It looked like more of the same for the Las Vegas Raiders, until the very end.
Derek Carr threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams on the third play of sudden-death overtime and the Raiders escaped Empower Field at Mile High in Denver with a 22-16 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
“I’ve always loved those moments,” Carr told reporters after leading the Raiders to their first victory in seven games decided by one score this season.
“That’s what I dreamed of as a kid. Davante and I always talked about this when we were at Fresno State, to eventually do it in the NFL and today we did it.”
Said Adams, who ran off the field afterward with Carr: “It felt amazing. I did save Derek a little bit. He almost pulled us into the wrong tunnel. He was a little excited. ...
“ … I saw the ball go up in the air and really, it happens slowly, but it happens fast, too, if you know what I mean. There wasn’t really a whole lot of thinking. It was just lock in on the ball and make the play.”
Said Broncos Coach Nathaniel Hackett: “Somebody has to win,” but his team didn’t.
Carr is 8-2 in overtime games in his career, the best record by a quarterback with 10-plus games that went to extra time in NFL history. Tom Brady is second at 8-4.
The Raiders (3-6) snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time in six road games this season by beating the AFC West rival Broncos (3-6) for the sixth consecutive time as Carr pulled off the 32nd comeback victory in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career.
After the Raiders won the toss to start overtime and Brandon McManus of Denver kicked off into the end zone, the Broncos threw running back Josh Jacobs for a one-yards loss before Carr hit tight end Foster Moreau for 33 yards down the field and found Adams all alone down the left side for the game-winning score.
The Raiders never led in the game until then, as McManus kicked field goals of 48, 52 and 48 yards again, and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray scored on a one-yard run for Denver later in the first quarter.
Carr and the Raiders were playing catch-up from then on, but did pull even three times, the last when Carr hit Jacobs with a 43-yard pass with 32 seconds left in the game to the Denver seven-yard-line. After Carr threw three incomplete passes, Daniel Carlson kicked a 25-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the game to tie the score, 16-16, to force overtime.
The Raiders not only won the toss, but the game in rapid fashion in the extra period.
Carlson also kicked field goals of 52 and 57 yards, but had his streak of 41 kicks without a miss come to an end when he sent a 45-yarder wide to the right in the first quarter, when the Broncos built a 10-0 lead.
However, Carr drove the Raiders 75 yards on eight plays to get the Raiders on the scoreboard with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Adams with 5:36 left in the second quarter and Las Vegas kept it close at 10-7 when defensive end Maxx Crosby blocked McManus’ 25-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the half.
“If we don’t block that field goal, then we have to score a touchdown at the end of regulation, so I thought it was an enormous play,” Raiders Coach Josh McDaniels said. “I thought it definitely gave us a little bit of a boost there.”
Carlson’s 52-yard field goal with 10:37 left in the third quarter tied the score, 10-10, and the teams went back-and-forth until the Raiders came up with their magic in overtime.
Despite its record, Denver has one of the stingiest defenses in the National Football League and gave the Raiders problems for much of the game, but Carr completed 23-of-37 passes without an interception for 307 yards and two touchdowns thanks to those several big plays.
Adams, despite facing double and sometimes triple coverage, caught seven passes for 141 yards—his fourth game over 100 this season—while wide receiver Mack Hollins caught six balls for 52. Jacobs, in addition to helping the Raiders control the ball at key times by rushing for 109 yards on 24 carries, also caught three passes for 51 yards.
“I thought JJ hung in there, he had to be patient and grind out a few tough yards out there, but I thought he did a good job,” McDaniels said of Jacobs, who had his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season and has 821 yards overall.
“He took care of the ball again, which is always a good thing. He gave us an opportunity to use some play-action passes. A lot of credit should go to JJ and the running game.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson of the Broncos completed 24-of-31 passes for 247 yards without a touchdown or an interception, while wide receiver Courtland Sutton caught five passes for 80 yards and running back Melvin Gordon made five catches for 39 yards, and wide receiver Kendal Hinton had three for 57.
Murray led the Broncos with 49 yards on 17 carries, while Gordon carried eight times for 31 yards.
Crosby had another brilliant game to lead the Raiders defense, making six tackles including two for losses and had two of the Silver and Black’s three sacks of Wilson, three quarterback kicks and forced a fumble that probably forced the Broncos to attempt McManus’ field goal that was blocked at the end of the half because they play went for a five-yard loss.
Defensive tackle Andrew Billings led the Raiders with seven tackles, linebacker Denzel Perryman and defensive tackle Bilal Nichols each made six, while safety Roderic Teamer and cornerback Chris Jones both added five.
The Raiders’ offense, already playing without tight end Darren Waller (hamstring) and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (oblique), also played without their best offensive lineman, left tackle Kolton Miller, who missed the game because of shoulder and abdominal injuries.
The Silver and Black will be back on the road next Sunday to play the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field in Seattle, before returning home the following Sunday, Dec. 4, to take on AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
The Raiders' game on Sunday in Seattle and kicks off at 4:05 p.m. EST/1:05 p.m. PST. You can see that game on CBS.
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