With their playoff hopes slipping away Sunday in Tennessee, the Raiders came up big.
Trailing 21-17 late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Derek Carr led Oakland on an 11-play, 90-yard drive, connecting with Seth Roberts on a 12-yard touchdown pass with 1:27 remaining to give the Raiders a 24-21 victory.
After losing three consecutive games to fall to 4-6, the Raiders couldn’t afford another loss and realistically remain in the playoff hunt. But now at 5-6 with five games remaining, Oakland again is in position to make a bid for a wild-card berth with a strong finish.
Earlier this week, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had said it was nice that the franchise has so many good, young players, particularly on offense, such as Carr and Cooper, but that “potential doesn’t win games.”
“It’s a production-based business,” he said. “We expect to be better than we were (in the three straight losses).”
On Sunday in Tennessee, the Raiders were better.
Carr turned in another strong game, completing 24-of-37 passes for 330 yards and three TDs, while Roberts (six catches, 113 yards) and rookie Amari Cooper (seven for 115) each had big days.
The Titans took a 7-0 first-quarter lead, but Oakland answered with a Michael Crabtree TD catch and a Sebastian Janikowski 24-yard field goal to take a 10-7 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the teams traded TDs, with Roberts grabbing a 10-yard scoring pass and Tennessee rookie QB Marcus Mariota throwing his second TD pass of the day.
Then, late in the fourth, the Titans took a lead on another Mariota TD pass.
With just 4:34 remaining, the Raiders took over on their 10-yard line after a kickoff and Oakland penalty.
Carr began the drive with a 16-yard strike to Cooper. Three plays later he hit Roberts for 31 yards to the Titans’ 38.
Then, on a fourth-and-8 from the Titans’ 36, the Raiders got a huge gift when Carr’s deep pass intended for Andre Holmes was off target, but Titans defensive back B.W. Webb was called for defensive holding. That gave the Raiders a first down on the Titans’ 31 with 1:50 remaining. Carr then hit tight end Mychal Rivera for 19 yards, setting up his 12-yard, game-winning throw to Roberts.
Nate Allen's interception of Mariota then cemented the victory for Oakland.
It was the Raiders’ third road victory of the season, after getting shut out away from home in 2014.
The Raiders’ next opportunity to keep their momentum going will be this coming Sunday at O.co Coliseum against the Kansas City Chiefs.