These Raiders, I tell you! They are going to give someone a heart attack with their come from behind victories. There is a very legitimate reason that the nickname "Carrdiac Kids" has been being used for this team throughout this incredible season. Their comeback wins and never say never attitude has earned that nickname.
When the game is on the line though they are just simply out willing their opponents to victory. It is so awesome to watch because it is what they were always famous for before the dark days hit. The Raiders were the team that cared more, that tried harder, that never gave up and always did whatever they had to do to get the win.
This team has that grit back, they have their mystique back. It was missing for 14 years, but that streak is officially over. The Raiders finally got their magic back and with it ended their 14 year non-winning season drought in the process. Grown “manly men” weeping their eyes out is not hyperbole, Raiders fans across the nation were bawling their eyes out with joy to finally have another winning season.
It's almost a good thing that this game was so dramatic considering that it ended the most dramatic streak in the history of the Raiders franchise. Almost. It would have been better to see the Raiders continue their dismantling of the Carolina Panthers that the first half was when they led 24-7, but coming back like they did was pretty awesome to watch too.
This 35-32 win for the Raiders really showed the value of Derek Carr though. Oakland had all of the momentum before he hurt his pinky finger, and then as soon as the nasty "jammed finger" happened everything fell apart. It all fell apart like it did because Derek Carr is truly the heart and soul of this team, he is their all out leader unlike any player Oakland has had in more than a decade.
His injury happened and then boom, 25 unanswered points by the Panthers. To win a game where they lost any semblance of control like this is another unbelievable win for this team in 2016. They completely and unequivocally lost their shit in this game and still ended up regrouping to score 11 unanswered of their own for the win.
That is an epic, although preferably avoided in the future, win. The toughness of Derek Carr to play through that pinky injury and play extremely well through it was truly something to behold. There are a lot of people that are reminded of Brett Favre when watching Carr play and it's not just the same number 4 that reminds them. It's playing through injuries like this with childlike enthusiasm where the comparisons really ring true.
In all this glory talk for Derek Carr, one can not forget about the contributions of the other super power on this Raiders team. Khalil Mack put himself squarely into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation with his performance yesterday. He had a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown all in this one game.
He is the first person to do it since the great Charles Woodson did it in 2009 and surely is on a short list of players who have ever accomplished that feat. It's on par with his 5 sack performance last year against Denver as far as amazing accomplishments go. What more are we able to say about this guy? He might finish his career being the best defensive player in Raiders history which is as big of a compliment as you can give someone in the Silver and Black.
Besides Khalil Mack there also was another awesome performance from Bruce Irvin on the other side of him. Irvin also registered a sack in this game but his impact goes far beyond that. The tandem of Mack and Irvin is already great, just imagine if they can get Aldon Smith back to add to that group.
Back to the offense, Seth Roberts and Michael Crabtree both were huge in this game. Michael Crabtree had been off the past couple of weeks and made it a point to be important this week and he accomplished that with flying colors. His two catches on the Raiders game winning drive were both unbelievable, especially his 49 yard reception on 3rd and 9 early in the drive.
Having a slot receiver of Seth Roberts' quality can not be understated though. He is a small, shifty receiver who knows how to use his quickness and is willing to take on contact. Roberts' jumping touchdown reception in the first quarter showed his willingness to give up his body for the team, but it was his 2 point conversion catch that really astounded. How he held on while being sandwiched between two defenders I still don't know.
This game really showed how incredibly resilient the Raiders are this year and was truly a game to remember. Now they get to take on the Buffalo Bills who have been a thorn in the Raiders side in a game where the Bills are under the gun to win. They are 1 game behind the Dolphins who hold the final wildcard spot currently and are in must win mode to have a chance at the playoffs.
The Raiders can not afford a let down against a quality team like the Bills if they expect to win the AFC West this year. Plus they have the Kansas City game following this one against Buffalo so they really do not want to go into KC after a home loss. That makes this game against Buffalo that much more important to win.
With how great this team is playing right now it's hard to picture them getting sucked into a situation where they are looking too far ahead though. The fans can look as far ahead as we want but the Raiders will surely be doing their job and concentrating on the task at hand. That task is beating the Buffalo Bills this upcoming Sunday at the O.Co.