The Raiders have had some big wins this season on their road back to respectability.
But Sunday’s 15-12 victory over the Denver Broncos was the signature victory of what the Raiders hope is a new era for the franchise.
On Sunday in Denver, the Raiders offense was nonexistent in the first half as the AFC West-leading Broncos took a 12-0 halftime lead on four field goals. It didn’t look good for a Raiders team that entered the game 5-7 and needed to go 4-0 down the stretch to have any hopes of getting to the playoffs as a wild card.
But the Raiders roared back over the final two quarters on two Derek Carr touchdown passes of 11 yards to Seth Roberts and 16 yards to Mychal Rivera, while also getting two points on a safety, when Benson Mayowa jumped on Denver center Max Garcia in the end zone, after Garcia had covered a fumble following a sack of Brock Osweiler.
Mack destroyed the Broncos. He sacked quarterback Osweiler five times, the first time any player has had five sacks in a game since 2012. The last Raider with five sacks in a game was Howie Long.
Overall, Mack now has 14 sacks – nine over the past three weeks. Mack was a wrecking crew, with six tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble.
Tweeted Raiders teammate Justin Tuck, “I repeat. @52Mack_ is a BEAST…”
Carr’s final line wasn’t pretty, but it was good enough for the win. He completed 12-of-29 throws for 135 yards and the two TDs, and didn’t throw an interception after throwing three last week.
The Raiders also got a gift, with Brandon McManus missing a fourth-quarter field goal that would have tied the game. The Raiders also recovered two Broncos fumbles.
Now, at 6-7, the Raiders’ road to the playoffs includes hosting the Packers next Sunday, hosting the Chargers on Christmas Eve and then finishing with a game at the Chiefs.
It certainly won’t be easy.
But neither was Sunday’s victory over the Broncos.