CLEVELAND (AP) — Derek Carr had no idea where his passes were going or what the weather was doing.
On the shores of Lake Erie, both were wildly unpredictable Sunday.
“It was ridiculous,” said the Las Vegas quarterback. “It rained. It sleeted. It snowed. It was snowing sideways. The wind, who knows what it was?”
But the winter-like weather didn’t stop Carr or the Raiders. The Browns didn’t offer them much resistance either.
Carr t hrew a 4-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow early in the fourth quarter, Daniel Carlson kicked three field goals in nasty conditions and the Raiders controlled the clock in a 16-6 win over Cleveland.
Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden spent the week preparing his team for inclement weather. The Raiders didn’t just survive in it, they thrived.
“We kept talking about how we struggled playing on the road last year in bad weather against the Jets and the Chiefs,” Gruden said. “We kind of enjoyed it. I think our guys look forward to the challenge of the weather more than anything.”
Carr’s strike to Renfrow with 14:53 to go was the game’s only TD and helped the Raiders (4-3) bounce back after they fell apart late in last week’s 45-20 loss to Tampa Bay.
The Browns (5-3) struggled in conditions in which they’re supposed to have an advantage, and they may have suffered a bigger loss as NFL sacks leader Myles Garrett injured his knee in the first quarter. He’ll undergo an MRI on Monday.
“It’s part of the game,” Garrett said. “I took a shot on one of the first plays. After that, it was tough.”
Using running back Josh Jacobs and a short passing game, Carr controlled the clock in the second half and kept the ball away from the Browns (5-3).
On the Raiders’ first two drives after halftime, the first leading to their go-ahead TD and the other to Carlson’s 24-yard field goal with 4:24 left, they ate up 17:41.
Oakland had the ball for 37:43 to 22:17 for Cleveland.
Jacobs finished with a career-high 128 yards — 80 in the second half — on 31 carries. Last week, he had just 17 yards on 10 attempts.
“It was about time we had a run game like that,” Jacobs said. “It feels good to be that dominant.”
The Raiders’ defense did its part as Las Vegas stopped its NFL record of allowing at least 10 points at 116 straight games.
Baker Mayfield couldn’t get anything going with Cleveland’s offense, which was without star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week. Mayfield, who completed 21 passes in a row in the win over Cincinnati a week ago, went 12 of 25 for 122 yards.
Mayfield’s last throw toward Jarvis Landry in the end zone was incomplete with 1:58 left, and Cody Parkey missed a 37-yard field goal to end Cleveland’s chances. Parkey did make kicks of 41 and 38 yards.
The weather was brutal.
The wind, measured from the west at 35 mph at kickoff, made it difficult for both quarterbacks to throw; affected every punt and kick; and forced the 12,000 fans to bundle up as it felt more like a game in late December — or in Cleveland, early May.
“I’m from the beach,” Renfrow said. “That was more wind than a hurricane it seemed like. It was coming sideways, backwards and forward.”
Carr did an excellent job managing the clock in the final minute of the first half to set up Carlson’s 33-yard field goal as time expired to put the Raiders up 6-3.
The Raiders appeared to take the lead in the second quarter when Carr connected with Henry Ruggs III in the back right corner of the end zone. However, Ruggs was ruled out of bounds and the call was upheld following a video review and Raiders challenge.
Las Vegas settled for Carlson’s 29-yard field goal to tie it 3-3.
Earlier, Carlson had a 41-yard attempt at the opposite end of the field blown sideways and the ball clanged off the left upright.
Garrett was limited by an ankle injury that kept him out of practice this week, and now he’s dealing with a knee issue.
At one point, Garrett was evaluated in the medical tent but came back. He was kept out on several plays, and lacked his usual explosiveness off the line.
“We haven’t made excuses and we’re not going to start now. It’s a next-man-up league,” Garrett said. “They took advantage of some of the guys we were without. They had a game plan and they executed it.”
Raiders: Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was carted off in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. …Safety Jeff Heath’s day ended in the first half with a hip injury. … Right tackle Trent Brown, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, was inactive after he woke up not feeling well. The team said his illness was not related to coronavirus.
Browns: DT Vincent Taylor left in the fourth quarter to be checked for a concussion.
Raiders: visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 8.
Browns: on their bye week before hosting the Houston Texans on Nov. 15.
KICKOFF: 10 a.m. Raiders begin with the ball. Trent Brown not starting for the Raiders, Sam Young in his place on the offensive line.
Daniel Carlson misses 41 yard FG attempt in the wind on the Raiders opening drive. No score after first quarter.
SECOND QUARTER: Browns C. Parkay with a 41 yard FG. BROWNS 3, RAIDERS 0 early 2Q,
Raiders Daniel Carlson a 29 yard FG. RAIDERS 3, BROWNS 3, 5:17 left in 2Q.
Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 33 yard FG to end the half. RAIDERS 6, BROWNS 3, halftime.
THIRD QUARTER: Cody Parkey with a 38 yard FG. RAIDERS 6, BROWNS 6, midway through 3Q
FOURTH QUARTER: Raiders Derek Carr with an 8 yard TD pass to Hunter Renfrow. RAIDERS 13, BROWNS 6 with 14:50 left in regulation.
Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson with his 3rd field goal of the game. RAIDERS 16, BROWNS 6, 4:24 left in regulation.
FINAL: RAIDERS 16, BROWNS 6
Raiders now 4-3 and play at Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.
(Associated Press) – Finding positives in the performance of the Las Vegas Raiders defense this season isn’t an easy task.
When asked about the strength of his unit, coordinator Paul Guenther struggled to find anything before saying the Raiders have done “some good things” against the run.
There hasn’t been much that’s been good from the Raiders defense through six games this season as the team ranks last in the league in takeaways (three), 31st in points allowed (32.8 per game), 30th in yards per play allowed (6.29) and tied for 29th in sacks (seven).
The lack of production in the third year under Guenther has led to questions about whether he’s the right coordinator to fix the defensive problems that have plagued the Raiders for more than a decade.
“I don’t have time to pay attention to it,” Guenther said Thursday. “I come in here every morning, stay here late at night to try and put these guys in the best position to succeed. And like I said, I do the best job we can with the coaches that we have so we can do the best job with these players to put them in a position to make plays, and when those plays are there to be made we got to make the play.”
The Raiders just haven’t done a good enough job of making plays this season outside of one brief stretch of success in a Week 5 win at Kansas City.
The Raiders have allowed the second-most points through six games in franchise history and are the only team in the NFL this season to give up at least 24 points in every game as the lack of a consistent pass rush continues to be a problem ever since coach Jon Gruden traded away Khalil Mack before the 2018 season.
“We had a great meeting with the coaches,” Gruden said. “We had an opportunity to look at everything that we have done. We had a chance to really talk about our personnel extensively. We’re going to make some changes, no doubt, with the scheme. How much? I don’t know. But you’ll see some things that you didn’t see last week.”
Las Vegas showed signs of progress with a season-high 23 quarterback pressures and three sacks against Patrick Mahomes in the win at Kansas City. The Raiders held the Chiefs to one field goal during a six-drive stretch starting late in the second quarter to fuel the 40-32 victory.
They were unable to carry that over after the bye in a 45-20 loss to Tampa Bay when Las Vegas generated no sacks and hit Tom Brady only once.
“We just have to be more consistent,” defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “We have to be on the same page at all times. It can’t be one guy not knowing what the game is, one guy not on the same page as the guy next to him. That’s what we’ve been working on. We’ve been communicating and working on what we need to get better. I’m excited to get out there Sunday and do what we need to do.”
Crosby has four of the team’s seven sacks, but has gotten little help from the rest of the line. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell, the fourth overall pick in 2019, has no sacks so far this season, and free agent defensive tackle Maliek Collins has made a minimal impact after being called the key to the defense by Gruden.
Big-ticket linebacker Cory Littleton has been a major disappointment so far after signing a three-year, $35.25 million contract as a free agent.
While second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen and safety Johnathan Abram have shown flashes, the secondary has been a problem as well.
Gruden said earlier this week that he doesn’t anticipate any trades before next week’s deadline, meaning the pieces in place are probably the ones that will need to perform if the Raiders are going to improve.
“We always try to keep developing those guys and putting them in the best spot to succeed and that’s what coaching really is, is trying to get your guys with the assets that you have, understand strengths and weaknesses of those assets and put those guys in the best position to succeed,” Guenther said. “That’s all we try to do.”