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Extra Points: Raiders' key takeaways kept them in the game

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Sunday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders were welcomed to M&T Bank by the Baltimore Ravens for some smash-mouth football on the gridiron. It was the fourth consecutive year the teams matched up, and the weather couldn’t have been any better. The Ravens won the toss to start the day, and deferred, letting Derek Carr and the Raiders offense to go to work first.

Let’s break down some of the Extra Points from today’s game:

Gruden goes for it on fourth-and-one - On the Raiders’ opening drive of the game, the offense was stopped on third down, and faced a fourth-and-one situation just past the 50-yard line. Gruden opted to go for it, and Derek Carr found tight end Lee Smith wide open, who took the reception 30 yards, and came up just short of the end zone. The decision to go for it on fourth-and-one set up a Raiders’ touchdown, and put the first points of the day on the board.

Doug Martin goes airborne - Following Head Coach Jon Gruden’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-one, the Raiders entered the red zone, knocking at the door. From the one-yard line, the team decided to feed running back Doug Martin, who took fight upon the handoff, and had the ball knocked out of his hand. Initially, the play was ruled a fumble and recovered by the Ravens, but after further review the officiating staff reversed the call, saying that Martin broke the plane. It was the second consecutive time the Raiders scored on their opening drive of the game, and it was Martin’s first touchdown as a Raider.

Ravens make a house call - With 13:01 left in the second quarter, the Raiders sent the special teams unit out on to the field after a failed challenge flag by the Raiders. Back to field the punt for the Ravens was Cyrus Jones, and it didn’t take him long to streak down the sideline 70 yards for a touchdown. Receiving a couple of key blocks, Jones evaded defenders and showed off the afterburners. The special teams touchdown gave the Ravens the lead, and a big momentum boost.

Raiders bend but don’t break - After giving up a 74-yard reception to Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, the defense fought off Lamar Jackson, forcing the Ravens to settle for a field goal. What could’ve been a big touchdown for Baltimore kept them within striking distance for the Raiders. Had the Ravens been able to convert in the red zone they would’ve led the Silver and Black 17-7.

Reggie Nelson’s game-changing play - With five minutes to go in the first half, Lamar Jackson tried to fire a pass down the middle of the field, but it was tipped in the air by safety Erik Harris, and was then tipped by linebacker Marquel Lee, before eventually landing in the hands of safety Reggie Nelson. It was Nelson’s second interception of the season, and it set the offense up in excellent field position. The team was unable to score a touchdown, but were able to tally three points with a 42-yard touchdown.

Raiders haul in second INT of the first half - With the Ravens offense moving the chains downfield, Jackson tried to take a shot toward the end zone, heaving a ball to former Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Former Raiders first round pick Gareon Conley was draped all over him, and tipped Jackson’s pass in the air, which made for an easy pick. Safety Marcus Gilchrist was there to bring it down, and it kept the Ravens from adding to their lead. The Raiders ability to force turnovers, and keep the Ravens out of the end zone held them at bay for the majority of the first half.

Cook’s catch of the year bid - Once the teams returned from halftime, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson led his unit downfield, and capped the drive off with a six-yard touchdown run. The Raiders responded with a touchdown of their own, courtesy of Jared Cook. Not only did he bring the team back within three points, but his catch was mind-blowing. At an awkward angle, Cook positioned his body just right, with his feet parallel with the sideline, Cook fell to the ground to make an insane one-handed catch, and roll his way into the end zone. That should be on SportsCenter later tonight.

Ravens ice game with fumble recovery - With just over six minutes left in the game, the Raiders offense stayed on the field to try and convert a fourth-and-eight, down 27-17. As Carr stepped up in the pocket, rookie tackle Brandon Parker got beat by his defender, who then strip-sacked Carr. Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs scooped up the fumble, and returned it to the end zone to put the icing on the cake. The Raiders for most of the afternoon stayed within reach, but the wheels came off the wagon towards the end of the fourth quarter.

It was a disappointing loss for the Silver and Black, falling 34-17 on the road, but they’ll try to regroup before next Sunday’s home game against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs.

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