The Oakland Raiders had some positive momentum heading into their Week 5 matchup in London against the Chicago Bears and they were able to build upon it as they pulled out a 24-21 victory to move to 3-2 on the year.
The Bears have once again proven to have one of the tougher defenses in the NFL but the Raiders, led by Josh Jacobs, were able to gash them several times on the ground. The rookie running back showed why he was considered to be the best running back in the 2019 NFL Draft class as he routinely found holes to run though and broke tackles for chunk gains for most of the day.
However, the play that perhaps turned the tide for Oakland was a 4th-and-1 fake punt in the fourth quarter that extended the offense’s drive and ultimately helped them win the game.
Erik Harris detailed the thought process of going for it and gave credit to his teammates for the successful play, Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com:
“We were in a situation in the game where we needed a big play,” Harris said. “I feel like it was a pretty gutsy call, but obviously, we had confidence in the guys to execute the play. Kudos to them, they did a hell of a job blocking it, and I just have to not scare everybody, and hold onto the ball.”
After getting the necessary yardage, Harris seemingly fumbled the ball on the way down and was recovered by Chicago. However, a replay showed that the safety’s elbow was already down, thus allowing Oakland to retain possession. Harris himself believed the entire time that his team was going to keep the ball:
“I definitely knew I was down,” he said. “Obviously, it’s always scary, because it could be like a split second, but I knew I hit the ground. As soon as my elbow hit, I felt the ball pop out. I had the arm sleeve on, so I was pretty confident.”
The risky call proved to be the difference-maker as the Silver and Black were able to go 97 yards down the field, capped off with a touchdown by Jacobs to give them the lead for good.
Despite starting out 1-2, Oakland suddenly finds itself deep in the AFC Wild Card race and an outside shot of winning their division. Their upcoming bye week is a well-deserved one and should allow them to recharge before a road date with the Green Bay Packers in Week 7.