The Raiders offense made a statement surely heard around the league Sunday afternoon.
Facing the second best total defense in the NFL, Oakland’s offense slammed down hard on the accelerator, and never looked in the rear-view in the 34-20 win over the New York Jets that pushes the Raiders to 4-3, above .500 later in the season since Week 6 of 2011.
Cooper caught his first ball a few plays later, a 12-yard inside slant. A catch from receiver Michael Crabtree, two inside blasts from running back Latavius Murray, and then a corner fade to receiver Andre Holmes put Oakland ahead 7-3 with their first touchdown of the day.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr went after Revis twice more on the next drive, tallying 18 more yards between he and Cooper. In nearly a duplication of the previous drive, the Raiders added seven more points.
Another successful drive, highlighted by a 49-yard catch and run from Holmes, put the Raiders up 21-6 at halftime.
The Raiders went after Revis often, far more than other teams do. Or have done. Cooper finished the day with nine targets and five catches, most of them while being shadowed by Revis.
“When there’s someone like that, someone who will be a first ballot hall of famer who’s at the top of his game, every year, one of the best corners in this league, you have to know where he’s at. Because if you don’t, he’ll catch you slipping and take it the other way. … But you just have to be aggressive. You can’t let them take away half the field.”
Added left tackle Donald Penn:
“I don’t know what their plan was. Revis is a great player. He’s a champ, a great player. we got a good player too, Amari, so I don’t really know how many passes were caught on Revis because I was blocking. But we’re just getting better week in and week out, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
It was more of the same during the second half, though the Jets limped back into two-touchdown range when Oakland began playing preventative defense.
The Raiders allowed only 22 rushing yards to Jets running back Chris Ivory through the first three quarters, a number than actually went down to 17 yards as more carries came.
Ivory entered the day with the seventh most rushing yards of any back in the league, and has established himself as a premier between-the-tackle runner of the last three seasons.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
The Raiders offense, though, did much better. It was the second time this season that Oakland notched a 300-yard passing performance, 100-yard rushing performance, and a 100-yard receiving performance in the same game.
Oakland is keeping up with a historic pace in that regard, two 1,000-yard receivers, a 3,000-yard passer, and a 1,000-yard running back.
Adding to that on the other side, safety Charles Woodson is on pace for 11 interceptions.
Possibly the most important element to the season? Oakland’s schedule only gets easier. Two of their three losses came against teams who enter Week 8 undefeated, and their other loss in a game where everything went wrong.
The offense came together Sunday and did things most wouldn’t have bet they would.
The yardage totals are just the tip of what the Raiders are doing, evidenced by the nine players with a catch against the Jets’ elite defense.
Oakland is undoubtedly a contender, and Woodson says he welcomes the scrutiny that comes with it:
“We want to be expected to win. When we watch you guys, the media, make picks, I want them to pick the Raiders. … The Jets are considered to be a playoff team. So for this team to go out and beat a team that has that kind of ranking so to speak, it speaks to what we’re building here and where we’re trying to go.”
Smith completed 24-of-34 passes, for 221 yards and two touchdowns. The first came halfway through the third quarter, a four yard dump off to Eric Decker, and the second in the fourth quarter, a one yard catch by tight end Kellen Davis.
In all, though, the Jets offense was shut down in Oakland, entering the day as the league’s eighth best, they left with 295 total yards and their heads bowed.
Oakland notched three sacks, one interception and nine tackles for loss.
The Raider Achilles heel on defense has been covering tight ends. They didn’t do it much earlier in the season. Jets tights ends combined for two receptions and eight yards, though one was a short touchdown.
It came as the clock waned, and the game was realistically decided.
Adding insult to literal injury, Fitzpatrick came back in the game after Smith was knocked unconscious, in a sequence that clearly should have come with more concerns of health from the Jets coaches.
Oakland knocked off one of two competitors for the Wild Card, and they get ready to face the other next week in Pittsburgh.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.