Oakland – The Raiders returned home after being on the road for almost a month. Their grueling schedule has them on a short week as they host the San Diego Chargers this upcoming Thursday night. No excuses and no complaints, Oakland beat the Detroit Lions 31-24 with a late touchdown in the fourth.
“I’d like to say, that was a big win for us,” said Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. “Thank God. Thank the fans for coming out. Thank the mayor and everybody for letting us play a home game again. It was great to get in here. I mean that. We overcame a lot of adversity and injuries today particularly on the offensive line. I give David Sharpe and Andre James a great amount of credit. [Matt] Stafford and the Lions are a handful.”
With two minutes left in the game and tied 24-24, Derek Carr went deep to Jalen Richard for a 31-yard pass and then found Richard again for a 23-yard pass while he carried a few defenders along the way. That setup Carr’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow making it a 31-24 game. It was an offensive matchup all day with both teams scoring back-to-back.
A minute left on the clock and Matthew Stafford marched his offense downfield with ease just as he’d done throughout the game. Two penalties committed by Oakland moved the Lions 26 yards putting them on the goal line. Stafford was sacked by P.J. Hall with a loss of 10 yards and now its. 24 seconds left on the clock.
Stafford made a complete pass to Logan Thomas with .08 seconds left in the game. Fourth and goal, Stafford’s pass was incomplete in the end zone and the Raiders record their fourth win of the season. Rookie TE Foster Moreau and WR Renfrow each recorded a touchdown reception in today’s contest. The Raiders are the first team since the Seattle Seahawks (Nov 22, 2015) to have rookies score all four touchdowns in a victory.
“There was a lot of third-down plays and everybody across the board had to make plays,” TE Darren Waller said. “We knew that going in the way they were trying to cover us. I’m proud of everyone on the offense, everyone pitched in especially Jalen Richard towards the end, that was enormous. Offense came and we were ready to make plays when we needed to today.”
Oakland’s defense recorded at least one interception and one forced fumble in the first half for the first time since week 3 vs the Tennessee Titans of the 2016 season. Detroit’s opening drive, J.D. McKissic fumbled the ball off the snap. He never had control and Maurice Hurst was there to recover for the Raiders. Oakland used their running game to start the first series. Josh Jacobs exploded in the first quarter rushing for 50 yards and scoring a 2-yard touchdown putting the Raiders up 7-0.
Late in the second quarter Jacobs leaped over his defenders for a 3-yard touchdown making it a 17-14 game. Jacobs finished the half with two touchdowns and 88 yards for 16 carries. He surpassed Marcus Allen’s franchise record set in 1982 for most rushing yards (697) by a rookie in a club history. Jacobs became the first rookie since Ickey Woods in 1988 to have two-plus rushing touchdowns in the first three of his eight career games.
“It felt alright,” said Jacobs. “I mean, I’m just trying to execute our game plan, and it happened to be me running the ball.
That is something we have been priding ourselves on since we came in (on the freshmen class scoring all the touchdowns today). We knew we wanted to help change the culture and start a dynasty here. We all came in and made that agreement together.”
Stafford went 26-for-41 for 406 yards including three touchdowns and one interception. That wasn’t enough to stop Oakland. Stafford connected with Marvin Jones Jr for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7. By the second Stafford went deep to Kenny Golladay for a 59-yard touchdown giving Detroit a 14-10 lead. But Stafford’s pass intended for Golladay in the end zone was intercepted by Daryl Worley with 3:19 left in the half. That was the play of the game, the Raiders stopped that drive and prevented the Lions from scoring.
“We knew that it was going to be a challenge vertically,” Worley said. “Matthew Stafford is having a hell of a year. [Trayvon Mullen] was able to go out there and make plays today. Our safeties were making plays today. It’s awesome. You’re going to win some and lose some, especially at defensive back in the NFL. I feel it’s the hardest position. You get some wins, you get some losses. I was able to get the win on that one.”
By the third quarter the Lions were unable to score against a smothering Oakland defense. Matt Prater kicked a 23-yard field goal to tie the game 17-17. Carr connected with Moreau for a 3-yard touchdown extending the Raiders lead 24-17. That was Carr’s first touchdown of the game. He now has eight passing touchdown on third down, ranking first in the NFL. Stafford tied the game again when he found McKissic for a 26-yard touchdown making it 24-24.
But Carr recorded his 18th game-winning drive of his career, orchestrating a 7-play, 75-yard culminating in a 9-yard touchdown pass to Renfrow. The Raiders improve their all-time regular season series record against the Lions to 7-6. Oakland’s win snaps the Raiders four-game losing streak to Detroit, with the team’s last win on Oct 13, 1996. Moving on, Oakland will host the San Diego Chargers this Thursday night at the Coliseum.
“Trent Brown left the game and Rodney [Hudson] is not playing and Worley left the game,” said Gruden when asked about heading into a short week. “Hopefully we get some bodies well for the Chargers. Yeah, it’s a huge momentum. It’s fun to win. We’re 4-4 at the break. We’ve had a tough schedule and we’re not going to have an easier schedule coming up. I don’t care what any of the articles say.”