Raiders finish season with big win over Broncos, 32-31

Photo: Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders

By Shawn McCullough

The Raiders needed a late touchdown drive and a two point conversion to beat the Broncos, 32-31, in Denver.

Down 31-24, Las Vegas drove 77 yards on seven plays ending in a one yard rushing touchdown by Josh Jacobs with 24 seconds left in the game. 

Instead of kicking the extra point to likely send the game to overtime, the Raiders went for a two-point conversion as Derek Carr hit Darren Waller to win the game.

“When we get down there and score the touchdown by Josh, we knew what we were going to do,” said Carr. “You couldn’t draw it up any better.”

Carr finished the game throwing for 371 yards and two touchdowns, one each to Darren Waller and Bryan Edwards.

“I am just glad that we won the football game,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “But more than anything, I am really proud of our team. We battled our brains out as much as we could.”

With the win, the Raiders finished the season 8-8, their best season since going 12-4 in 2016.

“We may have not been perfect, we may not have won 10 games this year, we may not have been in the playoffs, but there is something about this group,” said Carr. “Just the kind of character is why I feel it’s different [this season] .”

“We wanted to finish the year the right way and just come out and play our best football,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs finished the game rushing 15 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

The Raiders finished the season 4-2 in the AFC West.

“We’re really a couple of plays away from winning every game in the division,” said Gruden.  “So we made some progress, but we still have some long strides to make.”

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders outgained the Broncos, 465-446.
  • Darren Waller finished the game catching nine balls for 117 yards and a touchdown.
  • After starting the season 6-3, the Raiders lost 5 of their last 7 games.

Raiders lose late, eliminated from playoffs by Dolphins, 26-25


By Shawn McCullough

The Raiders slim playoff chances officially ended in a heartbreaking loss.

Miami Dolphins’ kicker Jason Sanders nailed a 44 yard field goal with six seconds left to beat the Raiders, 26-25, at Allegiant Stadium.

“Terrible way to lose a game,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “I really admire the way we compete, but until we start closing out games, we will continue to be disappointed.”

“To watch it go like that, I am sick for our organization, I am sick for our defense, I am sick for our team,” said quarterback Derek Carr. “My heart feels for them, my heart feels for our fans”.

Down 23-22, the Raiders purposely did not score a touchdown to milk as much time off the clock as possible and later kicked a 22 yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining to take the lead, 25-23.

The ensuing kickoff went into the end zone and the Dolphins got the ball at the 25 yard line still with 23 second remaining and no timeouts.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a long sideline pass to tight end Mack Hollins for 34 yards to the Raiders 41 yard line, but defensive end Arden Key was also flagged for a personal foul for hitting Fitzpatrick in the facemask which took the ball to the Raiders 26 yard line.

The Dolphins later kicked the game winner.

“It’s all about execution,” said linebacker Raekwon McMillan about that Dolphins final drive. “We can’t put ourselves in that situation.  We have to finish strong.”

Carr threw for 336 yards and an 85 yard touchdown to wide receiver Nelson Agholor late in the 4th quarter.  Agholor finished catching five balls for 155 yards and the touchdown.

With the loss, the Raiders fell to 7-8 on the season and are now officially eliminated from playoff contention.

“We just need to always remember that playing football is fun,” said tight end Darren Waller. “We have one more opportunity to do that”.

The Raiders will finish off the 2020 season on Sunday against the Broncos in Denver.

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders outgained the Dolphins, 418-383.
  • Tight end Darren Waller finished the game catching five balls for 112 yards.
  • The Dolphins will clinch a playoff berth with a win on Sunday in Buffalo against the Bills.

Raiders season in jeopardy with 30-27 overtime loss to Chargers


By Shawn McCullough

The Raiders playoff hopes got severely damaged as they fell to the Los Angeles Chargers, 30-27, in overtime at Allegiant Stadium.

“It’s really painful right now to lose,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “We had a lot of tight games go down to the buzzer and this one was tough.”

Las Vegas drove the field in overtime for a 23 yard field goal by Daniel Carlson to put the Raiders up 27-24, but the Chargers responded driving 75 yards for a game winning touchdown.

The Raiders lost starting quarterback Derek Carr to a groin injury in the first quarter, allowing backup Marcus Mariota to take over.

“Marcus came in and did a great job,” said Gruden. “I am really proud of him and I think that kind of puts an exclamation point on why we signed him and just wish we could have won the game for him.”

Mariota was impressive throwing for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception while rushing nine times for 88 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s part of your job to be prepared,” said Mariota. “Just trying to give these guys a chance to win, but unfortunately, we came up a little short.”

Carr pulled his groin on a rollout play at the goal line in the first quarter.

“I don’t believe if it’s a real tear,” said Gruden about Carr’s injury. “But for him to not come back to the game, it’s got to be significant.”

Carr went 3 for 5 for 53 yards.

Running back Josh Jacobs rushed 26 times for 76 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter.

With the loss, the Raiders fall to 7-7 on the season and are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but need a lot of help.

“Obvious that’s frustrating,” said Jacobs. “Trying to go on a journey of where we envision ourselves each year at the start of the year of what we want to accomplish and obviously that’s frustrating.”

“It sucks,” said tight end Darren Waller. “The results haven’t been what we wanted them to be.”

The Raiders will next play the Miami Dolphins at home the day after Christmas.

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders outgained the Chargers, 449-402.
  • Darren Waller led the Raiders catching nine balls for 150 yards and one touchdown.
  • The Chargers snapped a nine game losing streak against AFC West opponents.


Raiders defense struggles in loss to Colts, 44-27

Photo: Indianapolis Colts

By Shawn McCullough

The Raiders defense gave up 212 yards on the ground as the Indianapolis Colts rolled to a 44-27 win over Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium.

It wasn’t good enough today,” said head coach Jon Gruden.  “Defensively we had no answer. You can’t give up that many yards rushing and not get to the quarterback and then lose the turnover margin and expect to win in this league.”

Colts running back Jonathan Taylor ran 20 times for 150 yard and two touchdowns, including a 62 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr finished with 316 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“My job is to take care of the football and my job is to move the team down the field and score touchdowns and I didn’t do that good enough today,” said Carr.

Carr hit tight end Foster Moreau for a 47 yard touchdown in the first quarter, while connecting with wide receiver Nelson Agholor for a 21 yard score in the second quarter.

“This game is going to have a short shelf-life for us,” said Moreau. “Everyone is going to watch the film and we are going to need to make corrections, but we don’t have much time to harp on our mistakes, because we have to play a good Chargers team on Thursday.”

With the loss, the Raiders fell to 7-6 on the season heading into their next game on Thursday night at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders were outgained by the Colts, 456-424.
  • Running back Josh Jacobs returned from injury, rushing 13 times for 49 yards.
  • The Raiders turned the ball over three times, to Indianapolis’ zero.

Raiders need miracle touchdown to beat winless Jets, 31-28

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 06: Henry Ruggs III #11 of the Las Vegas Raiders catches a touchdown pass to win the game as Lamar Jackson #38 of the New York Jets gives chase during the second half at MetLife Stadium on December 06, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

By Shawn McCullough

The Raiders saved their best for last.

Trailing 28-24, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hit wide receiver Henry Ruggs down the left sideline for a 46 yard touchdown with just five seconds left to lift Las Vegas over the New York Jets, 31-28, at the Meadowlands.

“We knew that we needed a play and coach dialed up the double move,” said Ruggs. “I got the DB to flip his hips and once I looked back, I felt like the ball was in the air forever.”

“We put ourselves in position,” said Carr. “I couldn’t believe that they all out blitzed us, but I was thankful.”

Carr finished the game throwing for 381 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Tight end Darren Waller had a career game catching 13 balls for 200 yards and two touchdowns.

“There was a lot of man to man coverage out there,” said Waller. “I try to win every single matchup when I go out there.”

“He is special,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “A lot of guys can’t even dream of doing what Darren Waller can do.”

Devontae Booker filled in for injured running back Josh Jacobs and ran 16 times for 50 yards.

With the win, the Raiders improved to 7-5 on the season.

“It will teach you as a Raider to never quit,” said Gruden. “It’s critical that we can go on the road after a humiliating loss to come from behind in a dramatic way and win.”

The Raiders will next return home to face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday with four games remaining in the regular season.

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders racked up 440 yards of total offense.
  • QB Derek Carr has set a new NFL record for most fourth-quarter comebacks in league history through a player’s first seven seasons (20).
  • The Raiders gave up 206 rushing yards to the Jets.

Raiders get “Punched in the Face”, blown out by Falcons, 43-6

Atlanta Falcons defensive back Darqueze Dennard #34 breaks up a pass intended for Las Vegas tight end Darren Waller #83 during the first quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders on November 29, 2020. (Photo: Atlanta Falcons)

By Shawn McCullough

“We got punched in the face,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

Coming off a narrow defeat to the Chiefs last week, the Raiders didn’t show up in Atlanta in a 43-6 drubbing to the Falcons.

“Our fans deserve better than what we did today,” said Carr. “Our organization deserves better than what we put out there today.  That was a bunch of trash.”

The Raiders turned the ball over five times including four fumbles and a 67 yard interception for a touchdown.  In addition, Las Vegas was penalized 11 times for 141 yards.

“When you turn the ball over 5 times and have 141 yards of penalties, you have no chance,” said head coach Jon Gruden.

The Raiders were flat the entire game and Carr felt that coming throughout the week.

“I didn’t think that we had our best week of practice,” said Carr. “Anytime that you turn the ball over like that, you’re not going to win football games.”

Carr went 22 for 34 for 215 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.

“It’s a gut punch for sure,” said Carr.

The Raiders only points came off the foot of kicker Daniel Carlson, who booted a 29 yard field goal in the 2nd quarter and a 24 yarder in the 3rd.

Running back Josh Jacobs was held to just seven carries for 27 yards, while hunter Renfrow led the Raiders catching seven balls for 73 yards.

With the loss, the Raiders fell to 6-5 on the season.

“We do a really good job of washing stuff away, win or lose,” said Carr about the loss.

The Raiders will next travel to New Jersey to face the New York Jets on Sunday.

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders were outgained by the Falcons in total yards, 304-243.
  • Las Vegas had only 13 first downs in the game.
  • The Raiders have now lost two straight games.

Raiders fall late to Chiefs, 35-31

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

By Shawn McCullough

The Raiders were 28 seconds away from sweeping the defending Super Bowl champions in the season series, but couldn’t hold on.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes hit tight end Travis Kelce for a 22 yard touchdown with 28 seconds left in the game to hand the Raiders a 35-31 loss at Allegiant Stadium.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our football team,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “I wouldn’t trade any of our players for anybody.”

Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr was masterful throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns including a 4th quarter drive to take the lead late, resulting in a one yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten.

“I felt like we were running efficiently and we were hitting some big plays in the passing game, but it just stinks, man, it wasn’t enough,” said Carr.

“We really feel like we can play with anybody,” said Witten. “That’s the type of team that we expect to have.”

Tight end Derek Waller led the Raiders catching seven balls for 88 yards, including a three yard touchdown catch in the 4th quarter.

“It’s tough,” said Waller. “Losing in any form or fashion is not fun whatsoever, especially like that.”

Running back Josh Jacobs rushed 17 times for 55 yards and scored the first points of the game on a two yard touchdown run.

With the loss, the Raiders fell to 6-4 on the season heading into their next game in Atlanta against the Falcons on Sunday.

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders were outgained by the Chiefs in total yards, 460-364.
  • The Chiefs executed 36 first downs.
  • The Raiders fell to 2-3 at home at Allegiant Stadium.

Raiders making waves in AFC West, beat up Broncos, 37-12

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after running back Devontae Booker (23) scored a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

By Shawn McCullough

Before last week’s Chargers game, head coach Jon Gruden said that the next three games against AFC West opponents would be a crucial stretch.  Well, the Raiders are delivering.

The Raiders improved to 3-0 in the division with a 37-12 win over the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium.

“To put 37 points up, I am excited with how we won the game,” said quarterback Derek Carr. “We are proving that we can win in any type of way, which is great.”

Carr went 16 for 25 and threw for just 154 yards and no touchdowns.

The defense held the Broncos to 66 total rushing yards and forced four Drew Lock interceptions.

“If we can get turnovers the way that we did today on defense, it will bode well for us in the future and making a run at what we really want to do,” said Carr.

Josh Jacobs led the Raiders, rushing 21 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns, while Devontae Booker rushed 16 times for 81 yards and also two touchdowns.

“The game starts with the run and ends with the run,” said Jacobs. “It’s good to see that we put our dominance on the game.”

Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson booted three field goals, one each from 22 yards, 24 yards and 52 yards.

With the win, the Raiders improved to 6-3 on the season heading into their next game at home against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

“6-3 and 3-0 in the division is a big deal,” said Carr. “But the division still goes through Kansas City and we get them next week.”

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders outgained the Broncos in total yards, 357-313.
  • Las Vegas forced five Denver turnovers.
  • Raiders’ safety Jeff Heath came up with two big interceptions.

Raiders hang on to beat Chargers in Los Angeles, 31-26

Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr. tries to haul in the game-winning touchdown pass in front of Raiders cornerback Isaiah Johnson at the end of regulation on Sunday. The play was initially ruled a catch before the call was reversed on review. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

By Shawn McCullough

The Raiders started an important three game stretch against AFC West opponents on a high note.

The defense came up with a huge stop to end the game in a 31-26 win over the Chargers in Los Angeles.

With one second left in the game, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert’s 4-yard pass to Donald Parham Jr. was ruled a touchdown, but was reviewed and later ruled broken up by cornerback Isaiah Johnson to secure the win.

“Whenever we pull something out like that, it is so good for the team,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr threw for 165 yards and two touchdowns, one each to Nelson Agholor and Darren Waller.

“Our defense got the one big stop that won us this game,” said head coach Jon Gruden.

Running back Josh Jacobs rushed 14 times for 65 yards and a touchdown, while Devontae Booker added a 23 yard touchdown run.

“I’m definitely proud of the team for how we fought and finished at the end,” said Jacobs.

With the win, the Raiders improved to 5-3 on the season heading into their next game at home against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Raiders will then face the Kansas City Chiefs at home the following Sunday.

“We are happy to win,” said Gruden. “We are just thrilled to win a game like that, it shows a lot of character.”

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders were outgained by the Chargers in total yards, 440-320.
  • Las Vegas had just two penalties for 10 yards.
  • The Raiders have now won three of their last four games.

Raiders win defensive battle over Browns in winter weather, 16-6

Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson (2) watches the ball after kicking a 24-yard field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Cleveland. The Raiders won 16-6. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

By Shawn McCullough

Las Vegas has now experienced a typical cold November day in Cleveland.

In wind, rain, sleet and snow, the Raiders defense held the Cleveland Browns to just 223 total yards as Las Vegas escaped with a 16-6 win in Cleveland.

“We will take any win that we can get,” said head coach Jon Gruden.

Raiders’ kicker Daniel Carlson nailed three field goals from 29, 33 and 24 yards despite the bad weather.

“Probably the windiest game that I have ever played in,” said Carlson. “I had some good operation, good holds, good protection and got some points on the board the rest of the game.”

“Credit to Carlson for being able to kick the ball and make some field goals,” said Gruden. “It was a real obstacle for the kickers.”

The lone Raiders touchdown came on a four yard pass from quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.

“I thought that I got my hands underneath it,” said Renfrow. “It turned a little bit at the end, but it was a touchdown and it was good times.”

Carr finished the game going 15 for 24 for 112 yards and one touchdown.

“Whenever you are able to do it the way we did it, everyone has to deal with the conditions, but a team that comes from Las Vegas, the desert, and gets a win, that’s a good feeling especially on the road,” said Carr.

Running back Josh Jacobs led the Raiders on the ground rushing 31 times for 128 yards.

With the win, the Raiders improved to 4-3 heading into their next game on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Chargers.

Game Notes:

  • The Raiders outgained the Browns in total yards, 309-223.
  • Tight end Darren Waller led the Raiders with only 28 yards receiving.
  • Nine different Raiders players caught at least one ball from QB Derek Carr.
  • The Raiders have now won two of their last three games.