Christmas Comes Early For the Raider Nation

Nicholas Cothrel

What could be the last NFL game in Oakland, was kicked off by Oakland native, Marshawn Lynch lighting the Al Davis torch.

After time ran out with the last kneel down, in victory formation, Derek Carr ran straight to the black hole with teammates following to thank their loyal fans. Carr followed that up with, taking a lap around the Oakland Coliseum to celebrate with the Oakland fans for potentially the last time.

“It hit me a little bit taking that lap,” Carr said. “I love Oakland. This is home. We have the best fans in the world. The most loyal. We have been 0-10 and tickets were still sold out.”

If this is the final game in Oakland, the fans definitely had a lot of celebrating after what has been a let-down of a season.

To kickoff the game, the Raiders stopped the Broncos on their opening drive, causing them to punt. Raiders punt returner Dwayne Harris took the ball for a 99 yard return and touchdown after the Broncos failed to down the ball on the one yard line giving the Raiders the early lead of 7-0. The Raiders haven’t found the end zone off a punt return in ten years.

In the second quarter, Carr was going to his running backs early and often. Carr was pounding the ball on the ground with Oakland Native, Doug Martin who busted a 24 yard run to find the end zone for his fourth touchdown of the season.

On the following drive, kicker Daniel Carlson pushes one through the uprights to extend the lead 17-0. Carlson has finally gave the Raiders some stability at the kicking position, as they have had a total of four other kickers since training camp. Carlson has now made his last 14 field goal attempts. The Broncos were shutout for the first half of action for the second time this year against the Raiders.

Denver and Oakland both exchanged scoring drives in the third quarter making the score 24-7 after three quarters.

Raiders sealed the deal 27-14 behind an aggressive running attack. Martin finished the game with 107 yards on the ground and one touchdown. The defense was led by Erik Harris and Marcus Gilchrist who both picked off Case Keenum. Keenum finished with 202 yards passing and two touchdowns.

Gruden addressed the media for his postgame press conference after the emotional win.

“The love affair for the fans here with the Raiders goes way back, and when we get this result like we did tonight, it’s a Merry Christmas for everybody,” Gruden said.

The Raiders might have been celebrating after the game with the fans but the Broncos hit a low point. This defeat marks another loosing season for Denver and head coach Vance Joseph. The Broncos now have back-to-back loosing seasons for the first time since the 1972. Coach Joseph is on the hot seat due to the lack of success he has brought to Denver, general manager John Elway will likely look elsewhere next season.

The Broncos are known to have elite pressure chasing down quarterbacks, with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb up front on the defensive line. Not to mention, the Raiders have two rookies starting at the offensive tackle position. Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker have had their problems this year protecting Carr, but the pass protection against the Broncos was phenomenal. The two young tackles left Miller and Chubb both without a sack on Carr. The dynamic edge-rushing duo came into this game with 26.5 sacks.

Karl Joseph continued to show his worth, delivering hard hits on Broncos receivers all night. Joseph also had the teams only sack of the night. As Joseph has earned more playing time from the coaching staff, he has emerged as a solid playmaker on the back end of the secondary. Delivering hard hits was Joseph’s big claim-of-fame coming out of college.

Raiders will head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs and spoil their lea din the AFC West.

Only time will tell, where the Raiders will host their home games for the upcoming season. Although, Mark Davis doesn’t want to play in Oakland while the city is suing him, so Oakland is more than likely out of the conversation.

(Photo: D. Ross Cameron/ USA Today)

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