Lynch, Carr help Raiders down Giants
OAKLAND, Calif. — On the Oakland Raiders’ third play from scrimmage Sunday, running back Marshawn Lynch bolted over right guard, cut back to the middle and raced 51 yards for a touchdown at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Lynch finished with 101 yards on 17 carries, powering the Raiders to a 24-17 victory over the beleaguered New York Giants and into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers.
“I looked at the stats,” said Raiders linebacker NaVorro Bowman, a former 49er who battled the ex-Seahawk running back many times. “I said, ‘Oh, he’s still got it.’ To see him running the way that he’s running for so many years, I know exactly what that defense is facing. That’s a hard tackle.”
Lynch had plenty of help on both sides of the ball. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw for 287 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson caught four passes for 97 yards.
Outside linebacker Bruce Irvin and defensive end Khalil Mack each had strip-sacks of quarterback Geno Smith for second-quarter turnovers to kill Giants drives deep in Raiders territory.
Smith started in place of Eli Manning for the Giants, who fell to 2-10 this season under embattled head coach Ben McAdoo. Manning’s streak of consecutive regular-season starts ended at 210. Among NFL quarterbacks, only Brett Favre owns a longer streak at 297.
Before the game began, ESPN reported that McAdoo’s reign with the Giants was “coming to an end” and he could be fired as early as Monday.
“I’m going to coach this team until I’m told I’m not coaching this team,” McAdoo said. “I’m going to show up tomorrow morning ready to go to work.”
Smith made his first start since Oct. 23, 2015, with the New York Jets against Baltimore. He completed 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown, but lost two fumbles.
“Two of the best in the game, two of the best pass rushers,” Smith said of Irvin and Mack. “They really got after it today.”
The Raiders were without their top two wide receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Crabtree served a one-game suspension for his fight with Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, and Cooper was out with a concussion he sustained against Denver. Wide receivers Seth Roberts and Patterson started, and Johnny Holton, who caught a touchdown pass, was the No. 3 receiver.
“We did good,” Patterson said. “We’re in this league for a reason. Unfortunately our two guys are down, our 1 and 2 receivers, but every receiver can go out and make plays.”
The Raiders built a 10-7 halftime lead and extended it to 17-7 with 10:18 left to play on DeAndre Washington’s 9-yard touchdown run, capping a 79-yard drive.
The Giants answered with Smith’s 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram, cutting Oakland’s lead to 17-14 with 5:16 left. Smith had a 47-yard pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on the drive.
Oakland responded with a four-play, 68-yard scoring drive as Carr hit Holton on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 3:23 to play, making it 24-14. Carr opened the drive with a 59-yard screen pass to Patterson.
Aldrick Rosas made a 52-yard field goal as the Giants cut Oakland’s lead to 24-17 with 1:38 left, but Oakland recovered his onside kick and ran out the clock to win their second straight game after losing six of their previous eight.
“You have to stay the course,” Carr said. “There’s a lot of adversity that happens over the season. You wish you could just go out, win them all, and do it in a good way. But that hasn’t been our road this year. It’s been a little bit more difficult because of ourselves. We’re in a situation that all of our goals are still right in front of us.”
The Raiders took a 7-0 lead on Lynch’s 51-yard touchdown run with 12:26 left in the first quarter. On third-and-1 with the Giants crowding the line of scrimmage, Lynch took full advantage of guard Kelechi Osemele’s block to bust loose.
“It was obviously an explosive play,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “It was a great job executing the play and him hitting it and taking it to the house. It was awesome for us to get that start.”
The Giants pulled even on Orleans Darkwa’s 1-yard touchdown run with six seconds left in the first quarter, capping an 11-play, 74-yard drive.
After Lynch was smothered for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 at the Giants’ 45, New York marched to Oakland’s 29. But on third-and-5, Irvin had a strip-sack of Smith, and Bowman recovered at the 32.
“That’s just a motor,” Bowman said of Irvin. “Anytime you have that type of motor, if you go back to the beginning of the play, if you see that get-off, that’s really what got him there so fast. Geno didn’t expect him to get there that fast. I saw the ball loose.”
The Raiders took a 10-7 lead on Giorgio Tavecchio’s 39-yard field goal with 3:37 remaining in the half — two plays after Giants strong safety Landon Collins dropped what looked to be a sure interception.
The Giants wasted a great opportunity to score late in the first half after Shane Smith broke free up the middle and tackled Marquette King at the Oakland 9 before he could attempt a punt.
But on first-and-goal from the 4, Mack had a strip-sack of Smith, grabbing the ball away at Oakland’s 11 with 35 seconds left.
NOTES: Raiders CB David Amerson (foot) was inactive, and Sean Smith started in his place. ... Giants starting RT Justin Pugh (back) was inactive, and Chad Wheeler started in his place. Wheeler left the game early in the fourth quarter with a concussion and did not return. ... Giants No. 3 QB Davis Webb was inactive. ... Giants starting MLB B.J. Goodson (ankle) left the game with 7:09 remaining in the third quarter.