Somehow, someway, the Oakland Raiders made it a game Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
After a rough first half that saw the Silver and Black handled pretty convincingly by the Cincinnati Bengals to the tune of 20-7, Head Coach Jon Gruden’s squad scratched and clawed back into contention, getting to within seven points in the fourth quarter, but a 15-yard, Joe Mixon touchdown proved to be the nail in the proverbial coffin.
Turnovers, combined with a patchworked offensive line, and the inability to stop the run isn’t the best recipe for victory, as the Raiders found out Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
When the clock hit triple-zeroes, and the Silver and Black fell 30-16, the Bengals had run for north of 150 yards, en route to handing the Raiders their 11th loss of 2018.
And, as wild as it sounds, Paul Guenther’s defense actually did a nice job in limiting quarterback Jeff Driskel’s arm all afternoon, as the young quarterback ended his Week 15 start just 14 of 33 and looked pedestrian at best in his seventh start of 2018.
But, it wasn’t Driskel who proved to be thorn in the side of the Raiders defense – it was Mixon.
The former Oklahoma Sooner rumbled his way to 127 total yards, and with 84 rushing yards in the first half, he set the tone early and often for what the Bengals wanted to do offensively.
In fact, the Raiders defensive backs actually enjoyed another quality game for the most part, it was just the combination of the inability to stop run, combined with some ill-timed penalties – and a 77-yard kickoff return – that really did the Raiders in Sunday afternoon.
As far as the Raiders offense was concerned, with the aforementioned patchwork offensive line – Chaz Green at left guard and Denzelle Good at right guard – Derek Carr and the Raiders just couldn’t find any type of consistent success Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
With Kelechi Osemele ruled out of the Week 15 game Friday afternoon, and Gabe Jackson listed as one of the team’s seven inactives, the Silver and Black, had to rely heavily on the tandem of Green and Good on the inside, and unfortunately, the absence of Osemele and Jackson was felt mightily against the Bengals.
All told, the Silver and Black’s running backs totaled 49 yards – tight end Darren Waller contributed with 21 of his own – but down most of the game, the Raiders didn’t have the luxury of getting to pound the rock against the Bengals.
Oh, and Sam Hubbard was a problem Sunday afternoon, finishing his day with a pair of sacks, along with a forced fumble.
Meanwhile, Derek Carr was once again judicious with the football, completing 21 of 38 passes, setting the franchise record for most passes thrown without an interception in the process.
In fact, with three field goals - including one from 50 yards - rookie kicker Daniel Carlson was probably the Raider who had the best day at work Sunday afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium.
However, it just wasn’t enough to lift the Raiders to a Week 15 win, and as a result of the loss, the team now sits at 3-11 with two games left to go in the regular season.
The Silver and Black will fly back to Oakland Sunday afternoon, and will get back to work Monday.
They’ll host the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve in the team’s final home game of 2018.
Photos of the game action during the Raiders' Week 15 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.