Behind an indefatigable offense and a supercharged outing from third-year gunslinger Derek Carr, Jack Del Rio’s Oakland Raiders (6-2) turned in a truly amazing offensive showing on Sunday. Carr set a franchise record in passing yards (513) and career highs in pass attempts (59) and completions (40), the Raiders produced a season-high 626 yards of total offense, 350 more than the Buccaneers and more than any other team has amassed in the past two NFL seasons.
As it turns out, the Raiders needed every single bit of that offense because when Carr wasn’t firing the ball downfield, his teammates were busy shooting the team in the foot.
An NFL single-game record of 23 penalties by the Raiders set the team back 200 yards over the course of the game, and turned a sterling showing by the offense into necessary heroics in earning a 30-24 overtime victory.
“The great thing is, we did play through it,” Del Rio said after the win.
No franchise has committed more penalties in a single game in NFL history, breaking a 72-year-old record. Oakland earned 200 yards worth of penalties, the third-most in league history and the most since 1999; for context, Tampa Bay compiled 270 yards of total offense. The other two teams that racked up 200-plus penalty yards (the Tennessee Titans in 1999 and the Cleveland Browns in 1951) somehow managed to win their respective games, too. As Carr put it: “The refs, I think, did a great job.” Had penalties not negated 71 of Carr’s passing yards, he’d have set an NFL record for single-game yardage.
Considering every team this season — save for Oakland, of course — entered this weekend averaging no more than 9.33 accepted penalties per contest, it would take the other 31 NFL franchises, on average, more than two games to accrue as many penalties as the Raiders did Sunday alone. San Francisco, for example, has committed just 31 penalties this season.
While a portion of the flags were for commonplace issues (offensive and defensive holding, false starts) Oakland managed to have less-common difficulties materialize in inopportune moments. When Carr and the offense set up shop inside the Tampa Bay 5-yard line for first-and-goal in the second quarter, a delay of game penalty backed up the operation. Two plays later, Michael Crabtree’s offensive pass interference nullified a would-be touchdown. Oakland managed to salvage a 31-yard field goal on what ostensibly was an easy touchdown. On Tampa Bay’s go-ahead fourth-quarter scoring drive, the Buccaneers twice received a new set of downs when Oakland’s defense lined up with 12 men on the field.
“I’m thinking, ‘please run off the field like you’re supposed to right here,’” Del Rio said. “Obviously a couple other thoughts came into my mind, which I shared with a few people in the headphones, but that’s not ‘G’ or ‘PG.’”
At one point, an Oakland player was flagged for an illegal downfield kick, which allowed the Buccaneers to begin the ensuing drive inside Oakland territory. It took three plays to reach the end zone.
Perhaps it was foreseeable that Oakland, which entered the weekend with 20 more penalties and nearly 100 more penalty yards than any other team, would earn plenty of flags. After all, the Raiders, as of Saturday, had produced 2,080 penalties since the turn of the century, 215 more than any other franchise.
|Team||Penalties since 2000|
|St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams||1,865|
Think of it this way: Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams with the addition of the Houston Texans in 2002, each team has played 13 individual seasons, or 416 total seasons. There have been only 147 instances of a team generating 109 penalties, meaning that with half a season remaining, the Raiders have equaled a penalty total that has only happened in 35.3 percent of those seasons.In total, the Raiders have 109 penalties at the midway point of the season. The record for most single-season penalties is 163, set by — you guessed it — the Oakland Raiders in 2011. With eight games remaining, the team is projected to smash the existing record by 34 percent.