Raiders set to finish the 2018 season in KC on Sunday against the Chiefs

Photo credit:

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

The Oakland Raiders will finish up the 2018 regular season on the road this Sunday where they will take on their most bitter AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. This Week 17 matchup will be the 117th meeting between the two clubs, with the Chiefs holding a 62-52-2 advantage over the Silver and Black and are currently riding a two-game winning streak in the series.

Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m. PT from Arrowhead Stadium on CBS. Sunday’s contest will mark the fifth-straight season that the Raiders and Chiefs will conclude the regular season.

The Silver and Black finished out their 2018 home schedule in convincing fashion with a 27-14 win over another AFC West rival in the Denver Broncos on ESPN’s Monday Night Football in Week 16. With the idea that Monday night’s game could be the final home game ever for the Raiders in Oakland stuck in everyone’s mind, Raider Nation was treated to a much needed victory on Christmas Eve by its football team.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr extended his club-record streak of passes without an interception to 325, a mark that currently leads the NFL. His last interception came all the way back in Week 5 against the Chargers.

Carr completed 19-of-26 passes for just 167 yards against the Broncos, and is just 136 yards shy from his first career 4,000-yard passing season. For the season, Carr has thrown for 3,864 yards with 19 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.

Running back Doug Martin, an Oakland native, had his biggest game of the season in front of his hometown crowd carrying the ball 21 times for 107 yards and one touchdown. After Martin’s 24-yard run down the Raiders’ sideline that gave the Raiders a 14-0 lead, Martin threw up an “O” to the Oakland crowd.

Wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris provided the biggest play of the game, returning a punt 99 yards for the game’s first score in the first quarter. Harris’ punt return tied for the second-longest in NFL history with Patrick Peterson’s 99-yarder back in 2011. Robert Bailey has the NFL’s longest punt return, a 103-yarder set in 1994 per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Harris ran 157.5 yards on his touchdown return, the longest distance covered by any ball carrier in the last three season. The play earned Harris AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in 2018.

Defensively, the Raiders put the clamps on the Broncos in the first-half, forcing Denver to punt five times in six possessions. The Broncos missed a 58-yard field goal right before halftime, allowing the Raiders to carry a 17-0 lead into the locker room.

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 17-first-half points were the most by the Raiders since scoring 21 points in the first-half against the New York Jets in Week 2 of the 2017 season.

Broncos quarterback Case Keenum did throw two touchdowns to rookie wide receivers DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton, but also two interceptions to safeties Marcus Gilchrist and Erik Harris.

Both interceptions came in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory for Oakland, who improved to 4-11 on the season. In their last six games, the Raiders are 3-3.

Oakland surrendered just 202 yards on 23-of-37 passes, marking the 10th-straight game that the Raiders have held opposing quarterbacks to less than 300 yards passing. The last quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against the Silver and Black was Philip Rivers (339) for the Chargers in Week 5.

After starting the season 11-2, the Chiefs (11-4) have dropped back-to-back games in recent weeks.

Last week, the Chiefs traveled to Seattle and left with a 38-31 loss to the Seahawks on NBC’s Sunday Night Football from always noisy CenturyLink Field.

With a win over the Raiders Sunday, Kansas City will win the AFC West title for the second-straight season (their third division crown in four seasons), and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

In the first meeting of the year in Week 13, the Chiefs narrowly escaped the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with a 40-33 victory in what turned out to be an offensive explosion for both teams. Defense was an afterthought, with both offenses combining for 911 yards of total offense and scoring nine touchdowns.

Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdowns and no interceptions in the contest with 295 yards passing. Mahomes, who completed 23-of-38 passes, connected with tight end Travis Kelce for 12 receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

Not to be outdone, the duo of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and tight end Jared Cook were spectacular on that Sunday afternoon in the Black Hole too, with Carr completing 29-of-38 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

Cook hauled in seven of Carr’s passes for 100 yards and one touchdown in the game.

Raiders take down Broncos 27-14 in potential last game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND, Calif. — In what may or may not have been the final game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Raiders provided Raider Nation some much needed joy on Christmas Eve with a 27-14 win over their AFC West rival Denver Broncos on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Oakland (4-11) picked up their first division win of the season, the last team to win a game within their division. Additionally, the win snaps Oakland’s seven-game home losing streak on Monday Night Football, dating back to the 2002 season.

The Raiders are set to play in Las Vegas starting in 2020, but have no lease signed to play at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum for the 2019 season. The city of Oakland filed a lawsuit against the franchise contesting the move two weeks ago. The Silver and Black are looking into options for next season, including playing at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The NFL wants to have a resolution to the situation by early February, at the latest.

The franchise has called the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum home from 1966 through 1981, then in 1995 through now after spending 13 seasons in Los Angeles.Raiders quarterback Derek Carr finished 19-of-26 for 167 yards and most importantly, no interceptions in his last 325 passing attempts. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the third longest streak in NFL history by a quarterback.

Carr hasn’t thrown an interception in 10 games, dating back to Oct. 7 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Carr threw his eighth interception at the time into the waiting hands of linebacker Melvin Ingram in the end zone.

For the season, Carr has thrown 3,864 yards with 19 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. Carr needs just 136 yards in Oakland’s season finale against the Chiefs in Kansas City for his first 4,000-yard season.

The Raiders jumped on the board early and gave their fans something to cheer about, after punt returner Dwayne Harris returned a punt 99 yards for the game’s first score. The Broncos failed to down the football at the 1-yard line and Harris alertly picked up the football, juked a few defenders and raced down the Broncos’ sideline for the score.

The 99-yard punt return for the touchdown, was the second-longest in NFL history according to the Elias Sports Bureau, tied with Patrick Peterson’s 99-yarder in 2011, and trailing Robert Bailey’s 103-yarder in 1994.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Harris ran 157.5 yards on his touchdown return, the longest distance covered by any ball carrier in the past three seasons.

With Oakland native Marshawn Lynch lighting up the Al Davis Torch before the game, fellow running back Doug Martin ran all over the Broncos on Monday night, rushing for 107 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown.

Martin, who was born in Oakland, scored untouched on a 24-yard run before throwing up an “O” before Raider Nation to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.Oakland added a 43-yard field goal from rookie kicker Daniel Carlson to give the Raiders a 17-0 lead heading into halftime. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 17-first-half points were the most by the Raiders since scoring 21 points in the first-half against the New York Jets in Week 2 of the 2017 season.

When watching the first-half, it felt like Oakland was playing more inspired football than Denver, who appeared to be ready for Christmas morning rather than a football game against one of their greatest rivals.

In six first-half drives, the Broncos punted five times and missed a 58-yard field goal from kicker Brandon McManus as time expired for halftime. Denver’s offense was nonexistent for the majority of the contest as penalties crippled them throughout the night as the Broncos were called for 11 penalties racking up 91 yards.

That’s not a recipe for success in the NFL.The Broncos didn’t get on the board until midway in the third quarter when quarterback Case Keenum threw a pair of touchdowns to rookie wide receivers DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton.

Oakland would quickly respond, thanks to a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Jalen Richard, but Keenum’s two fourth quarter interceptions to Marcus Gilchrist and Erik Harris sealed the victory for the Raiders.

Keenum completed 23-of-37 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. Now at 6-9, the Broncos are assured of back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1971-72 which has put head coach Vance Joseph squarely on the hot seat.

Denver finished 5-11 last year in Joseph’s first season and entered this season with playoff aspirations, but have stumbled in 2018 and now have lost three-straight games following a 6-6 record.

Last week’s 17-16 loss at home to the Cleveland Browns eliminated the Broncos from postseason contention. Tonight’s performance by Denver could’ve possibly sealed Joseph’s fate, who is rumored to be fired at season’s end. The Broncos finish up the regular season against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17 in Denver.

Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the first half, joining Dominic Rhodes and LaGarrette Blount as the only undrafted rookies to rush for 1,000 yards in the Super Bowl era per the Elias Sports Bureau. Lindsay rushed for 46 yards before leaving the game with a right wrist injury and didn’t return.

With 1,037 rushing yards on the season, Lindsay needs just 68 yards to break Rhodes’ record (1,104) that was set in 2001 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

If this was the last game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for the Raiders, it was a fitting send off.

Not only did the Raiders defeat one of its biggest rivals in the Broncos, who came into the game with the most victories (22) by a visiting team per the Elias Sports Bureau, but Oakland made the game feel like a celebration rather than a funeral as some suggested.

The Raiders will wrap up the 2018 regular season in Kansas City against the Chiefs where Derek Carr will try to earn his first win at Arrowhead Stadium where he’s 0-4 lifetime.