Raiders' Del Rio sees room to grow after back-to-back wins
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) If there was any danger of the Oakland Raiders becoming overconfident this week facing the winless Chicago Bears after winning back-to-back games for the first time since 2012, coach Jack Del Rio delivered a warning Monday.
''There's a lot of growth in front of us and we absolutely got to grind and push and continue to sacrifice, and as coaches we're going to continue to demand,'' Del Rio said, one day after a 27-20 victory against the Cleveland Browns. ''And we expect to play a lot better football as we go forward in the season, and the only way you can do that is if you put in the work.''
The Raiders (2-1) ended their 11-game road losing streak and their 16-game skid in the Eastern time zone on Sunday. Now they'll try to win three straight for the first time since 2011, when former coach Hue Jackson led them to victories against San Diego and Minnesota on the road then Chicago at home.
For the second straight week, the Raiders delivered a big play down the stretch to secure a victory. Two weeks ago, quarterback Derek Carr threw a game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Seth Roberts with 26 second left in a 37-33 victory against Baltimore. At Cleveland, free safety Charles Woodson intercepted a Josh McCown pass at the Raiders' 12 with 38 seconds remaining.
''We try and make all the little details important every day so when it's late in the fourth quarter and it's time to make a play, you're going to do what you're trained to do,'' Del Rio said.
The Raiders' improved offense had triple-digit days from three of its top young weapons - Carr, running back Latavius Murray and rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper. Carr passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns, Murray carried 26 times for 139 yards and one score, and Cooper caught eight passes for 134 yards.
''It's important to have weapons available,'' Del Rio said. ''What gives it all a chance to go is the offensive line. I think where you as a football team have a chance to look at some of those playmakers running down the field is if your offensive line is holding up and blocking well. It starts with the men in the trenches. Defensively I'd say the same thing. It starts with our guys up front.''
On defense, the Raiders had their first five sacks of the season, with linebacker Khalil Mack getting two of those and forcing a fumble.
The Raiders made strides overall defensively but got burned for the third straight game by an opposing tight end, this time Gary Barnidge, who had six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
''There's a cloaking device I think they have,'' Del Rio joked. ''Somehow they're going right down the field without us able to see them. We're going to see if we can remove that cloaking device.''
NOTES: The Raiders released cornerback Chimdi Chekwa and rookie offensive tackle Anthony Morris from injured reserve. Morris was a seventh-round draft pick out Tennessee State. ... Defensive lineman C.J. Wilson (calf) was the only injured Raider who didn't finish the game Sunday. Del Rio said he won't know until later in week whether starting defensive tackle Justin Ellis (ankle) will be able to play Sunday after missing the past two games.
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