OAKLAND, Calif. — With so much attention paid to A.J. Green on the outside, Andy Dalton was pleased to get big tight end Tyler Eifert back to control the middle of the field.
Eifert caught two touchdown passes from Dalton in his first game in more than a year and Jeremy Hill ran for two scores as the Cincinnati Bengals spoiled Jack Del Rio’s coaching debut in Oakland with a 33-13 win over the Raiders on Sunday.
Eifert, who had a season-ending elbow injury in last year’s opener, caught nine passes for 104 yards to lead the way for the Bengals.
“We knew that we were going to have some chances with some of the looks that we were getting and he was in the right spot, right time and he made some really good plays for us,,” Dalton said. “It’s what we expect from him. That’s what we missed on last year, but just happy to have him back.”
While the opener went as planned for the Bengals (1-0), it was a nightmare for the Raiders (0-1).
Oakland lost starting quarterback Derek Carr to a hand injury in the second quarter and was held scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter in Del Rio’s first game as coach.
“That’s a very disappointing, embarrassing effort,” Del Rio said. “I take full responsibility. We’ll get it turned around and corrected.”
The tone was set right from the start as the Raiders went three-and-out on their first possession — the eighth straight season they began with a three-and-out or turnover. Dalton then moved the ball easily on an 11-play drive capped by Hill’s 3-yard score on fourth-and-1.
Dalton frequently found the middle of the field open against a Raiders defense that lost starting safety Nate Allen to a knee injury in the first half. Dalton hit Eifert on scoring strikes in the closing seconds of the first half and then late in the third quarter to make it 30-0, driving Oakland fans to boo or head to the exits.
Here are some other takeaways from the Bengals win in Oakland:
HUE’S HOMECOMING: Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson soaked it all during the pregame warmups in his first trip back to Oakland since being fired by the Raiders following the 2011 season. Jackson led the Raiders to an 8-8 record that year but missed out on the playoffs when Oakland lost the final game at home to San Diego. Jackson was fired after owner Mark Davis hired Reggie McKenzie as general manager.
“It’s satisfying to win,” Jackson said. “This place will always be special to me because of Al Davis. Coach Davis was tremendous to me, and gave me an opportunity with this organization. But at the end of the day, I work for the Bengals.”
ALDON’S DEBUT: Aldon Smith got on the field for extensive time just two days after signing with the Raiders. The talented but troubled pass rusher was released by San Francisco on Aug. 7 after his fifth run-in with the law and signed with Oakland on Friday. He had one solo tackle, one assist and one quarterback pressure.
“I’m just excited to be here and have this chance with this team and be a part of the guys that work hard and an organization that looks out for its players,” he said. “Just a fresh start.”
PACMAN’S PUSH: The game was chippy with several personal fouls with the most blatant coming in the second quarter. Adam Jones ripped off the helmet of Oakland receiver Amari Cooper and slammed his head against it. Austin Howard, who was already called for holding on the play, then shoved Jones as a mild skirmish broke out. The penalties wiped out a 60-yard run by Jamize Olawale.
“I’m here to play football,” Jones said. “I don’t back down from nobody and I’m not out there trying to start anything. I’m just having fun playing football.”
OAKLAND FIRST: The Bengals finally won a game in Oakland after losing in their 10 previous trips to the Coliseum. Their only previous road win against the Raiders came in Los Angeles in 1988.
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