AP photo: Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) and running back Jalen Richard (30) jump for joy after Cooper scores touchdown in the second half at the Oakland Coliseum Sunday against the Buffalo Bills
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
OAKLAND, Calif — The Silver and Black found themselves down early, out of sync on offense, but found a way to erase a 24-9 deficit in the second half to pull away from the visiting Buffalo Bills, 38-24, Sunday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.
Now at 10-2, Oakland remains one game in front of the 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs ahead of this week’s showdown for AFC West supremacy on Thursday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Kansas City squeaked by the Falcons 29-28 in Atlanta earlier in the day.
Oakland scored 29 unanswered points in the second half and forced two turnovers created by the havoc-wreaking Khalil Mack that dashed any hopes of a Buffalo victory.
Derek Carr completed 19-of-35 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Raiders to their sixth straight win.
Carr tossed a 3-yard score to wide receiver Michael Crabtree to cut Buffalo’s lead to 24-16 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
Then at the start of the fourth quarter, Carr hooked up with wide receiver Amari Cooper, who beat rookie cornerback Kevon Seymour with a double-move, up the Bills’ sideline for a 37-yard touchdown catch that got Oakland within a point, 24-23.
Crabtree led the Raiders with seven catches for 74 yards (11 targets) and a touchdown, while Cooper hauled in two catches for 59 yards and a score.
The 22-year-old Cooper became just the seventh player 22-years-old or younger in NFL history to record 2,000 yards receiving within his first two years in the league.
Running back Latavius Murray finished with 82 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Murray’s 11 rushing touchdowns is second only to Dallas rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot’s 12 among all running backs.
Murray also became the first Raiders running back to score 10+ rushing touchdowns in a season since LaMont Jordan accomplished that feat in 2005 when Jordan had 10.
But Buffalo jumped out early on Oakland, scoring on their first two drives of the game to claim a 10-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to Buffalo’s sound running game and an intermediate passing attack.
LeSean McCoy gashed Oakland’s defense for 130 yards on 17 carries while dealing with cramps in the second half for Buffalo, and fellow running back Mike Gillislee scored two touchdowns on eight carries for 49 yards.
Buffalo (6-6) took it to Oakland on their opening drive of the second half for 66 yards on two running plays that set up their second touchdown of the game. McCoy darted up the middle of Oakland’s defense for a 54-yard run followed by quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s 12-yard scamper that gave Buffalo a 17-9 lead.
Taylor completed 18-of-35 passes for 191 yards and one interception and McCoy led all Bills with seven catches for 61 yards.
But when Oakland’s defense needed a play, it appeared that Mack would be the one who would make it for the Silver and Black.
Mack tipped a Taylor pass at the line of scrimmage that was intercepted by safety Nate Allen, then Mack sealed the game with strip-sack and fumble recovery on the final play.
The Raiders stellar defensive end recorded a sack for the seventh consecutive week, the longest active streak in the league this season. No other player has more sacks than Mack during that span.