The Oakland Raiders once again demonstrated their grit in their come-from-behind victory over the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. After being held to 120 yards through three quarters, head coach Jack Del Rio, quarterback Derek Carr and the running game then achieved 205 yards in their monster fourth quarter.
By a score of 27-20, the Raiders were able to once again crawl back into the game, then capitalize on their opportunities. Down 20-13 at the beginning of the fourth, it seemed as though the Texans had control of the game, as their defense controlled the rushing attack most of the contest.
However, the Raiders have demonstrated this certain knack to never give up and persistently climb back into contests. Their two fourth quarter touchdowns gave them the lead, while the defense held down the contest and didn’t allow the Texans to score again.
The Raiders now find themselves with an 8-2 record, as the division leaders in the AFC West and are tied for the best record in the AFC. Del Rio has his team pumped, as the Raiders have their best record to start the season since 2001.
After the game, Del Rio was asked about his team and responded by alluding to the MVP-caliber play of Carr, via Raiders.com:
“Yeah. Having that trigger man that can make those kind of plays is everything. He did a great job tonight staying poised. I thought that’s one of the keys, is the poise he’s playing with, kind of unflappable. He stays the course, keeps making good decisions, keeps putting balls in a good spot, accurately, and then we started making some plays at the end.”
Carr finished the contest completing 21 of 31 passes, for 295 passing yards and three touchdowns. The clutch quarterback executed two scoring plays late in the fourth quarter, on top of his timely decision making ability.
The fourth quarter comeback wasn’t as fluid as expected. The Raiders were trailing, as it seemed the momentum was in the favor the Texans. However, one play call from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave had the Texans on their heels.
After a touchback kickoff, the Raiders were at their 25-yard line, fresh off another Texans’ score. On their first play call, Carr didn’t find his immediate options. The offensive line once again did a magnificent job, creating time for Carr to find another option.
Fullback Jamize Olawale lined up as a blocker, but then leaked out down the right sideline and ran a streaking route. Carr decoyed the safety with his eyes and launched a dart into his hands.
Olawale then carried the ball down the field for 75 yards, scoring a touchdown, tying the game and tremendously changing the momentum of the contest. Del Rio commented on the big play, stating that each player on the roster is capable of contributing and it was Olawale’s time to shine:
“Obviously, all those guys can make plays, Taiwan, Jalen, DeAndre, all of them. Latavius. And then you throw in Olawale, who is more considered more of our bruising full back, but can he break loose and do some damage. So, yeah, that’s just part of that group. And they’re all, they all have explosive capabilities and Derek did a great job of finding him right there and putting the ball on him.”
Coming off the bye week, the Raiders came into the electric atmosphere prepared for what was ahead of them. The business-like mentality has the team owning sole possession of the AFC West, but prepared for what lies ahead.
The team will surely enjoy the excitement from the primetime victory, but understands the mission is not complete. With a week now to transition back to the United States, the team travels back to the Oakland Coliseum for a showdown against the Carolina Panthers.