There were mistakes in the secondary, but the Raiders still prevented the Buccaneers from ripping off many big plays. Tampa Bay was in the same boat, save for allowing big plays.
The mistakes from Oakland’s defensive backfield weren’t in coverage, they involved a little too much laundry being thrown by officials, and it’s what prevented Oakland from running away with their Florida finale. The Raiders set an NFL record with 23 penalty flags being thrown in their direction.
They also pulled out a win, though, a 30-24 victory that will keep them atop the AFC West.
A 33-yard gain on a deep ball from quarterback Derek Carr to blanketed receiver Amari Cooper set up a scoring drive, one that included a fourth down defensive holding penalty, and a short touchdown pass to tight end Mychal Rivera — who was inactive for the first three games — to tie the score at 24 a piece.
Carr set the franchise record for passing yards in a single game as well, with 513 yards and four touchdowns.
Oakland’s defense forced a 3-and-out on the following Buccaneers drive, and following a 3rd down run from Carr, sent out kicker Sebastian Janikowski for a field-yard field goal attempt, which sailed a yard to the left of the field goal post, setting up overtime.
And right at the beginning, with Oakland taking possession first, Carr hit receiver Michael Crabtree in the intermediate left side of the hashes, and Crabtree took it another 30 or so yards after the catch.
A few plays later, along with a false start penalty, the Raiders sent Janikoswki out again, this time to attempt a 52-yard field goal.
Tampa Bay couldn’t finish it on their ensuing possession, despite two deep attempts from quarterback Jameis Winston towards receiver Mike Evans. More yellow nylon was tossed, and the Raiders final drive of overtime included a big play from Carr to Crabtree being negated by a holding penalty called on left tackle Donald Penn.
Cooper caught a short slant a few plays later, and got the Raiders to midfield with a nice run after the catch.
The Raiders tied an NFL record 22 penalties in one game two plays later, and then broke the record with a 23rd penalty — not including a declined holding call on guard Gabe Jackson — with a block in the back flag thrown by Seth Roberts.
Roberts also caught the game winning touchdown on 4th down, with four yards to go for the conversion.
On a post route, with four other receivers lined up, Roberts grabbed the ball in between the hashes, broke a tackle, and ran for a 41 yard touchdown that put the day on ice.
The Raiders lost cornerback Sean Smith for the game after the first play of the day. Smith hit the turf while breaking up a pass completion, and did not return due to a shoulder injury sustained on the play.
The Raiders host the Broncos next week.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.