September 17, 2017 - 9:17 pm
OAKLAND, Calif. — Jack Del Rio privately warned his players.
These officials entered Sunday with a bit of a reputation.
Led by head referee Jeff Triplette, the crew assigned to the Raiders’ home opener has a tendency to keep a tighter control of the action. Be aware, the head coach said. Keep your emotions under control. And so naturally, Del Rio couldn’t have been surprised when linebacker Bruce Irvin was questionably flagged for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter.
That doesn’t mean he had to like it.
“What did you think?” Del Rio said to a reporter, prompting laughter. “Did you think I liked it?”
The Raiders trampled the Jets 45-20, but the first half was kept fairly close. It saw Oakland’s defense incur a 15-yard penalty on both of New York’s first-half scoring drives.
Del Rio was careful not to criticize the crew too directly. Each call, however, seemed ticky-tack.
First, Irvin stopped Matt Forte with a physical arm tackle, spinning the Jets running back into the turf. Irvin was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a more extreme version of that tackle type in Week 1 against the Titans. The more milder version offered the same result.
“I think my incident last week carried over into this week,” Irvin said. “I think they were watching me extra. It was a football tackle to me, but they thought differently, so it is what it is.”
On the Jets’ next drive, cornerback TJ Carrie tackled running back Bilal Powell for a 1-yard loss. Rookie linebacker Marquel Lee was involved on the play, whose action carried into the visitor sideline.
Lee chirped after the play concluded.
“I just said, ‘That’s how we’re coming all day,’” Lee said. “That was it. I don’t know. The ref was kinda far away. I didn’t know he heard me.”
Said Del Rio: “There were some things I thought were a little bit maybe called too tight. I’m not sure that’s what our league needs. I thought we were making an effort to speed up the games. I’d like to see that continue.”
Gareon Conley was tested early in his first NFL action.
He wasn’t tested much after that.
The Raiders cornerback and rookie first-round pick broke up a deep, first-quarter pass intended for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. Conley, who played in the team’s nickel packages as an outside corner, was targeted on just one throw for the remainder of the afternoon, ceding only 8 yards in coverage.
He missed all of training camp, the preseason and Week 1 to a June shin injury.
“I really didn’t notice he was out there or not,” defensive end Khalil Mack said. “That’s a great thing if you can’t tell that a rookie is out there.”
— Wide receiver Michael Crabtree turned 30 on Thursday. He celebrated Sunday with three touchdowns, the first two of which gave the Raiders a 14-0 lead. Crabtree caught all six of his targets for 80 yards. Quarterback Derek Carr had a perfect 158.3 rating on throws in his direction.
— Cornerback Sean Smith (neck), fullback Jamize Olawale (quad) and safety Keith McGill II (foot) were among the Raiders’ inactives. All were listed questionable on Friday’s injury report.
— The Raiders sacked quarterback Josh McCown four times. Mack earned his first of the season; one in Week 1 was negated by a teammate’s offside penalty. Safety Karl Joseph netted the first of his career. Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. was credited for 1 1/2 sacks while defensive lineman Denico Autry chipped in with half of one.
— The last time the Raiders began a season 2-0, they finished 11-5 in 2002 and appeared in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter