Once again the Raiders made it more interesting than it needed to be, but won their second straight game Sunday with a 27-21 decision over the Vikings in Minnesota.
The win, which improves the Raiders to 6-4 atop the AFC West, is the team’s fourth victory in five road games this season.
After trailing early 7-0 – when the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson scored on a 12-yard run -- the Raiders scored 27 consecutive points to take a 27-7 lead into the fourth quarter, only to allow rookie quarterback Christian Ponder to lead Minnesota to two scores and cut the deficit to 27-21.
Just like the previous game in San Diego, however – when Oakland allowed the Chargers to get back in the game in the second half – the Raiders held.
Minnesota had two final chances to win the game, but the first ended with Ponder’s incompletion on fourth-and-8 from its own 46 with 1:58 remaining, and the second came with two seconds left, when one final pass by Ponder was completed but fumbled away to Oakland’s Aaron Curry.
The Raiders took advantage of five Minnesota turnovers, three of which led to 17 Oakland points, and sacked Ponder five times.
Matt Giordano – who made a key second-half interception last week against San Diego – intercepted Ponder at Oakland’s 5-yard line to stop a Vikings drive early in the second quarter, setting up an eight-play, 53-yard drive that ended with Carson Palmer hitting Chaz Schillens for an 11-yard TD pass to put Oakland up 10-7.
Late in the second quarter, Oakland scored 14 points in a little over a minute to take a 24-7 halftime lead.
After Michael Bush scored on a 2-yard run with 1:23 remaining, DeMarcus Van Dyke recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Vikings 16. Four plays later, Oakland scored on Palmer’s quarterback sneak.
Tommy Kelly’s interception in the third quarter led to Sebastian Janikowski’s 26-yard field goal and a 27-7 lead.
The Vikings, now 2-8, had to play most of the game without Peterson, their best weapon, who had to leave in the second quarter with an ankle injury.
For the Raiders, Bush had his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game in place of the injured Darren McFadden, carrying 30 times for 109 yards. Palmer completed 17 of 23 passes for 164 yards, with no interceptions.
The status of injured Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was uncertain after the game. Heyward-Bey caught a short pass from Palmer in the fourth quarter, and was hit in the back of his helmet by linebacker E.J. Henderson’s knee as he was being tackled by another player. Heyward-Bey was stabilized on the field and taken off on a gurney.
The Raiders next host the Chicago Bears at O.co Coliseum this coming Sunday.