Jack Del Rio has a new lease on life as the Oakland Raiders' head coach.
He wants to jack up his new team against the visiting Bengals, a playoff team four years in a row.
Del Rio has been getting rave reviews in his return to head-coaching while re-organizing the messy Raiders following a disappointing 2014. They felt like they had a solid preseason. But now that the regular season is here, Del Rio needs to show that he is up to snuff while being in control on the sidelines during game action.
His first crucial decision in Sunday's season-opening contest against the Bengals didn't turn out so well.
The Raiders had it fourth-and-1 at the Oakland 45 right after starting quarterback Derek Carr was knocked out of the game with an injured finger while trying to stiff-arm his way to extra yards on a scramble.
Instead of punting -- potentially pinning the Bengals deep in their own territory, forcing them to drive the length of the field for a score -- Del Rio and the Raiders went for it and wound up giving the Bengals less than half a field on the way to a score.
With a second-string quarterback under center, the Raiders gave it to big running back Latavius Murray, who ran into the strongest part of the Bengals' line -- the middle.
With defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Domata Peko and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga meeting Murray head on, the second-year runner was stonewalled for no gain. Maualuga was credited with the tackle.
The Bengals took over on downs. Six plays later, they were back in the end zone on Jeremy Hill's two-yard score on first-and-goal for a 17-0 lead.
The Bengals made it 24-0 at halftime on Tyler Eifert's 13-yard TD pass from Dalton, completing a six-play, 61-yard drive that was helped along by an 18-yard completion to Eifert, a 13-yard run by Giovani Bernard and a 14-yard pass to Bernard.
The Bengals outgained the Raiders in first-half yards, 265-106. Dalton completed 18 of 23 passes for 202 yards before the break.
Eifert had eight catches at intermission for 96 yards.
Hill is the Bengals' first-half rushing leader with 41 yards on nine carries with two scores. Bernard had 42 total yards on seven touches in the first half.