OAKLAND – The Raiders have struggled to win games these. Rare victory was hard to come by, requiring last-minute heroics to lock down Ws.
Not on Monday night. The Raiders jumped out to an early lead and maintained it, cultivating a victory easily secured. There was no dramatic end to this one.
The Raiders set up in a victory formation, Derek Carr kneeled three times and that was it. Raiders 27, Broncos, a result reached without drama.
Carr took advantage of the easy ending, which allowed him to soak it all in. The Raiders quarterback since 2014 gazed up into the stands and saw a sellout crowd going nuts, reveling in victory during what might be the last NFL game ever played at Oakland Coliseum.
The clock hit zeros and Carr made a beeline to the Black Hole. He shook hands with so many, thanking the rabid fan section for all of their support. Carr wasn't done there. He went around the entire stadium doing the same thing, sharing the moment with as many fans as possible.
"I know it stings and hurts that we might not play here," Carr said, "but I was going to make sure that this was the last time I was going to say thank you in whatever way I could."
The City of Oakland is suing the Raiders and the NFL for antitrust violations and breach of contract, leaving owner Mark Davis to explore all options for where to play the 2019 season before heading to Las Vegas.
Carr has a strong bond with Oakland Raiders fans and the Coliseum itself after being drafted here in 2014, and he was emotional when discussing Monday possibly being the final game in Oakland.
"I love Oakland. This is home," Carr said. "I don't go anywhere in the offseason. I live here. I have really tried to spread my love and joy with everyone in the community whenever I go eat or just am around town. The Bay Area is home to me. It is hard that it might be the last time but if it is it will always be there like, ‘Man, what a time we have had there.' We have had some tears of pain, joy and all those things. … We have the best fans in the world. The most loyal. I don't care if you like us or not. They are the most loyal.
"It's not the professional football atmosphere where everyone is in a tie and doing their thing. It is football, it is a rough and gritty place. I think that it reminded me a lot of home and that is Fresno. That is how I like to play football."
If this is in fact the last game in Oakland, Carr will leave with memories engrained, both good and bad.
The first was when he broke his ankle on Christmas Eve 2016, but it wasn't the pain that stuck. He was the outpouring of support and sympathy for Carr following the injury that touched him most. Raiders fans supported him in good times and the worst, when meant as much as anything that has happened in a Raiders uniform.
All of his fourth-quarter comebacks here in Oakland are tied for a close second. He didn't have to do that here against Denver, and he was thankful for it.
"We have the most loyal fans in the world," Carr said. "I know it hurts that we might not be the Oakland Raiders forever, but we are still Raider Nation. I know they will always have our back."