The Oakland Raiders are on a losing streak and Vontaze Burfict may be up to his old tricks.
As the Raiders lost their second straight game in blowout fashion, this time to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3, much of the attention was on Derek Carr’s struggles. He threw one horrendous interception early in the second quarter that directly led to a Vikings touchdown and overthrew tight end Darren Waller on a completion that would have given the Raiders points before the end of the half.
While much of the criticism and attention was on the franchise quarterback, what was overlooked in all of this mess was the behavior of veteran linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Burfict has made his fair share of very questionable and seemingly cheap hits over the course of his eight-year NFL career, but he had played rather clean thus far during his first season in the Silver and Black.
Well, not anymore, or at least it doesn’t seem that way. Towards the end of the third quarter of Minnesota’s beatdown of Oakland, the repeat offender appeared to throw several punches at Vikings running back Dalvin Cook towards the end of a run play. While he didn’t connect with Cook, it did appear he connected with a Vikings offensive lineman.
Vontaze Burfict’s History of Dirty Hits
Considering the Raiders are one of the most 10 most penalized teams in the NFL, they can’t afford this behavior from somebody who was named one of the team captains prior to the start of the season.
It remains to be seen if the NFL will discipline Burfict, but considering how obvious it was — he threw several punches during a blowout — and his long history of detrimental conduct, it would be surprising if the NFL didn’t at least hand out a fine.
Jon Gruden Explains Raiders’ Loss
The Raiders were flat-out dominated for the second straight week and there wasn’t many positives to draw from this latest defeat.
As Oakland dropped to 1-2 on the season in the midst of a 48-day road trip, head coach Jon Gruden explained what led to Oakland’s latest defeat in their 34-14 drubbing following the game.
“If you fall behind against this team early, they have the closers that make it very difficult on you and the noise doesn’t help. They are one heck of a running football team and this guy’s a great back, Dalvin Cook,” said Gruden.
Cook was an absolute monster. He entered the Week 3 matchup leading the NFL in rushing and came out of it leading it by even more. He ended Week 3’s win with 16 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown on 6.9 yards per carry. Heck, he added four receptions for 33 more yards.
Gruden went in-depth further regarding the Vikings’ win, including the pressure that they put on Carr. Oakland allowed four sacks on the day while Minnesota gave up zero.
“They’re a good team. They can get there with four guys, they have a lot of pressure and simulated pressure, you have to account for. So it’s hard to get help a lot of the time,” said Gruden. “It’s a credit to their scheme. They’ve been at it for a long time, they’ve been drafting to fulfill needs at this scheme. They’re a challenge. I though the offensive line at times did some good things. Obviously a couple of other times Derek was pressured quickly and it made it hard.”