted time and again. If the Broncos can’t keep Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin out of their passers’ faces, the offense will again struggle.
Denver’s struggling run defense must do a better job containing Latavius Murray and Oakland’s ground game; the Raiders are one of five teams to rush for at least 150 yards at Denver’s expense.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
–Broncos OTs Donald Stephenson and Russell Okung vs. Raiders edge rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Mack and Irvin have combined for 18 of the Raiders’ 25 sacks; no other players on their roster have more than 2.5 sacks. Okung hasn’t allowed a sack since November and has finally looked comfortable after struggling at midseason, but Stephenson has consistently allowed pressure, with Dee Ford whipping around him to affect multiple Siemian throws last week.
–Raiders QB Matt McGloin vs. Broncos pass rush. Even with DeMarcus Ware sidelined, the Broncos will try to generate a pass rush that makes McGloin uncomfortable. Although McGloin has a low sack rate — one every 30.6 pass plays — he has 11 career interceptions and will throw some passes up for grabs. If the Broncos can generate enough pressure to force him into quick throws and poor decisions, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. could finally be in position to make plays they haven’t made often as opposing quarterbacks avoid throwing at them.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
–Out: QB Derek Carr (ankle), T Austin Howard (shoulder)
–Doubtful: S Karl Joseph (toe)
–Questionable: WR Amari Cooper (shoulder), WR Michael Crabtree (ankle), WR Andre Holmes (shoulder), DT Stacy McGee (groin), G Kelechi Osemele (ankle), RB Jalen Richard (shoulder), LB Perry Riley (hamstring), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)
–Out: TE A.J. Derby (concussion), S T.J. Ward (concussion), LB DeMarcus Ware (back), CB Kayvon Webster (concussion), DE Derek Wolfe (neck)
–Questionable: LB Brandon Marshall (hamstring)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Broncos TE Jeff Heuerman. In the past two weeks, he finally began playing like the contributor the Broncos expected him to be when they selected him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. With more playing time because of concussions suffered by Virgil Green and A.J. Derby, Heuerman played 29 snaps last Sunday and was second on the Broncos with three receptions for 32 yards. With a 17.1-yard average on his seven receptions this year, Heuerman has been effective finding gaps in deep zone coverage.
FAST FACTS: The Raiders have clinched their first playoff berth since 2002. Raiders RB Latavius Murray ranks fifth in the NFL with 12 rushing TDs, the most by a Raider since 1990. He rushed for 114 yards and three TDs in the last meeting. … Oakland WR Amari Cooper ranks fourth in the AFC with 1,110 receiving yards. He is the ninth player in NFL history with 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons. … Raiders DE Khalil Mack has 10 sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in his past 10 games. He is the first Raider with 10 sacks in back-to-back seasons since Derrick Burgess in 2005-06. … Broncos QB Trevor Siemian passed for 283 yards and two TDs in the last meeting. Rookie QB Paxton Lynch passed for 223 yards and a score in his last home start. … Broncos RB Devontae Booker ranks fourth among NFL rookies with 555 rushing yards. … Denver WR Demaryius Thomas leads the team with 86 catches and 1,036 yards. He needs four catches to become the third player in NFL history with five consecutive seasons of 90 receptions, 1,000 yards and five TD catches.
PREDICTION: This game will be determined by the running game, and the Raiders have enough ground beef to keep the pressure off McGloin and secure that first-round bye.
Kansas City 21, Oakland 13
When: 8:25 PM ET, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
KANSAS CITY – (Wire Service Report by Sports XChange for Digital Sports Desk) – Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has been playing football for a couple decades now between high school, college and the NFL. Never had Smith ever heard the sounds coming out of the Arrowhead Stadium stands on Thursday night.
The Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders 21-13 in a victory that left the long-time rivals tied for first place in the AFC West with matching 10-3 records. One of the key plays for Kansas City came in the second quarter, when the Raiders punted the ball to K.C.’s rookie sensation Tyreek Hill. The punt hung high and by the time Hill got his hands on the ball, he was driven backward and lost four yards on the return. However, a penalty flag was thrown on Oakland’s Taiwan Jones for going out of bounds on coverage. It’s a 5-yard penalty and the Chiefs forced the Raiders fine punter, Marquette King, to kick again.
That’s when the chant started from the 75,000-plus sitting in Arrowhead: “Tyreek, Tyreek, Tyreek.” The sound rolled across the stadium, bouncing off the building’s upper deck. On the second punt, King drove the ball to the Kansas City 22-yard line — a 54-yard kick. Hill grabbed the ball, tucked it under his arm and proceeded to run through the Oakland coverage team for a 78-yard touchdown, and a 21-3 first-half lead for the Chiefs.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen what happened tonight,” said Smith. “I’ve never seen a stadium chanting a guy’s name like that and then he houses it (touchdown return). It gave me chills on the sideline. The whole stadium is chanting his name and then he answers. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen, for sure.”
It was just part of a typical Chiefs-Raiders game they’ve been playing for 57 years now. The Chiefs jumped to that 18-point lead on Hill’s return score, and never changed the scoreboard after that. Oakland’s offense struggled all night, and was able to get only one touchdown and a couple field goals.
“Everything about tonight was unusual, and frustrating,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who saw his team’s six-game winning streak halted by the poor offensive performance. “Obviously we played awful and it wasn’t good enough.”
Although they won the game, the Chiefs suffered a big loss as the defense’s leading tackler, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, left the field with a ruptured left Achilles. The season is over for the 34-year old Johnson, who missed 15 games in the 2014 season with a torn right Achilles.
“It’s a sad deal,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on losing Johnson. “We had a letdown after it happened. But Justin (Houston) and Eric (Berry) got them going again. That would have been the last thing D.J. wanted, would be a letdown.”
The Chiefs controlled the game in the first half thanks to Hill, with his punt return score and a 36-yard touchdown pass from Smith. Running back Charcandrick West also contributed a 3-yard scoring run.
KANSAS CITY – (Wire Service Report by Sports XChange for Digital Sports Desk) – When the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs got together for their twice yearly meetings over the last 57 years, there’s always been a certain edge to the competition. Generally what has been on the line is pride, reputation and honor. Every once in a while the payoff is even larger. The latter is the case Thursday night when the Raiders visit Arrowhead Stadium to play the Chiefs. Kickoff is set for 7:35 p.m. in what is predicted to be a frigid evening, with temperatures in the high-teens and a wind-chill factor that will make it feel like 10 degrees.
“Honestly I love the cold,” said Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. “I played in the Mountain West Conference and you play in a lot of different places whether it’s Wyoming or Reno or Air Force or Colorado State, obviously cold places. I’ve had my fair share of those games; you treat it like any other game whenever you talk about weather. If you let it affect you, it will, so you just go out there with the right mindset.”
The weather conditions just may help the 9-3 Chiefs cool off the hot 10-2 Raiders. The battle is for control of the AFC West, where Oakland is the leader and the Chiefs sit a game behind. But Kansas City won the first game between the teams 26-10 back in October in Oakland. Since that game the Raiders have not lost, racking up six consecutive victories by an average margin of nine points. Carr has become the first player in NFL history to throw five game-winning touchdown passes in the fourth quarter or overtime in a season.
“Both teams know each other,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “They’ve made changes defensively that have made them better on that side of the ball. They’re playing very good all the way around in the different phases. They were a little down on the defensive side early on but they’ve picked up in that area. They’re flying around and making plays.”
Other than a two-point loss to Tampa Bay just over two weeks ago, the Chiefs have continued their winning ways, taking six of the last seven games. With their 11-1 record to close out the 2015 season, Kansas City is 20-4 in their last 24 regular-season and postseason games. Both teams won last Sunday, with the Chiefs beating the Falcons in Atlanta by one point and the Raiders coming from behind for a victory over Buffalo.
The short preparation time is the bane for all players and coaches, especially the Chiefs, who have had two straight road games, including the trip to Denver when they played a full 75 minutes. The Raiders will be sore, tired and cold.
“The number one thing is recovery,” said Carr. “In a week like this, there’s some tough things that come with it, but like Coach Del Rio says, ‘Nobody cares.’ Nobody cares, at the end of the day you have to go play.”
The Raiders have a half-dozen victories this season that came with strong fourth-quarter comebacks. It’s a mentality that’s changed around Oakland with Del Rio in charge.
“We’re learning how to win games at whatever cost it takes,” said Carr. “Whether it’s Khalil (Mack) stripping somebody or Tay (Latavius Murray) running the ball in or Seth (Roberts) catching another game-winner, we’re just learning how to win games. I think that the more experience we have at doing that, the more situations we’re in we’re going to be able to look back and said, ‘We’ve done this before’.”
The first game between these teams was a 16-point victory for the Chiefs. That day the Raiders did not have Murray, who was out with an injury. He should be on the field Thursday evening. That K.C. victory was built on ball control and security.
They’ll need more of the same to slow the Raiders locomotive.
“The positive is you get a few days off afterwards,” said Reid. “Getting ready is a bit of a scramble drill, but you do it and you move on. It’s hardest on the players, especially the later you get in the year.”
OAKLAND – (Wire Service Report) – The City of Oakland is making its pitch to keep the Raiders in town and Mayor Libby Schaaf said it has reached a framework agreement for a new stadium designed to prevent the NFL team from leaving. The agreement is with a group headed by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and must be approved by the Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council before the two sides can move forward.
The Raiders and owner Mark Davis are not involved in the agreement. Davis is attempting to move the team to Las Vegas and hoping to gain approval from the NFL owners.
Details of the agreement with the Lott group weren’t revealed by Schaaf but she indicated the arrangement would satisfy some of Davis’ previous demands.
“What I can tell you is the Lott group has the ability and the willingness — more than that, the passion — to actually put the private money into this deal that I believe it would take to actually build a stadium under the conditions that Mark Davis has always said he needs,” Schaaf told reporters. “And then at issue I’ve been very clear that it’s a team-centered approach but one that protects the public dollar.”
Davis has previously stated that the franchise will play the next two seasons in Oakland even if the Las Vegas move is approved.
The Raiders are 8-2 this season and possess a standout quarterback in Derek Carr.
Oakland 27, Houston 20
Where: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
MEXICO CITY — The Oakland Raiders, designated as the home team Monday night at Estadio Azteca, took a while before giving their fans something to cheer. Derek Carr threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as the Raiders rallied for a 27-20 win over the Houston Texans.
After manhandling the Raiders (8-2) for the majority of the night, the Houston defense committed a pair of costly lapses on the game-tying and go-ahead scoring players. Carr was absolutely clutch in the fourth quarter. A trendy Most Valuable Player candidate, he completed 21 of 31 passes for 295 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for a 117.0 passer rating.
“We weren’t doing things the way we usually want to do things executing-wise, but there’s never a doubt in anybody’s mind that we’d come back and win the football game,” Carr said.
On the first play from scrimmage after the Texans took a 20-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, Raiders fullback Jamize Olawale wasn’t accounted for during a 75-yard touchdown catch out of the backfield. He eluded free safety Andre Hal to tie the score. The Texans (6-4) looked confused by wide receiver Amari Cooper lining up in the backfield at running back as Olawale ran a seam route and Hal flubbed on his open-field tackle attempt.
Cooper put the Texans away on Oakland’s ensuing possession as inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney over-pursued the gifted wide receiver during his 35-yard touchdown catch. Cooper scooted into the end zone with 4:43 remaining. The Raiders capitalized on a failed fourth-down run by Houston running back Akeem Hunt that was upheld by an instant-replay review.
“Oh man, you talk about winning games in the stretch, he put us in position to win the game,” Raiders All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack told ESPN. “And you’ve seen the pass to Olawale, you’ve seen the pass to the Latavius (Murray), he’s playing great football.”
Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler completed 26 of 39 passes for 243 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Houston running back Lamar Miller produced 104 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. The Texans ran for 124 yards, while Oakland managed just 30 yards on the ground.
The Texans were left steaming about a questionable call that cost them a touchdown. On the first drive of the game, Osweiler threw a short pass to DeAndre Hopkins, who took it for what appeared to be a 60-yard touchdown. However, the officials ruled that Hopkins stepped out of bounds at the Oakland 36-yard line, and the play wasn’t reviewable as the whistle blew. Houston wound up with a field goal on the drive.
“I considered challenging many plays today,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “Was Hopkins out of bounds on that play? No. I’m not going to sit up here and get fined. I’m just a third-year coach in the NFL, but I think we’ve really got to look at all those things. We’ve got all these cameras, and we can’t get that right?
“Start there, and list all the things that I could have challenged.”
Early in the game, Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney used the element of surprise to penetrate the Raiders’ backfield. It was a well-executed gambit from the former top overall pick as he and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus switched sides and caught the Raiders’ blockers off-guard. As Clowney harassed Carr in the third quarter, the pressure triggered a hasty, deep throw that was intended for Cooper and intercepted by cornerback A.J. Bouye.
“It was an unusual alignment,” Bouye said. “We just got to be ready for that. The coaches showed us that all week. It was good call against our defense. Kudos to them.”
HOUSTON — Texans coach Bill O’Brien downplayed the significance of a detailed memo the team issued to players advising them on travel tips for their upcoming trip to Mexico City to play the Oakland Raiders on Monday night.
Players were advised not to leave the team hotel or eat room service, according to a source not authorized to speak publicly. Players were instructed to only drink bottled water, avoid using ice, not bring expensive pieces of jewelry or large amounts of cash or use ATMs during the trip to Mexico.
“We’re taking our team to a unique, unfamiliar environment to play an NFL game where basically peak performance is a necessity,” O’Brien said. “So, it’s responsible for our organization to offer simple suggestions. Just like I’m sure whenever you guys probably travel abroad, out of the country, I’m sure they give you simple suggestions too as to how to travel and things like that. That’s what we’re doing and that’s about all I’m going to say about that memo or whatever it is.”
O’Brien emphasized that the Texans are treating this game as a business trip and are going to Mexico intent on winning a football game.
“We’re getting ready to play an NFL game,” O’Brien said. “Fun is winning. That’s what’s fun.”
If the Texans need a translator, they already have one on their roster and starting lineup.
Texans left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo speaks Spanish fluently and says he’s happy to assist any teammates who need a hand talking with locals during this international game.
During two years of Mormon mission work in a hiatus from school after starting as a true freshman for UCLA, Su’a-Filo rode a specialized bicycle capable of supporting his massive body. The former Parade Magazine prep All-American spent his time reaching out to the Hispanic population in Tallahassee, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., with his knack for Spanish serving him and those communities well.
“I would say I pass as fluent for sure,” Su’a-Filo said. “I’m constantly trying to review words, you know, obviously I was immersed in the language there. That was part of my mission was speaking the language and learning it and interacting amongst the Hispanic community.
“Since I don’t have that every day, I always try to practice when I can, review when I can, call people from my mission and just stuff like that.”