OAKLAND – The Raiders were desperate for a win and played like it.
The offense woke from the dead. The defense showed energy and life.
Had they played like this recently, they would’ve been far better than 2-4. But they got what they earned, as head coach Jack Del Rio likes to say, and faced a virtual must win against the AFC’s finest.
It would take a Herculean effort from quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders got that. He was nothing short of awesome.
The Chiefs don’t roll over for anyone. Some 2016 magic was required.
They got some, and plenty of it.
The Raiders beat Kansas City 31-30. Carr to Crabtree on an untimed down. And it kept their season alive.
They were so close to 2-5. They walked off the field 3-4, re-energized and in far better shape to face the rest of their season.
That result was earned with an excellent two-minute drill that featured some big moments, including a 39-yard catch and run by Amari Cooper. That was topped a short while later by a 13-yard pass to Jared Cook on 4th-and-11.
The Raiders worked it down to the 1-yard line on a 29-yard strike to Jared Cook. It was called a touchdown on the field, but ruled short of the goal line. That caused a 10-second runoff – Cook was in bounds -- that left eight seconds on the clock. Then Michael Crabtree pushed off. They the Chiefs were called for defensive holding, resulting in one untimed down. Holding gave the Raiders another.
That’s when Carr found Michael Crabtree for a game-tying touchdown. Girgio Tavecchio’s extra point won it.
The Raiders were down nine points to start the fourth quarter, but Tavecchio’s 26-yard field goal a few minutes in made it a one-score game.
The defense got a stop with six minutes left, and gave the offense a chance to win it.
The Raiders went three and out.
So did the Chiefs, courtesy of solid run defense and a Denico Autry/Khalil Mack sack.
The Silver and Black regained possession with 2:25 left and a timeout remaining.
You already know what happened next.
The Raiders offense came back to life Thursday night. Quarterback Derek Carr paced a frenzied attack, as you’d expect, sparked by deep plays missing in recent weeks.
Carr’s rare combination of zip and touch was back on display. He was nothing short of awesome, completing 29-of-52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns, in his best game of the season.
Previously slumping receiver Amari Cooper was active early, with touchdown catches on his team’s first two drives.
The home team’s total was hindered by a pair of missed field goals, though yards came in bunches all night.
Even so, it proved tough to compete with Kansas City’s high-powered offense. The Raiders defense created pressure and did some nice things, but gave up too many explosive plays on the night.
Smith hit speedster Tyreek Hill on a 64-yard catch and run for touchdown to cap a three-play, 99-yard drive. Albert Wilson scored from 63 yards out, thanks to a ball tipped back by Keith McGill – it should’ve been intercepted – that went right to Wilson for an easy score.
Welcome back, Amari: Top Raiders receiver Amari Cooper broke out of a prolonged slump with a dynamite performance. He had two huge catches early in the game, and finished with 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He also drew a pass interference inside the Kansas City 5-yard line that set up another score.
Report: Penn and Crabtree argue on sideline: Raiders left tackle Donald Penn and receiver Michael Crabtree got into a shoving match on the sideline, according to CBS on-field reporter Tracy Wolfson.
Wolfson said offensive line coach Mike Tice had to break up the exchange. It’s uncertain why the incident began.
Marshawn gets ejected: Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch got ejected for making contact with an official in the second quarter. He came in from the sideline to protect Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters, who was being confronted for a late hit on quarterback Derek Carr.
Lynch tried to get in the middle of teammates and his good friend and Oakland native, and ended up pushing an official. He will get fined and possibly suspended for the act.