Two weeks ago the Raiders were coming off a big victory over the Jets and stood at 4-3.
Optimism on the team and in the stands was sky high.
Would this be the year the Raiders finally broke their long playoff drought?
Even a loss to the Steelers last week didn’t dampen that enthusiasm. One Bay Area poll of fans this past week revealed that 79 percent believed this would be the year Oakland advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2002.
But on Sunday at O.co Coliseum some of that optimism no doubt took a bruising as the Minnesota Vikings came west to beat the Raiders 30-14 and drop the silver and black to 4-5.
The game certainly was there for the Raiders' taking.
Though the Vikings jumped up early, 13-0, the Raiders rallied in the second quarter, coming back on Derek Carr touchdown passes of 10 yards to Clive Walford and 34 yards to Andre Holmes to take the lead 14-13.
Just moments later, however, Cordarelle Patterson returned the kickoff 93 yards for a score. The touchdown put Minnesota up 20-14, and it was a lead the Raiders could never overcome.
When Oakland entered the fourth quarter trailing by the same score, it wasn’t a good sign. Though this 2015 version of the Raiders offense is significantly better than recent versions, Oakland went into Sunday’s final quarter having lost 36 straight when tied or trailing after three periods.
In the fourth quarter – with the game on the line – it was the Vikings who made the big plays.
First, the Vikes drove from their own 21 to the Oakland 16 – powered by the running of Adrian Peterson – to get a 34-yard field goal by Blair Walsh. That made it a two-score game, with the Vikes up 23-14.
The Raiders went to their hurry-up offense and drove from their 21 to the Vikings 11, but Carr’s pass intended for Holmes in the end zone was batted into the air and picked off by Terrance Newman. When the Vikings took over at their own 20, Peterson broke loose on Minnesota’s first play, galloping 80 yards for a TD that officially put the game away.
Carr finished 29-of-43 for 302 yards and two TDs, but was picked off twice.
For the Vikings, Peterson was his All-Pro self, carrying 20 times for 203 yards.
The Raiders’ next chance to regain some momentum will be this coming Sunday on the road at the Detroit Lions.