OAKLAND-Heartfelt and sweet are words one never uses describing the Black hole or Raider fans: yet those emotions bubbled to the surface on Thursday night, as David Carr led the Silver and Black on a game winning drive over the fierce AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers,26-24.
“I love this place,” Gruden exclaimed just before leaving the decidedly non-plush home locker room following his team’s 26-24 crucial victory.. “I’ve got a lot of love for the fans here, for this city. It’s why I came back .”
In what was probably the final night game the Oakland Raiders will ever play in the city, before moving to Las Vegas. 51,194 die hard fans witnessed a hard fought battle between two foes fighting for a playoff spot. With 3:57 remaining in the game, Raiders quarterback David Carr engineered his 18th fourth quarter comeback behind a staunch, aggressive offensive line.
On 3rd and 1 from the Chargers 18-yard line, Raiders rookie phenom RB Brandon Jacobs took the hand off, darting to the end zone for the games final touchdown. Reminiscent of a Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson touchdown, Jacobs has already surpassed every Raiders rookie record at running back thus far.
The term must win is used far too often, however, for these classic AFC West teams, it was the cold hard truth. It was a major setback for the Chargers, coming off a dominant performance this past Sunday, pummeling Aaron Rodgers and the visiting Green Bay Packers, 26-11 at the StubHub Center in Carson. The heartbreaking loss erases their two game winning streak, with the Chargers falling to (4-6).
As for the Raiders, the last minute win puts them at (5-4), only one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. Furthermore, next week the inferior, winless Cincinnati Bengals visit, meaning the Raiders have a realistic shot at reaching the AFC playoffs, a first since the 2016 season.
Despite Rivers struggles, he still put the Bolts up 24-20 with 4:02 remaining, throwing a six yard touchdown pass to Running Back Austin Ekeler.
Living up to his nickname, the Carr Insurance Co. led the Raiders, going 21 of 31 for a touchdown with no interceptions. Marching down the field for the decisive touchdown, unfortunately a missed PAT left the score at 26-24. This left the window cracked for the Chargers to steal the game with a last second field goal.
The night belonged to the Raiders defense. Chargers Quarterback Phillip Rivers threw three costly interceptions, including two to Safety Erik Harris. His second pick was returned to the house for a Raiders touchdown. I call the play a, “SIX-erception”(patent pending)!
On the final drive, the Chargers had nothing left in the tank. Rivers facing unrelenting pressure, hoisted up wobbling duck on fourth down which resulted in a Raiders interception. GAME OVER!
“It’s unbelievable,” Carr said of the Coliseum in his postgame press conference. “I love this place. It’s special … The smells, the atmosphere, the noises, the things you can hear, those are memories you keep forever.”