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First Take: Raiders Win One For the Ages

Scott Gulbransen
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders Kansas City Chiefs Las Vegas Raiders THursday Night Football

It was a must-win game for the Raiders and boy did they deliver. In what will certainly go down as one of the greatest games in the rivalry’s history, Michael Crabtree caught a perfect pass from Derek Carr for the win.

In what is yet another epic chapter in the long history that is the Oakland vs. Kansas City rivalry, the Raiders wowed a national television audience with a dramatic 31-30 win against the first place Chiefs snapping their four game losing streak.

Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders Las Vegas Raiders Report

Image courtesy of NFL.com

It’s hard to know where to begin. The crazy, fast-paced first half, or the last 16 seconds of the game? The Marshawn Lynch ejection? The Michael Crabtree and Donald Penn sideline mele? Or maybe the career night Amari Cooper had. Take your pick. We’ll have to sleep on it but here’s some things to digest before you hit the pillow tonight:

  • This was the quintessential AFC West/Oakland vs. KC bout. The quarterbacks put on a show for the national television audience. Derek Carr had a season-high 417 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-52 passing. For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 25 of 36 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, over 750 yards in passing between the two. Yowza.
  • Amari Cooper is no longer on milk cartons across the country. The talented speedster put on an absolute clinic against the Chiefs tonight. Cooper hauled in 11 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Both long shots from Carr. It took him six games to get involved but boy did he show up.
  • Couple the ending with the absolute bonkers Smith 63-yard touchdown to Albert Wilson, and as someone said on Twitter: “this game needs a name.”
  • The Lynch ejection was the one ugly and puzzling part of this instant classic. Lynch left the bench to fight with the Chiefs and in doing so put hands on a referee. That’s grounds for immediate disqualification. Then, Lynch showered and watched the rest of the game from the stands. Not exactly what you want in a veteran leader.
  • The Raiders offense, after being absent overall during the four game losing streak, came back screaming for vengeance. Oakland amassed 505 yards in total offense with 23 of their 32 first downs coming via the air. Any question on the health of Derek Carr is now moot. In addition, Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing mixed it up tonight using the play action rollout, and some uncharacteristic offensive sets to successfully confuse the Chiefs defense. It worked well and is certainly something for them to build on in Buffalo against the Bills next week.
  • Another hat-tip on the offensive side of the ball to the Raiders O-Line. One of the reasons Carr had such a massive game was the big men up front. Oakland did not allow one sack all night and gave Carr ample time to check down when he needed to and find the open receivers. Those guys deserve a nice steak dinner after this game.
  • The defense, although burned for long TD passes by the hand of Smith, played well all night including in the middle. The Raiders held the Chiefs to just 94 yards rushing never allowing the league’s top rusher Kareem Hunt to get on track. Hunt did carry the ball 18 times for 87 yards, but the addition of NaVorro Bowman and the young interior helped plug up any chance for the Chiefs to beat the Raiders on the ground.
  • Before the game, the team also announced it will break ground on its new stadium in Las Vegas on November 13. More details to come.