Second Gruden Era Off to a Painful Start - NBC Bay Area


Second Gruden Era Off to a Painful Start

Raiders play well, build lead in first half and then collapse over final two quarters in 20-19 loss to Broncos



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    Running back Royce Freeman (No. 28) celebrates with his Denver teammates late in the game Sunday in a win over Oakland. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

    The Jon Gruden Era – well, the second Gruden Era in Oakland – is not starting out well.

    The Raiders for the second straight game built an early lead, outplayed an opponent and then collapsed in the second half.

    On Sunday, it was the Broncos who pulled off the comeback, outscoring Oakland 10-0 in the fourth quarter and 20-7 in the second half to take a 20-19 victory over the Raiders in Denver.

    The game was won with 1:52 remaining when Brandon McManus made a 36-yard field goal for the Broncos to complete a 10-play, 62-yard drive. The Raiders then  took the kickoff and then had just six seconds to try to pull out a win, but a Derek Carr completion to Amari Cooper ended with Cooper being pushed out of bounds after a 13-yard gain.

    The game turned in the second half when Broncos quarterback Case Keenum shook off an awful first two quarters to get his team back into contention.                                                                                                                          Keenum led an 11-play TD drive and a 54-yard drive for a field goal in the third quarter. He then rushed for a 1-yard score to end a 14-play drive before engineering the long drive for the winning field goal. In the process, the Oakland pass rush was nowhere to be found. Oakland had just one sack on the day – from rookie Maurice Hurst – and again seemed to miss defensive end Khalil Mack, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who was traded to the Bears just before the season opener.

    Jimmy Durkin of The Athletic asked Gruden after the game what Oakland will have to do to spark its pass rush. Durkin tweeted that after a long pause, Gruden said, “We’ve got to do something.”

    Though the Raiders lost, it was a bit of a rebound for a pair of Oakland players, Carr and Cooper.

    Carr completed 29-of-32 throws for 288 yards, a TD and no interceptions after throwing three interceptions in a Week 1 loss to the Rams. Cooper, who had just one catch last week, caught all 10 of the passes thrown his way for 116 yards.

    The Raiders, 0-2, will try to get win No. 1 for Gruden this coming Sunday, but it will take a big effort after a pair of tough losses and with plenty of miles to travel.  The Raiders will take on the Dolphins in Miami. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. in the Bay Area.

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