One week after throwing for 513 yards, the Oakland Raiders rushed for 218, with Latavius Murray carrying 20 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-20 win over the visiting Denver Broncos to improve to 7-2.
How big was this win?
“Well, it’s huge,” former NFL offensive lineman and current Raiders voice Lincoln Kennedy said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It was a fight for first place. The team that won was going to have first-place in the division. The team that lost was going to fall back to third place because Kansas City is still winning. Look, I think the AFC West is the most competitive division in football and San Diego is playing a whole lot better. It’s going to come down to the wire. It’s absolutely essential that the Raiders (won) this divisional game at home against the Broncos because later in the year they have to go to Denver. They (had) to at least find a way to win here.”
Kennedy called Sunday night “one of the most dominant performances” he’s ever seen from a Raiders offensive line. Oakland rushed 43 times, averaged 5.1 yards per carry, kept the pressure off Derek Carr – who went 20-of-31 for 184 yards – and helped the offense finished without a turnover.
And, outside of one sack, Von Miller was almost non-existent.
“He’s a damn good player,” Kennedy said. “You have to change up. You can’t do the same thing all the time. Von Miller is such a viable threat that you have to double-team him. If you don’t have a commitment to double-team or a commitment to help and you put that guy on an island, it’s not fair and there’s really no reason for it.”
The Raiders have now won three straight and six of seven, while the Broncos have dropped three of five. The main difference between the two franchises right now? Oakland has one of the best quarterbacks in football; Denver does not.
“I think he is a franchise quarterback, and I thought he was a franchise quarterback when he came in,” Kennedy said of Carr, who has 17 touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. “I thought the Raiders really struck gold (with) the fact that they were able to get him in the second round. They were able to get Khalil Mack, and we see how important Khalil has been to that defense, but also to get Derek Carr. I thought Derek Carr was the future franchise quarterback.”
The Raiders, who have a Week 10 bye, play their next three games at home against Houston (5-3), Carolina (3-5) and Buffalo (4-4).
Kennedy also weighed in on the NFL’s sagging ratings this season. While many analysts attribute the dip in numbers to the election, Kennedy thinks it goes deeper than that.
“The NFL has made a conscious effort to market the quarterback, but when you look around the league, who are the notable quarterbacks that are shining?” he asked. “Aaron Rodgers is struggling. Russell Wilson has been injured even though they still had some success, but it’s not as dominant. You’ve got winning teams with virtually no-name quarterbacks that people haven’t really marketed or paid any attention to. So the marketing machine itself had dropped down. You quantify that with guys getting fined for dancing and penalties, it becomes the No Fun League. Rather than the NFL (promote) the guys that they have, they let too many things slip through their fingers. There’s the (domestic) abuse cases surrounding guys and all that negative press. The NFL doesn’t have an answer for it. They’re more concerned about fining Antonio Brown for twerking in the end zone than they are anything else. There’s a fine line. Go out and enjoy yourself. There’s nothing wrong with dancing. I don’t think dancing in the end zone after a touchdown is a fineable offense, nor do I think making a bow-and-arrow gesture is a fineable offense. But this is what the NFL does, and that’s why they’re referred to as the No Fun League.”