Raiders roar past Panthers behind 4th-quarter heroics

Make sure to consult your cardiologist before watching a Raiders football game.

Sunday afternoon in Oakland was a complete roller coaster for 60 minutes, and the Raiders (9-2) fought past a horrendous third quarter to beat the Carolina Panthers (4-7) 35-32.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Raiders locker room at the Oakland Coliseum.

Head coach Jack Del Rio said:

“The first half was really good. The third quarter was really tough and then we came back and finished and won the game. Really proud of our guys for keeping their poise and staying with it, and making enough plays today against a really good football team.”

After 25 straight points from Carolina to open the second half, the Raiders again needed heroics from Derek Carr in the fourth quarter, and the MVP candidate delivered once more.

RAIDERS 4-AND-OUT FROM JASON LESKIW: Derek Carr’s pinky is mightier than the sword.

With the Raiders down 32-24, Carr drove them 75 yards and capped the drive on a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clive Walford. After the score, the Raiders went for two and converted on a Carr pass to Roberts in the back of the end zone to tie the game at 32-32.

With 1:45 remaining in the game, Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 23-yard field goal to put the Raiders up for good 35-32.

Left tackle Donald Penn appreciated Carr’s grit in the game:

“You all know (Derek Carr), he’s a fighter, and in the second half he was a beast. I don’t know what you all are watching, but that dude is a beast.”

The Silver and Black looked completely dominant in the first half, and things couldn’t go smoother. They held Cam Newton to 18 yards passing, and the Panthers only had 89 total yards.

Khalil Mack closed out the first half with an interception returned for a touchdown and the Raiders were cruising 24-7.

Mack disengaged from guard Trai Turner on the play, and snatched the ball out of the air when Newton tried to hit running back Fozzy Whittaker on a screen pass.

Mack said:

“It was just instincts, knowing the situation that they switched the guard and tackle … I put my hands up, that’s what we’re taught to do.”

My-oh-my, did the third quarter get ugly quick, though.

On their first drive of the second half,  quarterback Derek Carr (26-for-38, 315 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and center Rodney Hudson had a terrible snap exchange, and the ball smashed into Carr’s right pinky finger. The Panthers recovered the fumble at the Raiders 30-yard line, and Carr ran off the field in serious pain.

Carr said:

“Something happened with the snap. To be honest I’ll have to watch the replay, I haven’t seen a replay of it. Something was different. Rodney (Hudson) and I put a lot of hard work into the quarterback-center exchange so nothing happens.”

The Panthers marched down the field and scored on a 1-yard run by running back Jonathan Stewart.

On the ensuing drive, the Raiders went three-and-out under backup quarterback Matt McGloin before punting the ball back to Carolina.

Cam Newton then more than quadrupled his passing yardage on one throw as he hit Ted Ginn Jr. over the middle of the field for an 88-yard score. Corner back TJ Carrie was roasted on the play, and the speedster Ginn had no trouble running past him.

The Panthers clawed their way back to 24-19 after failing to convert on a two-point conversion, but they weren’t done scoring in the third quarter.

They added their third touchdown of the quarter on a 3-yard run up the middle by Jonathan Stewart with 1:46 remaining, which put them up 25-24 after another failed two-point conversion. The Panthers scored off of the Raiders second turnover of the quarter, after Carr, who returned to the game, threw an ill-advised ball right into the arms of linebacker Thomas Davis.

Carr said:

Thomas Davis should be an All-Pro by the way, that was a heck of a play. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen on film in my life.”

Carolina tacked on another touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter on a 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, which put them up 32-24.

Down by three, the Panthers were able to drive to the Raiders 44 yard line with under two minutes, but Mack and Bruce Irvin put on the pressure. Mack strip sacked Newton on 4th-and-10 to seal the win.

Mack said:

“We needed a stop and that was the stop we needed.”

The win is Oakland’s fifth straight and guarantees their first winning season since 2002.

Carr said about the victory:

“Winning nine games and having a winning record for the first time in 14 years, I’m so happy for our fans. I know how much joy that brings to our city, how much life that brings to the city of Oakland, and that’s what I’m about.”