Finally, the long wait is over. The Raiders are going to the playoffs.
The Raiders knocked off the Chargers in San Diego Sunday, 19-16, to boost their season record to 11-3 and clinch their first trip to the postseason since the 2002 season – when they went to the Super Bowl. Only kicker Sebastian Janikowski remains from that team.
And, on Sunday in San Diego, Janikowksi played a big role, kicking four field goals – three in the second half -- as the Raiders rallied for the win. Head coach Jack Del Rio has the team back in the postseason in just his second year on the job.
It was a big day for the Raiders, who also moved back into sole possession of first place in the AFC West, a game ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost Sunday to the Titans.
The Chargers led 16-13 late in the third quarter, but the Raiders dominated the fourth quarter to snap their 14-season playoff drought.
The Raiders were able to tie the game at 16-16 after recovering a fumble at the San Diego 13 early in the fourth quarter. Oakland moved the ball to the 2, but had to settle for Jankiowski’s 21-yard kick.
Then, after stopping the Chargers on downs, Oakland drove from its own 20 to the San Diego 26 to take the lead on Janikowski’s 44-yard field goal with 2:42 remaining.
The victory was sealed when the Chargers’ Philip Rivers was hit by Khalil Mack while passing, and the ball was intercepted by Reggie Nelson at the Chargers’ 28 with 1:51 remaining. Nelson returned the ball to the 14, where the Raiders were able to run out the clock.
Derek Carr bounced back from a rough game against Kansas City a little more than a week ago, completed 19-of-30 throws for 213 yards and a touchdown. Michael Crabtree came up with the catch of the game for a score in the third quarter, coming down with both feet inbounds on a fade route into the end zone. Officials overruled the initial call that said Crabtree was out of bounds. Latavius Murray gained 81 yards on the ground on just 13 carries.
If the Raiders can win their final two games to hold on to the division lead, they can lock up a first-round playoff bye.
The Raiders will host the Indianapolis Colts this coming Saturday at 1:05 p.m. They’ll finish the regular season at Denver on Sunday, Jan. 1.