Oakland Raiders wide receiver Chaz Schilens (81) catches the ball in front of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones (57) in the second quarter of an NFL football game, in Oakland, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The Raiders pulled off the improbable by rallying for a 20-17 win over the visiting Bengals. Oakland stuck to the Bengals for all four quarters, tying the game at 17 with 33 seconds left in regulation after a 29-yard Louis Murphy touchdown catch. Cincinnati's Andre Caldwell fumbled the ensuing kickoff, leading to a game-winning 33-yard field goal by Oakland's Sebastian Jankowski.
With QB JaMarcus Russell watching the entire game from the Oakland sideline, Raiders starting quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had plenty of passes batted down but didn’t throw an interception until 6:01 in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati couldn’t run out the clock after the turnover and gave the Raiders just over two minutes for the rally.
Cincinnati rookie running back Bernard Scott, making his first NFL start, cut through the Oakland defense for 119 yards on 21 carries. The Bengals opening drive set the tone for their offense’s first half. Cincinnati overcame three penalties during a 14 play, 78-yard drive chewing up 9:28 in clock before quarterback Carson Palmer carried it in for a one-yard touchdown.
Cincinnati scored their second touchdown on a nine play, 68-yard drive featuring only running plays before Palmer bulled his way in again from the one-yard-line.
With just under a minute before halftime, Gradkowski hit tight end Zach Miller for a 10-yard touchdown cutting the Bengals lead in half. It was just the third Raiders passing score of the season. To start the second half, the Raiders drove into Bengals territory to set up a 52-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal to cut the Cincinnati lead to four.
A Michael Bush fumble set up a 25-yard Shayne Graham field goal at 3:29 in the third quarter to bring the lead back to seven. Cincinnati’s leading rusher Cedric Benson missed the game with an injured hip. Running back Larry Johnson was active for Cincinnati less than a week after signing with the Bengals.
The Raiders have a short week ahead and will face Dallas on Thursday for a Thanksgiving game at the new Cowboys Stadium.