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McFadden, Raiders run over Jaguars

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- It was no secret last season that Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden was a bad fit for first-year offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's zone-blocking scheme.

McFadden was a downhill runner stuck in a scheme that required him to run laterally and patiently wait for a crease to open. He averaged a career-low 3.3 yards per carry.

This year? McFadden is running downhill again and loving life in new offensive coordinator Greg Olson's scheme, which combines power running and zone-read plays that feature quarterback Terrelle Pryor and McFadden as duel threats.

McFadden rushed for 129 yards on 19 carries Sunday, leading the Raiders to a 19-9 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in their home opener at the O.co Coliseum.

McFadden averaged 6.8 yards per try Sunday and had four explosive runs, good for 24, 30, 28 and 26 yards. He lost one fumble.

"I love being able to run downhill," said McFadden, who had his 13th career 100-yard rushing game. "I feel like I'm a downhill runner, and it's something that this offense allows me to do."

Pryor, meanwhile, earned his first NFL win in his third career start. He threw for 126 yards, completing 15 of 24 passes, and ran for 50 yards on nine carries. Many of McFadden's big runs came on read-option plays after Pryor had gashed the Jaguars outside.

"Knowing that you have to defend him going around the edge, a couple plays they left the middle wide open and I was able to get up in there and get some big runs out of it," McFadden said.

Sebastian Janikowski made four consecutive field goals for the Raiders after missing his first try from short range.

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew suffered a sprained ankle in the second quarter Sunday and did not return. He gained 27 yards on 10 carries. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said X-rays of Jones-Drew's ankle were negative but "it's a little loose in there" and the star back will be re-evaluated this week.

Jones-Drew suffered a season-ending Lisfranc foot injury last season playing in Oakland, where he was born. He said he requested 100 tickets for friends and family this year.

The Raiders (1-1) outgained the Jaguars 340 yards to 248 and outrushed them 226-34. Bradley seemed more concerned with the penalty stats. The Jaguars were penalized 10 times for 70 yards, while the Raiders had only five penalties for 30 yards.

"We have to hold everybody accountable, players, coaches," Bradley said.

The Jaguars (0-2) were short-handed on both sides of the ball, even before Drew's injury. Backup quarterback Chad Henne started in place of Blaine Gabbert, who was out with a lacerated right hand. Tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf), backup wideout Mike Brown (back) and starting left cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle) were also inactive. What's more, wide receiver Justin Blackmon served his second game of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.

Henne completed 25 of 38 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown. He wasn't intercepted but he was sacked five times. Usama Young had 1.5 sacks, and Christo Bilukidi had the first of his career.

"We definitely struggled on first and second down moving the ball," said Henne, who has lost 13 of his past 14 starts. "I think in the third quarter we were third-and-30. We had some penalties on first down that didn't give us a chance on third down.

"A bunch of things were going on, but what I'm really proud about is that we kept fighting to the end. We put a touchdown on the board."

The Raiders extended their seven-point halftime lead to 13-3 on Janikowski's 30-yard field goal with 9:18 left in the third quarter, capping a 12-play, 69-yard drive. McFadden's 30-yard burst up the middle was the key play of the drive, which stalled at the 12.

"I think Darren had a good day with the exception of the fumble there at the end of the game," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "That's something that can't happen. He knows that.

"You're going to get a lot of 2-, 3-, 4-yard runs and then you're going to be able to pop one. That's what we were able to do today. We had a couple opportunities to get him on the safety, and we had some big gainers."

Janikowski made it 16-3 with a 29-yard field goal with 13:49 left to play. The Raiders drove 43 yards in seven plays on that scoring drive, with McFadden gaining 28 yards on one burst around left end.

Then with 6:00 left to play, Janikowski connected from 29 yards, increasing Oakland's lead to 19-3. This time Raiders backup running back Rashad Jennings, a former Jaguar, had the big play, gaining 28 yards on a run up the middle.

After McFadden's fumble, the Jaguars drove 49 yards in six plays for a touchdown, Henne hitting Clay Harbor with a 13-yard strike. The Jaguars went for two, but Henne threw incomplete, leaving the Raiders ahead 19-9.

The Raiders built a 10-3 halftime lead, getting an 11-yard touchdown run by Marcel Reece in the first quarter and Janikowki's 46-yard field goal in the second. The Jaguars' only first-half points came on Josh Scobee's 27-yard field goal in the second quarter.

The Raiders grabbed a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game, marching 38 in five plays. Phillip Adams set up the score with a 30-yard punt return to the Jacksonville 38 after the Raiders' defense forced a three-and-out.

During the drive, McFadden took a direct snap and gained 7 yards on a first-and-10 run from the 22 out of the Wildcat formation, and Pryor followed with a 5-yard run around left end. Then on first-and-10 from the 11, Reece hit a big hole over guard, broke a tackle, spun and then dived into the end zone, giving the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 10:52 left in the quarter.

"There weren't a lot of opportunities for throwing the ball today," Pryor said. "The defense was playing well, we were shutting the Jaguars' offense down, and we were running the ball, so as a quarterback I didn't have a lot of opportunities. But at the end of the day we got a win. We're 1-1, and that's all that really matters to me. On to the next one, and we're looking forward to going to Denver."

NOTES: Raiders SS Tyvon Branch left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Allen said the injury "looks to be significant." ... Raiders starting left guard Lucas Nix injured an ankle in the third quarter, but Allen said it didn't appear to be "as significant" as Branch's injury. ... McFadden cracked the 100-yard barrier for the first time since rushing for 110 yards on 30 carries on Dec. 16, 2012, against Kansas City. ... Raiders rookie DE Ryan Robinson, who was inactive last week against Indianapolis, suited up and made his NFL debut. Second-year DE Jack Crawford was inactive. ... Jacksonville CB Alan Ball, who suffered a groin injury Thursday, was in the starting lineup. ... Jacksonville's other inactive players were DT Abry Jones, CB Marcus Burley and LB J.T. Thomas. ... Oakland LT Menelik Watson was inactive. The Raiders' other inactive players were TE David Ausberry, QB Matt McGloin, CB Chimdi Chekwa, OG Antoine McClain, WR Juron Criner and DE Jack Crawford.
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