We’re just about halfway through the 2015 season and there’s a winning team in Oakland.
Coming into Sunday, the last time the Raiders had a winning record in November was in 2011 when Hue Jackson had them at 7-4 after a 25-20 win over the Bears but that team has now been replaced in the franchise record book. The Raiders opened up a 21-3 lead in the first half and then cruised the rest of the way to a 34-20 victory over the Jets that moved their record to 4-3.
It was an impressive offensive performance across the board for Oakland. Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes, Latavius Murray ran for 113 yards and a highly-rated Jets defense looked poor throughout the game.The Raiders didn’t punt until the game was well into the second half, which accounts for how comfortable the victory felt for most of the afternoon. Carr threw three touchdowns last week against the Chargers and is 47-of-67 for 622 yards during the team’s two-game winning streak.
That puts them firmly into the race for a playoff spot with teams like the Jets, who are 4-3 but moving in the wrong direction after two straight losses. Ryan Fitzpatrick left the game after a few plays with a ligament injury to his left thumb, leaving Geno Smith to direct the Jets offense the rest of the way. Smith led a couple of touchdown drives in the second half, but showed the same lack of situational awareness that plagued him throughout his stint as the starter with the Jets.
Among the ways he showed it was a willingness to take big hits from Raiders defenders by not running out of bounds or throwing balls away. Those weren’t the issues when he took a huge hit late in the fourth quarter from Ray Ray Armstrong while completing a pass to Brandon Marshall, but Smith did have to briefly leave the game as a result. Fitzpatrick took a couple of snaps and completed a pass before Smith returned.
They’ll have to sort out their quarterback issues before hosting the Jaguars next week. The Raiders, meanwhile, will head to Pittsburgh and try to keep their offense cooking in a date with another team in the mix for a Wild Card berth.