Oakland Raiders: Notes and Observations From Week Three

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Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) and wide receiver Andre Holmes (18) celebrate a first half touchdown against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders gutted out a win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in absolutely heart stopping fashion. Ahead by seventeen at one point in the second half, the Raiders let Cleveland hang around and didn’t put them away. If not for a game ending interception by Charles Woodson — still playing with one arm, mind you — the mood in Oakland right now might be much different.

But the Raiders survived, notched the win, and moved to 2-1 on the season. And in the end, that’s all that matters.

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And it was an important win in that it laid to rest several rather dubious streaks of futility — streaks that have already been well chronicled. It was a good win for the team, it gives them another boost of confidence moving forward, and showed that this is a team that is better and more resilient than most anybody believed they were prior to the start of the regular season.

This team is absolutely showing it has the ability to not just exceed the expectations of the sports media “experts” but has the ability to be a very, very good football team, period.

That is not to say that this is not a team without its issues. The Raiders most certainly do. The most glaring issue of course, is the play of their secondary — which coupled with the injuries that have ravaged an already thin group, is more than a little disconcerting.

The Raiders are holding their patchwork secondary together at the moment with string, bubble gum, and duct tape, but if this team hopes to move to another level, they’re going to need a lot more than that. They’re going to need cornerbacks who can actually cover opposing receivers.

The fact that the defensive backfield has been absolutely torched by Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, and now Josh McCown in three consecutive weeks — and is surrendering roughly 323 yards per game through the air — is a disturbing trend. And it’s a trend the Raiders are going to need to put a stop to sooner rather than later. Whatever it takes, trades, signing free agents, or what have you, the Raiders cannot afford to let opposing quarterbacks be so effective against them.

Overall though, this is a team showing tremendous promise. The offense is really starting to click and the Derek Carr/Amari Cooper connection is already paying big dividends for this team. The chemistry between the two is outstanding and is only going to get better as the season progresses.

Though there are things to worry about, there is a lot to celebrate in Oakland’s 2-1 start to the year. Here is a little of both from Sunday’s game with the Browns.

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