The Raiders won. Then they lost. Then they won again. Thursday night’s game against the Chiefs ended. Then it ended again. It was a best-of-five series played in a matter of minutes. And it was a classic.
It's a good thing Marshawn Lynch stuck around to see the end of this one. Lynch was ejected in the first half Thursday night for running onto the field and making contact with an official during a melee—presumably in defense of Derek Carr and to restrain friend and fellow Oakland native Marcus Peters, K.C.'s star cornerback who had delivered a late hit on the Raiders QB. According to initial reports, Lynch had dressed and left the Oakland Coliseum before the end of halftime. Rather, he reportedly had slipped into the stands, where he got to watch one of the wildest finishes in recent memory, ending in a much-needed victory for his Raiders.
With Oakland trailing the Chiefs 30-24, Raiders tight end Jared Cook set off the final string of events with what was initially ruled a go-ahead (pending the PAT) touchdown catch with 18 seconds left. But upon review, Cook was ruled down just shy of the end zone, triggering a 10-second run-off that left just eight ticks on the clock. Michael Crabtree then appeared to catch a game-winner on the next play, but was called for offensive pass interference. The game was extended by Chiefs penalties on the next two plays. Crabtree, given a chance at redemption, finally ended the game, getting both knees down on a sliding catch in the front-left corner of the end zone before heaving the ball straight up in celebration. Giorgio Tavecchio's PAT won it for Oakland, 31-30. “This is one for the books,” Jim Nantz said on the call.
"That was crazy, man," running back Jalen Richard said afterwards. "To have those two plays with 0:00 left on the clock, the flags, the pass interference, to go back and forth . . . it's crazy. But to get the win, man, it's even better."
For much of the fourth quarter, the Raiders had seemed bereft of their 2016 magic. Two drops and a pair of OPI calls nearly doomed the final drive, but Carr (29-52, 417 yards, 3 TDs) kept making plays. Instead of falling four games behind the division-leading Chiefs (5-2), Oakland (3-4) is very much alive again. But this result felt bigger than that. After a week of owners meetings, political conversations and injury talk, it was a reminder of just how great—and crazy—football can be on any given night.
And how did Lynch celebrate the W? By getting on a packed BART car at the stadium, of course.
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1. Raiders 31, Chiefs 30. Though it may have been overshadowed by the wild finish, Amari Cooper had a long awaited return to greatness Thursday night, finishing with a career-high 210 yards and two scores on 11 receptions.
2. Some more anthem news and views. Steelers president Art Rooney II says it's time to move on from the debate over the protests while also discussing community work between Steelers players and local police that could get underway soon. In Dallas, Cowboys defensive linemen Damontre' Moore explained why he raised his fist at the end of the anthem Oct. 8 and why he doesn't plan to do so going forward.
3. I'm just going to share the headline for this one: "The guy who hiked with gorillas shows he's a pretty good Dolphins coordinator, too."
4. Titans tight end Phillip Supernaw doesn't just have a great name, he's got a great story too. After drifting apart for years from his country-music singing father, the two have begun reconnecting now that both of their professions have brought them to Nashville.
5. It might not have the shine of Rodgers-Brees, but Saints-Packers is still getting national buzz heading into Sunday. Bill Barnwell covered Drew Brees' underrated greatness, while Rob Demovsky wonders if Brett Hundley can replicate his past success. Oh, and there will be another QB in Green Bay: Bart Starr.
6. “I definitely believe I’ll play this year,” Teddy Bridgewater says. “I can’t just sit here and say it. I have to continue to put the work in on the field, on the practice field and show the training staff or higher authority I eventually can get back to the player I was.”
7. Let's get positive! Here's every team's most promising player.
9. The pressure is on Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian heading into a Super Bowl rematch after a gross second half for the Atlanta offense in a home loss to the Dolphins. Sark is hoping that sitting upstairs in a box during the game will help the offense going forward.
10. The fact that the Eagles won last week without Lane Johnson was a sign of how good they are this year, and the fact he's returning indicates how great they might be.
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Sky's out, thighs out mantra taking over Seattle (but how often are the skies out?)