ALAMEDA – The Raiders have entered the red zone 11 times in four games this season. They’ve left with points every time.
That’s no shock considering Sebastian Janikowski’s accurate from short distances, but the Polish Cannon has finished most of those drives on the sideline.
The Raiders haven’t needed his services. They’re finding the end zone at an astonishing clip. They’ve scored 10 touchdowns in 11 trips inside the opposing 20-yard line
Their 90.91-percent conversion rate equals the NFL’s best, and is a major reason the Raiders are 3-1. They’ve won every game by seven or less, and two by a single point.
Exchanging just one touchdown for a field goal against the New Orleans Saints or Baltimore Ravens might’ve changed the final outcome.
Head coach Jack Del Rio primarily credits coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterback Derek Carr for such efficiency.
“We only talk about the coordinator when things don’t go well, right?,” Del Rio said with a laugh. “We want to question what happened or something. It’s like, ‘Why’d you call that?’ Then you want to know. The reality is (Musgrave) called a good game (on Sunday).
“He’s done a nice job done there putting us in a position, putting Derek in position to do the things he does well. You have to give credit to the design of it and then you have to give credit to the execution of it and it starts with the trigger man. That’s why when you have a good trigger man, it makes a lot of things kind of go smoothly.”
The Raiders defense has fared well when opponents reach the red zone, allowing touchdowns just 53 percent of the time.