What was an exciting game to watch live was absolutely bananas upon second viewing. There was a whole lotta offense and a whole lotta turnovers. Back and forth, up and down the rollercoaster with the Raiders seemingly flatlining several times only to be brought back to life.
The Raiders were leading 7-4 after one only to lose the lead early in the second. They would remain trailing through three quarters then take back the lead 31-28 early in the fourth. They would extend their lead to 34-28 only to lose it and then see their deficit grow to 42-34 with 4:20 left in the game.
A drive that was stopped at the 9-yard-line with a turnover on downs seemed like the lynchpin. As did a run by Carlos Hyde on the ensuing Browns drive that was initially ruled a first down but overturned on review, forcing a punt and giving the Raiders 1:28 left to drive for a score and a 2-point conversion to tie it. That’s just what they did and sent the game to overtime where they would eventually win on a short field goal.
Putting together a list of Ballers and Busters can be difficult in games like this. The heroes all had their moments in which they looked like they would be the goat and the goats all had their moments of triumph. In times like this, it’s important to have a process and sticking with it to limit the amount of uncertainty. I try to do just that in this week’s B&B.
Speaking of Lynchpins, Beastmode offered one in overtime, breaking several tackles and fighting for extra yards to give the Raiders a first down at the 14-yard-line and set them up for a short field goal to win it.
Marshawn played the hero well before that though. He had a 12-yard run and a 17-yard catch and run on the Raiders first scoring drive. Late in the third quarter he took a pitch and broke off 52 yards up the left sideline. He might have had another big play like that in the game had the officials not blown the play dead while he was still breaking tackles. Even without the potential yards from the play, Marshawn would lead the team with 157 yards from scrimmage including 20 rushes for 130 yards (6.5 ypc).
This is to say nothing of his blitz pickups to open up the passing game. I’ll let Brian Baldinger tell it.
.@Raiders @MoneyLynch put on a great show Sunday in OT thriller . His blitz pickups were a clinic . If his passion and play aren’t contagious then there is no such thing. If the other 52 play this hard; the Raiders have a lot of life left. #BaldyBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/EkEwGZBy9B— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 3, 2018
Derek Carr, Jared Cook, Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson
Derek Carr had plenty of mistakes in this game, some of which cost the Raiders dearly and were a major factor in them being in the hole they were in. But in the end, he would slice through a beaten up Browns secondary to pull out the win.
The game began with two three-and-outs. The second of those, saw Carr badly underthrow Jordy Nelson who had a step on his defender and plenty of open field in which to run. The pass hit Nelson’s ankle and instead of a huge gain, the drive ended. Things would get better.
On the following drive, he found Coop twice for gains of 14 yards and 15 yards on third down and Cook for 12 yards to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt which the rookie newcomer would miss wide left.
Midway through the second quarter saw the Raiders’ first scoring drive. On the third play, Martavis Bryant would get wide open and Derek Carr would throw it for him in the end zone. Carr put some air under it to ensure he didn’t overthrow Bryant and when the speedy receiver slowed up to get it, he misjudged it and it fell incomplete.
That play must be noted because the response was crucial to the success of this team. Instead of letting the missed opportunity do them in, they mounted a touchdown drive anyway. A couple short completions and a short run set up the Raiders at the 8-yard-line and Carr threw a bullet to Coop for the touchdown.
With the Raiders down 17-14, Carr would go on another drive which included a 16-yard pass to Cook and a 10-yard completion to Nelson. But ultimately it would end with Carr overthrowing Cook across the middle for an interception.
Carr’s interception problems weren’t over. His second pass of the third quarter, he forced to Martavis Bryant up the left sideline and Damarious Randall swooped over from his deep safety spot and pick it off and return it 50 yards to the 31-yard-line. The Browns scored the touchdown in a few plays for their largest lead of the game at 28-14.
It was up to Carr to dig the Raiders out of the hole he put them in. He got help from the defense with a strip sack near the goal line and he converted by connecting with Cook for a 7-yard touchdown completion. Early in the fourth quarter a fumbled snap recovered by the Raiders would once again set them up in the red zone and Carr once again threw for the score, this time to Jordy Nelson from 19 yards out to give the Raiders the 31-28 lead.
Carr caught a huge break when a clear fumble on a strip sack was blown dead by the officials and ruled as just a sack. The Browns would still push it to an 8-point lead, giving Carr just over four minutes to try and put something together. A 28-yard completion to Martavis Bryant helped that endeavor. As did a 31-yard strike to Coop. But an early throw by Carr to an area where Coop wasn’t in the end zone on 4th down would end the threat and put the Raiders chances at slim.
Luckily they would get the ball back with 1:28 remaining. A Browns holding penalty would save their bacon on third and one. Then Carr got a lot of help from the J-squad -- Jordy, Jared, and Jalen. He found Jared for 19, Jalen Richard for 18, and Jared again for the 7-yard touchdown. On the 2-point conversion Carr threw for Jordy out left in tight coverage from former Raiders corner TJ Carrie and Jordy strongarmed the catch in to tie up the game.
To overtime they went. On the first third down, Amari put a soul crushing double move on Carrie to break wide open out left for a 36-yard catch. A 9-yard catch by Cook should have put them in scoring range to end it, but Carr was sacked and rookie kicker Matt McCrane would miss the 50-yard attempt, again wide left. More heroics would be needed.
A three-and-out by the Browns and the Raiders would go on another drive. On third and 3, Cook would make a ridiculous catch for 24 yards. Carr then went to Seth Roberts for 9 yards and then picked up the first down on the keeper. The next play it was Coop for 14 yards to put the Raiders back in field goal range. Marshawn’s run made it comfortable and ball game.
Carr threw for over 400 yards, Coop had over 100 yards (128) and a touchdown, Cook went over 100 (110) with 2 TD’s, and Nelson added 5 catches for 48 yards a TD and the game-tying 2-point conversion.
Outside of a run stop and a pressure, Hudson was superb in this game. He was who Jon Gruden said was the player of the game for calling out the Browns’ blitzes all game and the Raiders ability to score 42 point in regulation and win it in overtime is proof of that.
Maurice Hurst, Arden Key, Johnathan Hankins
The Raiders have just five sacks this season, but two of them belong to Maurice Hurst. They have 14 QB hits and 5 belong to Key. And they have just two fumble recoveries and both belong to Hankins – both of them occurred in this game.
Key’s got a hit on Mayfield early in the second drive and was flagged for the most ridiculous roughing the passer penalty you’ll ever see. The very next play, his blocker would be flagged for holding. Hurst got involved on the next play, batting down a pass at the line. Still the Browns would drive to the 2-yard-line, but when they tried the jet sweep that has worked so well on the Raiders the first three weeks, Key was ready and stopped it for a 6-yard loss and they settled for a field goal.
Late in the second quarter, with the Raiders down three and hoping to have another chance to score before the half, Hurst ran all the way outside and up the field to make the tackle short of the sticks to force a punt.
He would make the run stop on the first play of the third quarter too. Then midway through the third, he would make the strip sack on Baker Mayfield, Hankins would pounce on it at the 7-yard-line in first and goal and the offense would score a touchdown on three plays.
On third and 11 on the next drive, Key would get a run at Mayfield again. He would miss the sack on the slippery rookie QB, but the quick throw would sail out of bounds to force a punt.
Early in the 4th quarter, with the Raiders were still down 28-24, Mayfield would fumble the snap and Hankins was once again right there to pounce on it to give the Raiders the ball in scoring position. And once again the Raiders would get a touchdown out of it.
Late in the fourth quarter, with under two minutes remaining and the Browns up 8, the Raiders desperately needed a three and out to keep their hopes alive. Hurst helped provide that with a run stop on second down. On third and two, it was Key who formed the wall through which Carlos Hyde couldn’t penetrate to reach the first down marker. It gave the Raiders the ball back with enough time to drive for the tie.
Reggie Nelson – He gave up a big touchdown catch in the game, but to his credit he had the interception in the waning seconds of regulation to keep the Browns from trying to drive back down field to win it in regulation.
Keith Smith – He had two big tackles on special teams and an even bigger block to spring Dwayne Harris on his 49-yard punt return that set up a field goal in the fourth quarter.