The cardiac kids were at it again.
The Oakland Raiders trailed 24-9 in the third quarter before surging back for 29 unanswered points to beat the Buffalo Bills 38-24 in a dominating comeback.
Head coach Jack Del Rio said:
“They gave us all we could handle early. Even early in the third quarter. Then it felt like all three phases kind of clicked and started coming together. We pulled away and took control of the game.”
Buffalo came out of the gates swinging in the second half, scoring two easy rushing touchdowns which put them up 24-9.
This year’s Raiders team doesn’t know how to quit, and they responded with force.
Two plays later, Carr threw another laser, this time a 19-yard pass to Michael Crabtree, which put the Raiders at the Bills 5-yard line.
On 3rd-and-goal, the Raiders (10-2) scored their first touchdown of the game when Carr lofted a ball into the back of the end zone to a streaking Crabtree, resulting in a 3-yard touchdown reception.
The Raiders tacked on another touchdown with 57 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Richard was big as a runner on the drive as well, when he bulldozed his way down to Buffalo’s 14-yard line for a 21-yard gain.
The Raiders trailed 24-23 after the touchdown, and then added another score on a 37-yard Amari Cooper reception early in the fourth quarter for their first lead at 30-24.
Carr said about the offensive turnaround in the third quarter:
“In our heads, on offense, we said ‘We are shooting ourselves in the foot.’ We feel like we can move the ball, we feel like we can make all the plays. We expect to go out there and score points.”
A Nate Allen interception with 10:45 left in the fourth quarter, which put the Raiders at Buffalo’s 16-yard line, was too back-breaking for the Bills (6-6) to overcome.
The Raiders defense was shaky for the first part of the game, especially after they allowed Buffalo to score on two plays to start the second half. But after running back Mike Gillislee‘s score with 9:01 left in the third quarter, the Raiders defense didn’t allow a Buffalo first down until 7:43 in the fourth quarter.
Defensive end Khalil Mack received chants of “MVP” from the Oakland crowd in the second half after his strip sack of Tyrod Taylor late in the fourth quarter.
“We knew we had to get those defensive stops and stay disciplined in our game plan. We did that and we shut them down well in the (second) half.”
He downplayed the MVP chants he received, jokingly saying the chants must have been for the 2015-16 NBA MVP:
“Was Steph Curry here? Man, I just got to keep balling out there and make plays.”
Taylor (17-for-35, 191 yards, 1 INT) was an efficient 6-for-7 for 75 yards on his first drive, but after that, the Raiders corners blanketed the Bills receivers.
Corner back DJ Hayden was placed on season ending Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury earlier this week, but TJ Carrie stepped in and played admirably. He was matched up with Bills star receiver Sammy Watkins quite a bit, and he consistently closed on the ball and forced a slew of incompletions.
The Raiders currently hold the division lead, though left tackle Donald Penn said he’s not yet satisfied:
“I’m going to pinch myself when the Raiders clinch a playoff spot. I’m not pinching myself yet, because everyone is making it hard on us. We have to keep going out there and winning, and take care of business. Playoffs is our mission.”
The win is the Raiders sixth straight of the season. They next face the Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) Thursday night for AFC West supremacy.