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Raiders Offensive Line Sets Tone Early In Win Over New York Giants

Posted Dec 3, 2017

The Raiders offensive line wanted to set the tone early against Giants. The first series of the game made sure that's exactly what happened.

Kelechi Osemele doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns, but you better believe he enjoys helping spark them.

While the All-Pro guard has never found the end zone in his six seasons as a pro, he played an integral part in Marshawn Lynch’s first quarter touchdown, a 51-yard rumble where No. 24 was barely touched en route to the end zone.

On the Raiders third offensive play of the afternoon, staring down an early 3rd and 1, Derek Carr lined up under center, and then handed the ball off to Lynch, who was sprung free into the New York Giants secondary courtesy of a huge block by Osemele on linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

“Man, I just saw two guys in the box, and I just picked the biggest one, I picked the inside guy, thinking he’d [Lynch] cut off the inside guy, and the other guy was unblocked, and that’s exactly what happened,” Osemele explained postgame. “I just kind of made a good, lucky guess, and I took my inside guy; [he] just came through, and just smacked him. I just hit him as hard as I could, and he flew back, and Marshawn cut right behind it.”

That early run not only gave the Silver and Black an early lead over the Giants, but the execution of the play, from Lynch finding some wiggle room, to Osemele throwing his weight around and clearing a lane, it was about as perfect as you could draw it up for big No. 70.

“That’s the dream play,” Osemele said. “That was my touchdown; for me, I was hyped. Gabe [Jackson] was hyped too. He seen it. He called me ‘pulling guard’ after that. That’s his job, that’s his expertise. I’m trying to get my pulling guard stats up, so that was good.”

And while Jackson didn’t have a great visual of Osmele’s big block, he saw the end result, and that was good enough for him.

“I looked up, and all I saw a gaping hole, and him [Lynch] running,” Jackson said. “I saw K.O. going crazy. It was a really good feeling.”

Without the services of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, there was a thought headed into Sunday’s game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that the Raiders would need a big effort from the running game, and with 119 yards on the ground, Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing’s group was able to do just that.

Lynch was able to run effectively all afternoon – he finished with 101 yards and averaged nearly six yards per carry – and Osemele thinks that first series in particular helped establish the attitude that the Raiders wanted to carry for the entire 60 minutes.

“That’s what we wanted to do, especially with that first play, calling power on the first couple of plays of the game, and smacking a linebacker, and getting downfield,” Osemele said. “That sets the tone and lets them know that up front we’re not playing around. We’re here to play, and we’re going to run the ball today, and that’s exactly what we did. We set the tone up front.”

“As an offensive line, you always want to be able to the run the ball, and if you can establish that early it puts a good feeling within us, and also lets them know that this is what it is today,” added Jackson. “You just have to try to stop it.”

And, the Giants simply weren’t able to stop it.

After starting the game with three, straight runs by Lynch, poetically, the Raiders put the final dagger in the Giants proverbial coffin by handing the ball off to DeAndré Washington three times to effectively run out the clock in the final moments of the fourth quarter.

“That’s like what you dream about, what you practice for, that’s what you want to see,” Osemele said of finishing off the game on the ground.

The Raiders offense has gone over the 100-yard mark each of the past three weeks – going 2-1 over that span – and with four games left on the schedule, Jackson knows that keeping up that dominance on the ground will be key down the stretch.

“[There’s] always room for improvement, it sounds so cliché, but it’s the truth,” Jackson said. “And every week you try to stack on to that and get better, and see how far it takes us.”

And tied atop the AFC West headed into the final quarter of the regular season, the Raiders are hopeful that dominance on the ground takes them to the postseason for the second time in two years.