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Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 9:05am
With the game on the line in the fourth quarter at Chicago on Sunday, Oakland Raiders starting tailback Latavius Murray -- a week after gaining 139 yards rushing -- was on the sideline.
The Raiders instead went with third-down back Roy Helu as the lead back on the final dive. Helu, who had scored a touchdown and made a few other plays, was stopped on a third-and-2 that forced Oakland to kick a field goal instead of going for a touchdown late in the game. The Raiders ended up losing, 22-20.
The absence of Murray was glaring in the key moment. The Raiders took him out after a rough day. Murray had 49 yards on 16 carries, he lost a fumble in the fourth quarter and he bobbled a pass that was intercepted in Oakland territory.
Still, Oakland coach Jack Del Rio was adamant Monday in saying Murray wasn’t benched. He said the team thought Helu was the best option for that situation.
“I would characterize it us as using the members of our football team in a fashion to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game,” Del Rio said. “We have different plays that we run with different players at different times of the game. So it wasn’t a benching. So that’s not accurate.”
The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Murray remains in Oakland’s mix and Del Rio said he believes he will back bounce back nicely. This may be a teaching tool for the young back as the Raiders also can't afford to give up on him. It could also mean Helu gets a few more snaps and touches going forward and may be a worthwhile own for Murray owners if his mistakes continue.
Posted by Andy Rioux
Friday, October 9, 2015 - 10:43am
Week 5 vs Denver
With Latavius Murray banged up and in the bad graces of the Oakland coaching staff due to a fumble, Roy Helu saw extensive action last Sunday for the first time since joining the Raiders. Helu ran for just 22 yards, but caught a touchdown pass in Oakland’s 22-20 loss to Chicago.
It is certainly possible Helu will now see more action in passing situations, as he was widely expected to do when he signed with Oakland, but Murray is going to remain the workhorse. Helu is a handcuff who has no value this week against a tough Denver defense.
2015 Strength of Schedule - OAK
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.
2015 Game Stats
Previous Games vs. DEN