ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Whether it was lining up with too many people or in the wrong place, holding too much or hitting too late, the Oakland Raiders spent nearly the entire game on the wrong side of the NFL law.
The fact that they managed to overcome a record 23 penalties to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-24 in overtime on Sunday was a credit to another sterling performance by Derek Carr and a defense that tightened up late.
“I thought we earned some and I thought some were questionable,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “But what I like about our guys is we’re resilient, we continue to fight and we work our way through whatever obstacles present themselves and yesterday we dealt with a large number of infractions that we don’t want to see and we fought our way through it and came home with a win.”
The 23 penalties for the Raiders (6-2) came in all varieties, with 13 committed on offense, six on defense and three on special teams. There were even three additional penalties that were either declined or offsetting. That broke the NFL record of 22 last achieved by San Francisco in 1998
Seven of the penalties occurred before the snap, including a pair of 12-men in defensive formation flags that gave Tampa Bay first downs on 3rd-and-1 on a go-ahead fourth-quarter drive. That was an issue Del Rio addressed with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on Monday.
“We tried to play with 12 a couple of times, we tried to play with 10 once,” Del Rio said. “Talked with Kenny today. We’re going to see if we can go ahead and play with 11 all the time. That’s what we’re looking for.”
The Bucs got four first downs by penalty on that drive alone, and had six of their 18 first downs for the game come on penalties by the Raiders. But Oakland forced three straight three-and-outs after that drive to set up the win that came on Carr’s 41-yard TD pass to Seth Roberts.
With 86 penalties through eight games, Oakland is on pace to break the record of 163 penalties in a season the franchise set just five years ago. Of those, 29 of the infractions have come on pre-snap penalties.
“I coach discipline,” Del Rio said. “We’re a discipline team. Because I know that and I know we coach it and stress it and I know our guys buy into it I’m not going to overreact to circumstances that are occurring that might indicate otherwise because I know the truth. I know what it really is. We are a disciplined team. It may take a while for others to recognize that.”
Del Rio’s previous teams in Jacksonville did manage to avoid infractions. The Jaguars were tied for the 22nd most penalties during his tenure there from 2003-11. But in his two seasons with the Raiders, Oakland has the most penalties in the NFL.
That has long been a problem for the Raiders, who have had an outlaw image since the 1970s and are often at or near the top of the charts when it comes to penalties in the NFL.
But it hasn’t stopped Oakland from getting off to its best start since 2001 as the Raiders look to end a 13-year playoff drought.
“We continue to teach and look to grow,” Del Rio said. “As a football team, it’s not going to be perfect and the key is to come out of these games finding a way to win. … We’re not going to dwell on it. We’re not going to spend any more time than is necessary to make the corrections and then we’re going to move on.”
NOTES: Del Rio had no update on the status of CB Sean Smith, who left the game after injuring his left shoulder on the second play of the game. … Del Rio lost a challenge in the first quarter when he questioned the spot after a Bucs reception. Replays showed Adam Humphries stepped out at the 16 where the play was marked but Del Rio challenged anyway. “I get really good information for the most part,” he said. “That was just one where the process kind of broke down a little bit. I’ll leave it at that.”