OAKLAND – Amari Cooper clearly worked on getting both feet down near the boundary. That was an issue last week on a pair of touchdown catches voided without a proper drag/toe taps, but he made nice catches on the sideline a few times Sunday against Kansas City.
He did most everything right early on. He had nine catches for 129 yards in the first half. Things slowed down a bit after that.
Cooper had just one catch for 12 yards in a second half where the Raiders got shut out. That’s when the game turned and the Chiefs cruised to a 26-10 victory.
Kansas City altered their coverage to take Cooper away, and it made a significant impact in this game.
“We could see it,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “We knew what they were doing. Me and Coop were talking about it during the game. We had run a play and he would come back and make sure we saw the same thing, exactly right.”
The Raiders couldn’t capitalize on extra attention paid to Cooper. They struggled to do much of anything offensively, with only five first downs in the second half.
Michael Crabtree was not a factor, with 2 catches for 10 yards in this game and one 5-yard reception in the second half.
Cooper didn’t think the offense slowing was Kansas City’s fault.
“It’s never what they’re doing, it’s what we do,” he said. “We just need to execute better. Play how we practice. Do the things we practice in practice.”
Cooper didn’t make excuses for the offensive slowdown. The Raiders started hot and the Carr/Cooper connection was strong, but it faded as the game carried on.
Cooper’s numbers, however, are piling up. He marked a third 120-plus yard game in six tries, and seems to have shored up deficiencies including drops and securing catches near the sideline.
“When he sees something he needs to do, he’s going to work at it,” Carr said. “I was happy to see that. In the NFL, you’re going to need every inch. Especially with the speed and talent of defenders nowadays, you’re going to need every inch. He did a great job of working on that. It was nice to see it pay off today.”