Raiders’ rookie Amari Cooper had his coming-out party against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, if only he was the party type.
Cooper overcome two early drops to catch seven passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. But anyone who thought the kid would celebrate deep into the night at Jack London Square didn’t know him very well.
“Nah, I’m just gonna chill, man,” Cooper smiled. “Just get some rest.”
Cooper hooked up with quarterback Derek Carr for the first points of the game, a 68-yard pass on which he scored untouched. He toasted cornerback Jimmy Smith on a double move.
“It was a great feeling,” Cooper told Balls. “I ran a double route and the guy couldn’t get there in time. I don’t think it was a blown coverage.”
More like a great move?
“Yeah, I think so,” Cooper was forced to say.
Cooper had five receptions for 95 yards in the first half alone. At that point, the Ravens decided they have been burned enough. They started to roll a defender to his side of the field, which created more space for teammate Michael Crabtree, who had five receptions and a TD in the second half.
FIRST OF MANY: Cooper set the team record for most pass receptions by a rookie in his first two games. Former College of Pacific star Jack Larscheid had owned the mark since 1960, the Raiders’ first season. Which was kind of fitting, because the game had an old AFL feel to it. In the first half, the teams combined for 552 total yards, 459 of them in the air.
CHARLES IN CHARGE: Veteran safety Charles Woodson denied that he played because of the dire situation of the secondary and team after a blowout loss in the season opener, but one had to wonder if that wasn’t in the back of his mind all along. He was in on four tackles despite a harness that limited the range of motion of his right arm.
“I just never planned on missing a game,” Woodson told Balls. “I mean, that’s really what it is, man. If I feel like I can go, then I’m gonna go [play]. I feel that I’m not going to further injure myself. If I can put some things in place to keep [the arm] where I don’t need it to be, then I’m going.”
JUST SAYIN’: The Ravens’ 36-year-old Steve Smith Sr. had 10 receptions for 150 yards. And the way the Raiders played defense, Steve Smith Jr. would have been good for five catches and 75 yards at least.
A member of the All-NFL Smack Talk Team, Smith had to be separated from Raiders’ veteran Justin Tuck while they left the field after the second period.
PAGING ALDON SMITH!: The Raiders’ defense failed to record a sack in 45 drop-backs, and if you listened close enough, you could hear Ben Davidson ranting down there.
ON TARGET: Balls took to the streets to find out what fans thought about the stadium thing, and the Palo Alto guy who sold “Stay in Oakland” buttons outside O.co Coliseum had the best take of all.
“It’s a combination of city and team officials and not communicating really well,” said Randy, who went back to the Daryle Lamonica days. “Without communication on both sides, it’s not ever going to get done. It goes back many, many years ago, when the Raiders moved to L.A. and lost a lot of their fan base. Plus, a lot of the [city] officials were scorned about that move, and there’s still some deep-seated sentiment that lingers. Also, there are reservations about the Coliseum, the expense of the tax-payers and the debt that is still being paid for that.
“Now the city officials are trying to work out a plan that is economically feasible, to listen to offers for a new stadium without public funding. It’s not an easy issue here. When you look at the Warriors’ possible move back to The City and the A’s and Raiders dying for a new stadium, these are very difficult times not only for the politicians to figure out what they need to do to keep all their sports teams in Oakland, but also for the fans not knowing what’s going to happen to their favorite teams.”
ROOT AT OWN RISK: The Santa Clara police department deserves a shout-out for their swift work after the savage beating of a Minnesota Vikings’ fan at Levi’s Stadium last Monday night. Four people were arrested on suspicion of felony assault. One was a season ticket holder whose privileges were revoked, the 49ers said.
The fact is, Santa Clara police have had too much practice at this sort of thing already. According to one report, they have responded to 24 assault complaints since the stadium opened last year. One victim suffered a severe brain injury when he was assaulted in a restroom.
Is it too early to call Levi’s Stadium the Red Hole?
BARRY IS BACK: Barry Zito got roughed up in his return to the major leagues on Sunday — two runs, one inning — but he did set a record. He became the 30th Athletics’ pitcher to make an appearance this season, the most in franchise history.
That makes general manager Billy Beane kind of like the Henny Youngman of baseball — he’s got a million of ’em.
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