Derek Carr led yet another comeback with two touchdown passes in the second half and Khalil Mack helped force two turnovers that rallied the Raiders to their biggest comeback in 16 years with a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
The Raiders (10-2) scored the final 29 points to mount their sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the season and win their sixth straight game overall, remaining one game ahead of Kansas City in the tough AFC West.
”We don’t want to be in these positions where we’re playing from behind,” said running back Latavius Murray, who ran for two scores. ”We want to dominate from start to finish. We keep finding ourselves in these situations, which is the reason we have to continue to improve and get better.”
The Raiders fell behind 24-9 following touchdowns on the first two drives of the second half for Buffalo (6-6), before mounting the biggest comeback win since rallying from 21 points down to beat Indianapolis 38-31 on Sept. 10, 2000.
Oakland scored touchdowns on three straight drives, including scoring strikes from Carr to Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper for his 11th career fourth-quarter comeback. With four games left this season, Carr has already matched the win total he posted in his first two years combined as Oakland’s playoff drought reached 13 seasons.
”It’s an exciting time in Oakland,” Carr said. ”It’s definitely fun times. We’ve come a long way. … But we still have yet to do anything.”
The defense also tightened by forcing three straight three-and-outs and then getting a turnover when Khalil Mack deflected Tyrod Taylor‘s pass that Nate Allen intercepted . Oakland took over at the 16 and put the game away with Murray’s second touchdown run of the game to make it 38-24 on Carr’s 2-point conversion pass to Seth Roberts.
The loss was crushing for the Bills, who entered December with hopes of ending the league’s longest playoff drought. A big day by LeSean McCoy, who had 130 yards rushing, helped stake Buffalo to the big lead, but it wasn’t enough.
The Bills are two games behind Denver for the second wild-card spot in the AFC and could be headed to a 17th straight season without a playoff berth.
”It was one of those situations where everything they did went right and we just couldn’t make a play,” safety Corey Graham said. ”I’ve never really been in a situation like that where everything went wrong, just like you couldn’t make a play, and then those guys went on a roll and it was like everything they did turned to gold.”
RARE TURNOVERS: The Bills have been on a record pace protecting the ball, but had a bad time for a rare turnover. After taking over at their own 4 midway through the fourth quarter trailing by six, Taylor was hit by Mack on the first play, leading to just the seventh turnover of the season for Buffalo. Mack then sealed the game with a sack and fumble recovery with Buffalo driving late.
CARR’S FINGER: A week after injuring the pinkie on his throwing hand and missing a series, Carr was able to play without a glove on his right hand. But the injury still hampered Carr to a degree as he took no snaps under center to protect the injury, even in short-yardage situations.
ENCORE PERFORMANCE: A week after scoring on a 75-yard run against Jacksonville on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, McCoy struck big again to open the third quarter. He ran 54 yards on the first play and Taylor followed with a 12-yard keeper on the next play to put Buffalo up 17-9.
FAST START: The Bills gained a season-high 147 yards in the first quarter and scored on their first two drives with a field goal by Dan Carpenter and Mike Gillislee‘s 1-yard run early in the second. Buffalo ran just once on nine plays on the opening drive and then ran on nine of 11 plays the next drive.
FAST FINISH: The Raiders took over with 30 seconds left in the first half at their own 15 and managed to get points. Carr completed four straight passes for 57 yards to set up Sebastian Janikowski‘s 47-yard field goal that cut Buffalo’s lead to 10-9 at the half. The last time a team started a drive shy of its own 20 with 30 seconds or fewer remaining in the first half and scored came in 2005 when San Francisco did it for a field goal against Jacksonville, according to Pro Football Reference.
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