The Oakland Raiders kicked the ball off to the Indianapolis Colts to begin this hugely important game where a win coupled with a Chiefs loss to the Broncos could clinch the AFC West and a first round bye for the Raiders. The Raiders defense came up with a big 3 and out to start the game. However, their offense wasn't that much better either with Michael Crabtree dropping a 3rd down pass early in their drive to force a punt as well.
On the first play of the Colts next drive there was a beautiful throw from QB Andrew Luck to their tight end Erik Swoope for a 45 yard gain up the sideline. The big play got the Colts into field goal range already after just one play but they didn't get much closer with Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards, Jr. (welcome back) stopping a scrambling Luck on 3rd down.
Indianapolis then appeared to line up for a 48 yard field goal attempt but actually was trying to catch the Raiders off guard with a fake attempt. Oakland was not having any of it and stopped the running punter Pat McAfee for a turnover on downs. Once again though the Raiders offense was not up to par, they went three and out with three straight passes. Raiders QB Derek Carr started the game just 1 of 7, with the 1 reception going to RB Latavius Murray and the 6 incomplete passes to receivers.
Oakland's defense continued to play well, and this time they were rewarded with a turnover. Nate Allen came up with an interception on a duck pass from Luck who was under pressure and the Raiders took over at their own 46. The turnover woke up the Raiders offense because they finally had a solid drive. It took 12 plays to go the 54 yards but they got their 7-0 lead over the Colts afterward. The 1-yard touchdown was on a pass to Andre Holmes, a great play call that saw Derek Carr under center for the first time since injuring his pinky in Week 12.
The Colts offense came back with a very quick response though to tie the game back up at 7. They went 75 yards in 8 plays and got their touchdown on a 24 yard pass to a completely wide open Donte Moncrief. Oakland's defense was a sieve on the entire drive, Andrew Luck went 3 for 3 passing on the drive and they also had several successful runs from RB's Robert Turbin and Frank Gore.
It looked like the Raiders might have another not great drive after 2 unsuccessful runs but then a perfect pass to Michael Crabtree on 3rd and 8 went for 35 yards down to the Colts 42. The next 3 plays were big gain runs from Jalen Richard who had runs of 9, 12 and 15 yards respectively. Then it was Derek Carr's turn again with a 5 yard pass for the touchdown to TE Clive Walford. Sebastian Janikowski missed the extra point wide left, a rarity for Jano who never misses extra points, so the Raiders lead was just 6 with the score being 13-7.
Indianapolis again was looking for a nice response to the Raiders score, they managed to drive down into field goal range before the wheels came off. On 1st down from the Oakland 29 it looked like Khalil Mack had Luck in his grasp when Luck managed to throw the ball to nobody and behind the line. The refs talked about it for a moment but inexplicably did not call Intentional Grounding. That's alright though because the Colts went deep the next play and Pro Bowl safety Reggie Nelson managed to intercept the ball in the end zone.
Again, the Raiders would capitalize on the turnover. This drive went 80 yards in 6 plays in less than a minute, another picture perfect drive before the end of the half. This drive featured a big 34 yard pass to Amari Cooper followed by an 18 yard pass play to RB DeAndre Washington. The touchdown play came two plays later on a 4-yard pass to Jalen Richard who had an outstanding half. Again though, Janikowski missed the extra point (this one was tipped though) so the score was 19-7 after the touchdown.
The Colts got the ball back with just 12 seconds left and decided to just kneel and head to the locker rooms. The Raiders lead 19-7 at the half and get the ball first in the 2nd half.