Sunday Final: Raiders clinch playoff berth; Extra Points from Week 15

December 19, 2016

NFL, Oakland Raiders

AP photo: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr addresses the media following the Raiders-San Diego Chargers game last Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

SAN DIEGO, Calif — For the first time since 2002, the Oakland Raiders have clinched a playoff spot after holding off the Chargers 19-16 on the road Sunday.

Even though the game was played at Qualcomm Stadium, it looked and sounded like the Black Hole of the Oakland Coliseum with the huge contingent of Raider Nation making the trip to SoCal.

Oakland took advantage of an injury-riddled Chargers team that played without star running back Melvin Gordon, who missed the game due to a hip injury.

Derek Carr, who played primarily out of the shotgun while dealing with a dislocated pinky on his throwing hand, completed just 19-of-30 passes for 213 yards and a 13-yard touchdown shortly before halftime that tied the game at 10-10.

Carr and the Raiders offense looked rather mortal against a stingy Chargers defense that forced two red zone turnovers in the first half, snapping a string of 62 straight trips into the red zone without committing a turnover. Oakland was just 1-for-7 in the red zone and had to rely on four field goals from veteran kicker Sebastian Janikowski to provide most of the scoring for the Silver and Black.

Michael Crabtree led Oakland with six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. It was the second straight game that Oakland’s receiver didn’t record more than 60 yards.

But the story for the Raiders was the defense’s play in the fourth quarter where Oakland forced two Chargers’ turnovers, including the playoff-clinching interception by safety Reggie Nelson on 4th and 15 on San Diego’s final possession thrown by Philip Rivers.

Linebacker Bruce Irvin registered two of Oakland’s three sacks, and forced one of two fumbles for the Silver Black. Fellow linebacker Khalil Mack saw his consecutive games with a sack snapped at eight games.

Outside of Rivers’ late turnover, the 13-year veteran quarterback from North Carolina State was having a strong day throwing the ball — completing 17-of-30 for 206 yards and two touchdowns.

Rivers got San Diego (5-9) on the board on their first possession of the game when he found wide receiver Travis Benjamin wide open down the field for a 47-yard touchdown, and a 7-yard strike to rookie tight end Hunter Henry in the third quarter that saw San Diego take a 16-13 lead (San Diego missed the extra point.)

For Oakland (11-3), the win is huge as they took sole possession of first place over Kansas City (10-4) in the AFC West with two games to go. The Chiefs were stunned at home 19-17 by the Tennessee Titans (8-6).

Oakland must finish ahead of Kansas City if they want to win the division since the Chiefs swept the season series between the two teams.

The Raiders host Indianapolis Saturday in the team’s final home game of the season Christmas Eve, while Kansas City host the reeling Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos (8-6) on Christmas night.

Denver fell to the AFC’s top team, the New England Patriots, 16-3 at home Sunday.

Extra Points from Week 15

  1. Colts running back Frank Gore passed Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett for 10th place on the NFL’s all-time list for most career yards from scrimmage (16,332) in Indianapolis’ hammering of the Vikings 34-6 in Minnesota. Gore, who also passed Dorsett to move into eighth place on the all-time rushing yards list in Week 13 against the New York Jets (12,789), added 101 yards to that total and is just 109 rushing yards away from his ninth 1,000-yard season in 12 seasons.
  2. Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (14,618) moved into seventh place on the NFL’s all-time receiving list in Baltimore’s 27-26 home win against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 37-year-old Smith Sr. moved ahead of Hall of Famer and former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison (14,580) on a 34-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
  3. New England (12-2) secured their eighth AFC East division title, and their seventh straight first round bye in the AFC playoffs Sunday and are currently the No. 1 seed.
  4. Jacksonville fired head coach Gus Bradley after the Jaguars dropped to 2-12 on the season. Bradley, who was 14-48 in this three-plus seasons in Northeast Florida, has a .226 winning percentage which ranks as the worst for any coach in the Super Bowl era among coaches with a minimum of 50 games. The Jaguars blew a 20-8 lead Sunday against their division rival Houston Texans and lost 21-20 for their 10th straight win in the AFC South.
  5. Speaking of Houston, the Texans have a quarterback controversy if they want to admit it or not. Incumbent starter Brock Osweiler, who signed a four-year $72 million contract ($37 million guaranteed) in the offseason, was benched after he started the game 6-of-11 for 48 yards with two interceptions, in favor of backup Tom Savage. The third-year pro from Pittsburgh went 23-of-36 passing for 260 yards, with no touchdowns and interceptions fueling Houston’s comeback.
  6. Dallas’ rookie duo of quarterback Dak Prescott (32-of-36 passing for 279 yards) and running back Ezekiel Elliott (23 carries, 159 yards, and 1 TD) helped the Cowboys (12-2) snap Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers’ five-game winning streak. The dangerous combo has the Cowboys closing in on the NFC’s No. 1 seed, and having the road to the Super Bowl going through Dallas. The loss hurts Tampa Bay (8-6), who trail the Atlanta Falcons (9-5) by one game in the NFC South with two games to go.





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