The Oakland Raiders traveled to Cincinnati looking to build on last week’s upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers but the Bengals proved to be too much to handle.
Head coach Jon Gruden has been excellent at scripting opening drives all season long but that success ran out Sunday, going just 10 yards on five plays. Things didn’t get much better on the Raiders second offensive drive of the game as Derek Carr was sacked, fumbling the ball and giving the Bengals a short field.
Paul Guenther’s defense came up bit as safety Erik Harris intercepted quarterback Jeff Driskel’s pass on the ensuing play, giving it right back to Carr and the Raiders offense. But once again, Carr and the Raiders couldn’t get anything going. They went three-and-out and were forced to punt the ball away.
The Bengals got on the board first, putting together a 12-play drive that went 85 yards. The Raiders defense forced a fourth down, but Bengals standout running back Joe Mixon pushed his way through the line for a one-yard touchdown to put the Bengals up 7-0 early.
The Raiders first score of the game wouldn’t come until they were already down 10-0 in the second quarter. It took Carr just five plays to go 80 yards. Facing first and goal from the one-yard line, Carr found a wide open tight end Lee Smith for the touchdown to make it just a three-point deficit.
That’s all the Raiders would get heading into halftime down 20-7.
Kicker Daniel Carlson has been very good for the Raiders since being picked up midseason and that continued Sunday against the Bengals. The young kicker made all three field goal attempts, including two in the third quarter that made it 20-13 heading into the final quarter of play.
Mixon and the Bengals rushing attack proved to be too much for the Raiders defense to handle. Mixon carried the ball 27 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns, including one late in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach for the Raiders. As a team, the Bengals rushed for 172 yards.
The Raiders will return home next week to take on the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve in what could very well be their final game in Oakland ever. Mark Davis and the Raiders have not agreed to a new lease for next year and there’s growing sentiment that the Silver & Black will play elsewhere for a season before their new stadium opens up in Las Vegas in 2020.