A wet day in Buffalo started out well for the Raiders. They drove down the field on their opening drive to score a touchdown and take a 7-0 lead. It would be a while before they mounted another scoring drive.
On that first drive, Derek Carr would throw for Amari Cooper for 13 yards to convert on third and six. Later in the drive, Carr connected with Crabtree for 11 yards on third and 12. It put the Raiders in 4th and one at the Bills 45-yard-line. Jack Del Rio opted to go for it, handing it off to Jamize Olawale who fumbled the ball, but recovered it to get the first down.
Two consecutive 21-yard passes from Carr to Crabtree then Lee Smith put the Raiders in first and goal at the one-yard-line. They gave it back to Olawale who punched it in for the score.
The Bills would get the ball and put together a long drive of their own, converted two third downs along the way. Then setting up in third and 10, they appeared momentarily to have completed a pass to Jordan Matthews that would have given them the first down and put them in scoring position, but Matthews was flagged for offensive pass interference. A second look suggests it was probably not a good call as there was minimal contact and TJ Carrie simply slipped and fell.
The penalty would take them out of Oakland territory and eventually lead to a punt.
A 40-yard pass from Carr to Crabtree up the left sideline would put the Raiders in business at the Buffalo 42-yard-line. But a holding penalty on Kelechi Osemele would take them back in their own territory and the series fizzled out from there.
Early in the second quarter, the Bills went on another drive. On the second play, Zay Jones got open over the middle on Dexter McDonald to pick up 22 yards. A 14-yard LeSean McCoy run put them in first down at the Oakland 20. Then on third and 2, Tyrod Taylor connected with former Raiders receiver Andre Holmes for 9 yards to put the Bills in first and goal at the 3-yard-line. Two plays later, Taylor went back to Holmes in the left side of the end zone and he made a gorgeous leaning toe-tap touchdown.
The Raiders offense would get the ball back with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. They would be backed up at their own goal line thanks to a great punt. They would get out to the 28-yard-line when DeAndre Washington took a short pass over the middle turned up field only to have the ball punched out. It was launched in the air and caught by Matt Milano and returned for a touchdown to send the two teams to the locker room with the Bills up 14-7 at the half.
To being the third quarter, the Raiders defense stopped the Bills to force a punt. Jalen Richard fielded it, slipped down, was untouched, got up and fumbled the ball on the tackle. The defense would again do their part to hold the Bills to a field goal to make it a 17-7 game.
On the very next series, the Raiders quickly found themselves in third and nine. Carr threw for Crabtree over the middle, the ball was deflected and picked off by safety Micah Hyde, his league-leading 5th interception of the season. It was also the third takeaway by the Bills, their 16th of the season to give them a league-leading +13 turnover differential.
Meanwhile the Raiders are among the worst in the league in turnover ratio and still had not intercepted the ball this season – already an NFL record as of last week.
Late in the third quarter, the Bills went on another long drive. We began to see the story of the Raiders during their 4-game losing streak; an inept offense and a defense that steps up, but gets worn out.
Everything the Bills did on that late third quarter drive was working for them. And it was a back-breaker for the Raiders. They even converted a 3rd and 13 when Andre Holmes got a step on Dexter McDonald and fill-in rookie safety Shalom Luani didn’t come over to help out to give up a 36-yard catch. That put them at the 15-yard-line and they simply rode LeSean McCoy to one-yard-line. The defense took it to 4th and inches, but Tyrod Taylor stretched it over the goal line to take a 27-7 lead. This one looked to be over at that point.
The Raiders made it interesting, immediately, somehow going back to the air and moving the ball down the field the way they did in order to beat the Chiefs what seems like a month ago now, but was actually 10 days. They saw just one third down on the drive and picked it up on a 9-yard pass to Amari Cooper. A 17-yard pass from Carr to Cook put the Raiders in first and goal at the 4-yard-line and on the next play a dump over the middle to DeAndre Washington put them in the end zone.
The game was still a long way from being truly interesting, though, with the Raiders will down two scores 27-14.
Two third conversion on the Bills ensuing drive didn’t help, either. The Raiders needed to get the ball back quickly and the Bills were successfully bleeding the clock and driving again.
Still down two scores, the Raiders would get the ball back with five minutes remaining. Field goals wouldn’t cut it. Only two touchdowns would do it, with a defensive stop in between.
What would get is one series. Carr completed an 18-yard pass to Amari Cooper to put them near midfield and they would get no closer. Two incompletions led to 4th and 3 for the game and that pass too was wide of the mark, causing a turnover on downs.
With 3:21 remaining, the Bills got the ball and on the first play, gave it to LeSean McCoy and he put an exclamation point on it with a 48-yard touchdown run.
In his desperation attempt to come back, Carr threw his second interception at the goal line. Not that it mattered .
There was little of the Raiders that showed up big time against the Chiefs last Thursday. They returned to the team they were during their 4-game losing streak drop to 3-5 on the season. The Bills improve to 5-2, remaining undefeated (4-0) in Buffalo.
McCoy was averaging 3.4 yards per carry coming in. He had 27 rushes for 151 yards (5.6 ypc) and a touchdown. It’s similar to what he did to the Raiders last season when he had 17 carries for 130 yards (7.6 ypc). But the Raiders won that game on the strength of their own offense, rather than turning the ball over four times.