The Oakland Raiders hosted the Houston Texas Monday night at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City with a golden opportunity.
After the Kansas City Chiefs were defeated on Sunday, the Raiders had the ability to take over sole possession of first place in the AFC West with a victory Monday night.
They did just that, as another stellar fourth quarter performance from quarterback Derek Carr helped secure a 27-20 victory for the Raiders, moving them to 8-2 on the season.
The Texans got on the board first with an impressive opening drive, going 61 yards on 13 plays. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught what looked like was a long touchdown pass, but the referees blew the play dead as they thought he stepped out of bounce. Head coach Bill O’Brien tried to challenge the play, but the play was not challengeable. Instead of seven point the Raiders defense held them to a field goal, so the Texans lead was 3-0.
The Raiders offense responded early in the second quarter though, as Carr found running back Jalen Richard on a 17-yard touchdown pass, putting Oakland in front 7-3.
On the ensuing kickoff Houston’s return man muffed the catch, and the Raiders recovered setting up the Raiders offense with excellent field position. Carr and the offense couldn’t capitalize though, as the Texans defense stopped them from the 1-yard line on consecutive plays to hold the Raiders to a field goal.
The Texans responded with a touchdown drive though as Osweiler connected with rookie receiver Braxton Miller from 12 yards out to tie the game at 10, a score that remained going into the halftime locker room.
Oakland’s offense looked to be aggressive coming out for the second half, as Carr took a deep shot for receiver Amari Cooper on the first play of the second half, but the two were not on the same page resulting in a Texans interception.
Houston turned that interception into points as running back Lamar Miller plunged in from one yard out 13 plays later to give the Texans a 17-10 lead.
After the two teams exchanged field goals, Carr connected with fullback Jamize Olawale on a 75-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 20.
Osweiler then looked as if he was getting his team in position to put more points on the board as he had them deep in the Raiders territory with just over six minutes remaining in the game, but the Raiders stopped Miller on a 3rd-and-two just shy of the first down marker on what appeared to be a questionable spot.
Instead of kicking a field goal and regaining the lead, O’Brien elected to go for it on fourth down and the Raiders defense came up big once again as they stopped the Texans ball carrier shy of the first down once again giving the Raiders the ball.
It did not take long for Carr and the offense to capitalize as Carr found running back Latavius Murray for a 39-yard pass and then on the next play he found Cooper for a 35-yard touchdown pass, giving the Raiders their first lead of the second half at 27-20 with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
After a Texans punt with just over three minutes left, all the Raiders needed was one first down to ice the game. They did exactly that as they surprisingly passed the ball, and Carr connected with Richard down the sideline for a first down securing the victory.
Carr, who had just 109 passing yards through the first three quarters, finished with 295 passing yards and three touchdowns, while Cooper caught four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown and Olawale had his best game of his career receiving, catching three passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Next week the Raiders will host the Carolina Panthers (4-6) at 1:25 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday.