Coming off a game in which their three-phase domination put a smile on the face of head coach Jack Del Rio, the Raiders were on the receiving end of similar dominance in Washington.
The Oakland offense committed its first three turnovers of the season, two on Derek Carr interceptions, while the defense proved unable to stop, or even marginally slow, backup running back Chris Thompson, who racked up 188 scrimmage yards and a score. In a game that was further separated than the 27-10 final would suggest, only a pair of blunders by Washington (2-1) stood between the Raiders (2-1) and a shutout.
For Oakland, which had scored 71 points entering the Week 3 Sunday night game, it was clear things were different from the word go.
Carr, who hadn’t thrown an interception since mid-December, found safety Montae Nicholson instead of Amari Cooper on the second play of the game — his first pass attempt. Cooper, who had been on the team’s injury report all week with a nagging knee injury, finished the game with a single catch for six yards, his lowest output since being held without a reception on Dec. 13, 2013 — his rookie season.
Washington took the ensuing possession 67 yards on eight plays, capping the drive with a 22-yard connection from quarterback Kirk Cousins to Thompson.
Carr, Cooper and the Raiders were never able to right the ship, and finished being out-gained 460 yards to 71.
The Raiders could muster just two first downs in the first half. But thanks in large part to a 55.5-yard average on four first-half kicks from punter Marquette King, Oakland went into the break down just 14-0. Kicking it away a tiresome seven times — after just six through the first two games — King averaged 49.4 net yards per attempt, pinning the Cousins-led Washington offense inside of the 20 four times.
King also helped set up the offense, as he had one week prior against the Jets.
With his second punt of the second half, King sent return man Jamison Crowder retreating to the sideline. Like Kalif Raymond in Week 2, Crowder couldn’t control the towering King boot, letting tumble to the turf where James Cowser covered it at the Washington 18.
Two plays later, Carr hooked up with Jared Cook for the tight end’s first score as a Raider, a 21-yard catch and run.
It took a Samaje Perine fumble to get Oakland back on the scoreboard. This time, though, the Raiders couldn’t get the 12 yards needed to make it a 24-14 game, getting an eight-yard pass interference call and three incomplete passes before settling for a 22-yard Giorgio Tavecchio field goal.
Perine got the bulk of the work load in the Washington backfield, carrying the ball 19 times for 49 yards. Thompson, on the other hand, ran for 38 yards on eight totes and added a game-high 150 receiving yards on six catches, including a 74-yard pick up on a third-and-19 screen pass setting up a Dustin Hopkins field goal.
Hopkins connected on two of his three attempts. Tavecchio was good on his only try.
Crowder (52 yards, six catches), Josh Doctson (52, one) and Vernon Davis (58, five) bolstered Thompson’s effort, while Cook was the lone offensive standout for the Raiders with four catches and 43 yards. Marshawn Lynch suffered his worst performance of the season, scrapping for a mere 18 yards on six handoffs.
Most surprisingly, though, was the ineffectiveness of the Oakland offensive line, which was beaten for four sacks. Khalil Mack collected Oakland’s lone sack.
The Raiders will be on the road again in Week 4, when they face the division rival Broncos (2-1), who suffered their own first loss of the season Sunday, in Denver.