OAKLAND, Calif. — Coaches often preach for their defenses to “fly around.”
Charles Woodson took that to the extreme for the Oakland Raiders.
Woodson’s flying tackle of Maurice Jones-Drew helped spearhead a strong defensive effort by Oakland and Darren McFadden and the running game did the rest as the Raiders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9 on Sunday in their home opener.
In a sloppy game that featured 15 penalties, few good passing plays and only one touchdown for each team, Woodson’s touchdown-saving tackle after leaping over two players provided a memorable highlight.
“I’m just flying over a building in a single bound,” he said.
That play set the tone for a strong performance by the defense of the Raiders (1-1) against a punchless Jacksonville offense that came within 2:53 of becoming the first team since the 2006 Raiders and Buccaneers to fail to score a touchdown in the first two games.
“I think today for the most part we did our job as a team collectively,” Woodson said. “We beat a team I felt like we were supposed to beat and that’s a step in the right direction.”
McFadden ran for 129 of Oakland’s 226 yards rushing on the day, Terrelle Pryor added 50 yards on the ground and 126 through the air in a turnover-free performance and Marcel Reece scored on an 11-yard run to help Oakland bounce back from last week’s late loss in Indianapolis. Sebastian Janikowski added four field goals.
Playing depleted Jacksonville (0-2) sure helped the cause. The Jaguars entered the game without quarterback Blaine Gabbert (right hand), receiver Justin Blackmon (suspension) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf), and then lost star running back Maurice Jones-Drew in the first half to an ankle injury.
“We can’t make excuses regardless of who’s out there,” tackle Eugene Monroe said. “‘We just need to execute and not make mistakes, not get panicked and turn this thing around.”
A week after allowing six sacks, dropping five passes and punting a franchise-record 11 times in a 28-2 loss to Kansas City, the Jaguars offense was nearly as bad under Chad Henne.
Jacksonville crossed midfield for the first time in the opening quarter in this game, as opposed to the fourth last week.
And the Jaguars got their first touchdown of the season on Henne’s 13-yard pass to Clay Harbor after a fumble by McFadden late in the fourth quarter.
“Right now we’re making too many mistakes,” coach Gus Bradley said. “We have to hold everybody accountable, players, coaches, because it’s about execution and mindset. We’ll challenge our guys in that area and we’ll get those things taken care of.”
But there were many more blunders than highlights, as the Jaguars went over 36 minutes without a first down and didn’t generate any offense until the game was out of hand.
One of the most egregious mistakes came when D.J. Williams lined up in the neutral zone on a punt, prolonging a third-quarter drive that ended in a field goal by Janikowski that made it 13-3.
Jason Babin also prolonged two scoring drives with penalties to help Pryor get his first win as an NFL starter in his third start.
Pryor, who beat out Matt Flynn for the starting job in training camp, was much less spectacular than he was a week ago in Indianapolis, when he recorded the eighth 200-yard passing, 100-yard rushing game since the 1970 merger.
But he also avoided many of the mistakes that plagued him a week ago, when his two interceptions contributed to a 21-17 loss. The threat of his running also opened up big lanes for McFadden.
“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.
The Raiders started fast, forcing a three-and-out on Jacksonville’s first possession and converting a short field after Phillip Adams’ 30-yard punt return.
They scored their first opening-drive touchdown since the final game of the 2011 season. Aided by a personal foul on Babin, Oakland took a 7-0 lead on Reece’s 11-yard run.
There wasn’t much offense the rest of the game. Pryor did not complete a pass past the line of scrimmage in the first 27 minutes, and Henne struggled to move the Jaguars down the field until late.
NOTES: Raiders S Tyvon Branch left in the first quarter with a “significant” ankle injury. … Janikowski missed a 35-yard field goal attempt in the first half, ending a streak of 50 straight makes under 40 yards. … The Jaguars had 34 yards rushing for their lowest total since gaining 33 in the season opener against Tennessee in 2008.