Raiders shake off penalties, climb to No. 2 in power rankings

  • RAIDER RULE NO. 2: See Raider Rule No. 1.
  • Through 11 games, the Raiders lead the league in penalties (105) and penalty yardage (867), which is a relatively new development for second-year Raiders coach Jack Del Rio as his Jacksonville teams were some of the least penalized in the league at the time.
  • Raiders shake off penalties, climb to No. 2 in power rankings
  • You can hear former Raiders linebacker Matt Millen cackling as he recalls the signs, real or fictional, adorning Oakland’s locker room, the ones that read: RAIDER RULE NO. 1: Cheating is encouraged.
  • Then again, the Raiders did set an NFL record with 23 penalties for a franchise-record 200 yards in an overtime road victory Oct 30 against Tampa Bay.

Following their win against Carolina, the Raiders reached No. 2 in ESPN’s Power Rankings for the first time since the final 2002 regular-season poll.

@PGutierrezESPN: Penalties? What penalties? #Raiders rise to No. 2 in @ESPNNFL power rankings for first time since 2002:

A weekly examination of the Oakland Raiders’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Rank: 2 | Last Week: 4

Comment: The last time the Raiders were ranked No. 2 in our ESPN NFL power rankings? Try the final regular-season poll of the 2002 season, when they were behind Philadelphia and headed to the Super Bowl.

It was also the last time the Raiders finished with a winning record … until now. Sunday’s improbable 35-32 comeback victory against Carolina — paced by Derek Carr’s dislocated passing pinkie finger and Khalil Mack’s monster defensive game — moved first-place Oakland to 9-2 and clinched the franchise’s first winning season in 14 years.

One thing has remained constant, though … the team’s penchant for collecting flags.

Through 11 games, the Raiders lead the league in penalties (105) and penalty yardage (867), which is a relatively new development for second-year Raiders coach Jack Del Rio as his Jacksonville teams were some of the least penalized in the league at the time.

“Part of that is, it might take a while for the league and the referees to understand that what you grew up watching and some of the rule-breaking that this franchise was proud of at one point, that’s not how we’re doing things,” Del Rio said Monday with a sly grin during his weekly media conference.

And somewhere, you can hear former Raiders linebacker Matt Millen cackling as he recalls the signs, real or fictional, adorning Oakland’s locker room, the ones that read: RAIDER RULE NO. 1: Cheating is encouraged. RAIDER RULE NO. 2: See Raider Rule No. 1.

Then again, the Raiders did set an NFL record with 23 penalties for a franchise-record 200 yards in an overtime road victory Oct 30 against Tampa Bay.

“We are a disciplined team,” Del Rio said, the smile melting away. “We like the toughness part and the physicality, and the free spirits and all those kinds of things. We want people to be themselves, but we’re going to have discipline. We do.

“We have a good group of guys and they care, and I think as people continue to see us play and play well and be a good football team and do things the right way, I think that will be what we’re known for and those things will disappear.”

Raiders shake off penalties, climb to No. 2 in power rankings