Sports Out West

Raiders win thrilling(!) preseason game vs. Lions

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A moral victory would have sufficed, but the Oakland Raiders clawed back from a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat the visiting Detroit Lions 27-26 in the final seconds of their second preseason game.

The Raiders allowed an abysmal 8.6 yards per pass attempt, but improved considerably in other areas such as penalties (seven), rush defense (two-yard opponent average) and third down conversions (7-14). Oakland dropped back for 44 pass attempts and surrendered a single sack, a testament to growing confidence on the front five.

The Lions played without Calvin Johnson, but Matt Stafford still managed his best Peyton Manning impersonation with a 9 for 10, 88-yard, two-touchdown performance that put Detroit up 13-0 in the first quarter. Matt Schaub started 3 for 3 before a slant pass to James Jones was disrupted by a shadowing Rashean Mathis, who tipped the ball into James Ihedigbo’s possession. Schaub felt pressure on many dropbacks, but he did orchestrate the Raiders’ first scoring drive, which was highlighted by a 22-yard screen to Maurice Jones-Drew.

Dan Orlovsky and Derek Carr relieved the starting signal callers midway through the second quarter, and Carr led the Raiders to a field goal with his first possession. Orlovsky shredded Oakland’s secondary in the second half to put the Lions up 23-10, despite relentless pressure from the defense. Carr endured some rough waters to complete a few dazzling throws which included a 38-yard rainbow to Greg Little that set up an aerial score to Jake Murphy the next play with 2:32 in the third quarter. The rookie quarterback engineered another field goal drive in the fourth and was given the opportunity to close it out before injuring his ribs with less than six minutes to go.

In came Matt McGloin, who increased his stock furthermore as a battle-tested NFL gunslinger under pressure. McGloin nearly finished Carr’s drive before a fumble feet from the endzone gave the ball to Detroit, and an Oakland defensive stand provided another chance. The second-year pro overcame several drops to cap a 13-play, 68-yard, 2:32-minute drive by nailing an open Brice Butler in the endzone with six seconds to spare. For someone who was expected to sit, McGloin’s effort was not too shabby.

Another eye-rubbing Raiders’ observation was Khalil Mack’s presence. Oakland’s coaching staff played the starter through the end of three quarters, when he finally recorded his lone tackle (a sack) on Kellen Moore. His development after a quiet two games deserves monitoring, but the Raiders should be very pleased with a result that showcased the team’s fortitude. The Silver and Black will travel to face the Green Bay Packers next Friday.

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and Radiosurvivor.com. He also owns the Theruination.net. Rui grew up an obsessive fan of the Sacramento Kings and Oakland Raiders, but he sympathizes with every West Coast team.

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