OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Derek Carr and the high-powered Oakland offense have the Raiders – after a dozen years of losing – back into contention in the AFC for a change.
Carr threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns to help Oakland pick apart the New York Jets’ vaunted defense in a 34-20 victory Sunday that put the Raiders in the thick of the playoff race.
Latavius Murray ran for 113 yards, Andre Holmes caught two touchdown passes and Charles Woodson intercepted his league-leading fifth pass of the season to give the Raiders (4-3) their first winning record this late in the season since 2011.
Article continues below ...
Oakland is one of five AFC teams with a winning record and looks capable of ending a 12-year run of no winning records or playoff berths.
Michael Crabtree had 102 yards receiving and another touchdown and Taiwan Jones got his first career score on a tackle-breaking 59-yard catch and run that exposed a New York defense that had been outstanding the first six games.
Ryan Fitzpatrick left with a left hand injury on the opening drive for the Jets (4-3), who have lost two straight games. Former starter Geno Smith threw for 265 yards and two TD passes in his first action since losing the job in training camp after getting punched in the locker room by teammate IK Enemkpali.
Smith then left in the closing minute on a hard hit by Ray-Ray Armstrong. Fitzpatrick returned despite the injury and threw two passes before Smith returned.
Getting beaten by Tom Brady and New England last week might not have been a cause for alarm, but the Jets were even worse this week against the emerging Raiders offense that has put together back-to-back stellar performances behind a second-year quarterback.
After scoring on the first seven drives in last week’s 37-29 win at San Diego, the Raiders were once again almost perfect on offense at the start. Carr threw touchdown passes on the first drives as the Raiders controlled the line of scrimmage and broke numerous tackles in the secondary. Oakland didn’t punt until the fourth quarter.
Carr was helped out by his receivers making big gains after the catch with Crabtree breaking tackles from Demario Davis, Antonio Cromartie and Marcus Williams on his 36-yard touchdown and Jones running around and through half the Jets defense on his long score.
But Carr also showed the ability to throw the deep ball, connecting on a 49-yarder to Holmes that made it 21-3 late in the first half. Carr now has seven TD passes and no interceptions the past two weeks and is just the third Raiders quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions since the merger. Rich Gannon did it in 2002 and Jeff Hostetler in 1994.
Fitzpatrick got hurt scrambling in the opening drive of the game. Smith came on and led the Jets to a field goal, but then threw an interception to Woodson and did not get the Jets into the end zone until midway through the third quarter with Oakland already up 28-6.
Smith also took a hard hit by David Amerson that drew ”oohs and ahhs” from the crowd after a 29-yard run down the sideline.
He didn’t get much help from the running game. Chris Ivory, who came into the game averaging more than 100 yards a game, was held to 17 yards on 15 carries behind a line missing starting center Nick Mangold.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL