The Raiders Look Nice In Opener

So perfect. So black hole. So Oakland Raiders.

Jim Rome
September 10, 2019 - 10:17 am
Oakland Raiders

USA Today

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And then there was the second game. Normally, I’d say more football is good. And a second Monday Night game is even better.

But not last night.

Has there ever been a worse transition than going from the epic high of the final minute in New Orleans to Joe Flacco handing the ball to a tight end on a running play and throwing dump off passes on a baseball field?

What an incredible buzzkill. The ultimate record scratch. Is there a bigger cooler in the NFL than Flacco?

I mean…what about this guy? I thought he was supposed to be the perfect fit for this offense, that John Elway had finally solved his quarterback problem, and that Flacco was going to turn back the clock.

None of that happened. Because Joe Flacco Is still Joe Flacco. And as I tweeted last night. Joe Flacco. Still NOT elite.

Again, it’s just one game, but Lamar Jackson is tearing it up now….and  Joe Flacco picked up right where he left off.

You see that last night and you see Lamar Jackson on Sunday and you have to think, that was even a quarterback battle? How did that happen?

But that wasn’t all about Joe Flacco. Because the Broncos weren’t just lousy under center, they were lousy in all three phases. The defense, that was supposed to go off with the arrival of Vic Fangio was getting gashed. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb not only didn’t have a sack, they weren’t even credited with a hit. And the Raiders offensive line bullied them.

Speaking of the Raiders, Alvin, hit me with a little Autumn Wind.

It’s time to give a little love to the Oakland Raiders. Because they earned it. That was an impressive performance from that crew. They have had one of the more chaotic off-season’s you can possible imagine. The kind of mess that you couldn’t actually create, even if you tried. And nobody looked worse as a result than Jon Gruden.

But as I said yesterday, if Jon Gruden wants to change the subject from how horrible he’s looked over the Antonio Brown situation, he better win last night. And he did. Don’t let the scoreboard fool you. It said 24-16 when it was over, but the game was never that close.

The Raiders went right down the field on their first drive and never looked back the rest of the game. That was actually one of their best performances in years. It looked like Antonio Brown leaving was the best thing ever.

In fact, seeing that, why didn’t they dump Brown earlier? Because they were galvanized and getting after it on both sides of the ball.

And so was the crowd, which was chanting “bleep, AB” throughout the game.

So perfect. So black hole. So Oakland Raiders.

Derek Carr sure didn’t look like he missed Brown, going 22 of 26 for 269 yards and a touchdown. And the defense was swarming and getting after it. Oh, and the crowd was still chanting bleep AB.

So the obvious question: are the Raiders really this good? Or at the Broncos really this bad? And a reminder. It’s only one game.

Only one game, but all that offseason hype about the Broncos just went down the drain. All that talk that the defense was going to dominate and Joe Flacco would do enough vanished in a cloud of infield dirt.

And speaking of the infield, I’m going to miss that when the Raiders leave Oakland. Nothing says September football better than watching someone get tackled on a crossing route in deep short.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone, in any walk of life, more miserable than NFL’ers playing on that infield dirt. And for good reason. But take my word for it: take it from someone who has actually played on it, Justin Forsettt: he Tweeted last night:

If anyone wants to know what it feels like to fall on that dirt in Oakland Coliseum: Go outside right now, sprint as fast as you can in the middle of the street, once you get to full speed jump up as high as you can and belly flop on the pavement. #Facts

If the Raiders want to do it right, they’ll bring the infield dirt with them to Las Vegas. And take it up another notch by keeping the bases on the field too. And chalking up the lines. They should still hold postgame press conferences in the A’s indoor batting cage.

Because, and after the preseason circus this crew organized, I never thought I’d say this, but last night was special. It really was. Las Vegas will have a nicer stadium than Oakland. Hell, Winnipeg and its 80yard field had a nicer stadium than Oakland. But if it doesn’t have the infield, or the batting cages, or the Black Hole, it won’t be the same. And it won’t be better. Just newer.

If I’m Mark Davis, I immediately cease construction in Vegas, roll my mini van over to PF Chang’s, post up there, break out my flip phone, schedule my next ginger bowl cut at the barber and start banking W’s. Because that’s the best that team has looked in years.