OAKLAND – The Raiders had a three-touchdown lead cut to one late in Sunday's fourth quarter. Broncos backup quarterback Trevor Siemian orchestrated two touchdowns and Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 35-yard field goal, setting up a tense moment down the stretch.
A few first downs would clinch victory. A conservative approach would take more clock. Head coach Jack Del Rio told his offense to go win the game.
Offensive coordinator Todd Downing dialed up a downfield pass. The Broncos provided a favorable coverage scheme, leaving the middle of the field wide open.
Derek Carr threw a high archer to a spot. Cordarrelle Patterson beat his man to it.
That's an unusual target in times like that. Michael Crabtree's a feature player under pressure. Not Sunday, not after getting ejected for his part in a massive brawl. Amari Cooper's a trusted resource in the clutch, but he was out with a concussion.
Carr went to Patterson, and he made a huge play.
"They went cover zero, I don't know why they would do that," Patterson said. "I guess because we were down two receivers they thought they could get pressure on Derek but he did an excellent job seeing man coverage and just seeing me one-on-one with the free safety or cornerback or whoever it was. He just put the ball so perfect there was no way I couldn't make a play on that."
Patterson benefitted from a nice throw – it looked a first glance like Carr threw it up for grabs, but there was more finesse than originally thought – and then broke several tackles on a 54-yard gain.
He did so as a reserve receiver thrust into action Sunday. Patterson had three catches for 76 yards, and averaged 4.75 yards per route run, per analytics site Pro Football Focus.
Patterson (37 snaps), Johnny Holton (46) and Seth Roberts (57) took most receiver snaps, and combined for seven catches and 151 yards and zero drops. That's an important line, especially with the possibility Crabtree could get suspended and Cooper could miss multiple games with injury.
Quarterback – Derek Carr 68
Running back – Marshawn Lynch 47, DeAndre Washington 14, Jamize Olawale 5, Jalen Richard 5
Wide receiver –Seth Roberts 57, Johnny Holton 46, Cordarelle Patterson 37, Amari Cooper 28, Michael Crabtree 5
Tight end – Jared Cook 59, Lee Smith 28, Clive Walford 6
Offensive line – Kelechi Osemele 68, Rodney Hudson 68, Donald Penn 65, Jon Feliciano 65, Vadal Alexander 6, Gabe Jackson 5
Defensive line – Khalil Mack 54, Denico Autry 39, Mario Edwards 39, Treyvon Hester 29, Eddie Vanderdoes 15, James Cowser 14, Justin Ellis 14
Linebacker – NaVorro Bowman 59, Bruce Irvin 49, Nicholas Morrow 43, Cory James 15, Marquel Lee 2
Cornerback – TJ Carrie 57, Sean Smith 57, Dexter McDonald 44, Obi Melifonwu 1
Safety – Reggie Nelson 51, Karl Joseph 43, Shalom Luani 22, Keith McGill 2
Keith McGill 23, Jamize Olawale 20, Erik Harris 20, Marquel Lee 20, Johnny Holton 17, James Cowser 17, Shalom Luani 15, Obi Melifonwu 12, Jon Condo 10, Marquette King 10, DeAndre Washington 9, Jalen Richard 9, Nicholas Morrow 9, Cordarrelle Patterson 8, Lee Smith 7, Cory James 7, Jon Feliciano 6, Justin Ellis 4, Clive Walford 4, Vadal Alexander 4, Marshall Newhouse 4, Karl Joseph 4, Rodney Hudson 4, Kelechi Osemele 4, Eddie Vanderdoes 3, TJ Carrie 3, Khalil Mack 3, Dexter McDonald 3, Denico Autry 3, Mario Edwards 3, Treyvon Hester 3, Jared Cook 1, NaVorro Bowman 1
DID NOT PLAY
QB EJ Manuel
QB Connor Cook, OT David Sharpe, OT Jylan Ware, DL Jihad Ward, CB David Amerson, LB Shilique Calhoun, DT Darius Latham