Paul G's Instant Replay: Raiders 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)

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Paul G's Instant Replay: Raiders 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)

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OAKLAND -- Carson Palmer called this a "must-win." Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 40-yard field goal with 12:54 on the clock in overtime to upend the Jacksonville Jaguars, 26-23, despite the Raiders being their worst enemies all day long.

Janikowski's game-winner was set up by Lamar Houston stripping Cecil Shorts III on a pass across the middle, with Joselio Hanson recovering the fumble at the Jaguars' 21-yard line and on the left hash. One play later, Carson Palmer took the snap, moved to the right and kneeled in the center of the field for Janikowski's game-winner.

Some might say the Raiders had no business winning, what with so many muskies early and often at the O.co Coliseum.Consider: The Raiders knocked out Jacksonville star running back Maurice Jones-Drew after two carries with an ankle injury. They sidelined quarterback Blaine Gabbert with a left shoulder issue. Right guard Uche Nwaneri was lost on the first series with a left leg injury and running back Montell Owens was out with a left shoulder.And yetThe Raiders inflicted just as painful wounds upon themselves Sunday as three turnovers led directly to 13 points for the Jaguars.But a huge fourth-quarter pass interference flag thrown at Aaron Ross in the end zone as he covered Darrius Heyward-Bey set the Raiders up at the 1-yard line. The Raiders were facing 4th and 10 at the Jacksonville 25-yard line at the time. Two plays later, Palmer went in over center for the keeper and touchdown before Sebastian Janikowski's PAT tied the score at 23-23.Self-inflicted wounds: The first Raiders turnover -- Phillip Adams simply muffing a punt return -- resulted in a five-yard Rashad Jennings touchdown plunge from five yards out. The second turnover -- an interception off a tipped Carson Palmer shovel pass -- was followed by a 50-yard Josh Scobee field goal. And the third turnover -- a Palmer fumble on a strip sack -- led to a 45-yard field goal.A first for the rookie: Miles Burris, the Raiders' fourth-round pick from San Diego State, blew up Chad Henne for a 10-yard sack late in the third quarter. It was the excitable weakside linebacker's first career sack, and it came in the shadows of the Black Hole.Run DMC AWOL: Through three quarters, Darren McFadden had all of 29 yards rushing, with a long of eight yards, on 14 carries. This against a Jaguars defense that entered the game ranked 30th in the NFL and allowing 4.7 yards per rushing attempt. McFadden finished with 53 yards rushing on 19 carries. He is not the same running back he was to start last season. Then again, neither is the Raiders' blocking scheme.Offensive line a sieve: Carson Palmer took a Jim Plunkett-esqe beating in the pocket. Palmer was sacked three times but was hit countless other times as he stood tall in the pocket. The left side of the line -- tackle Jared Veldheer and Cooper Carlisle -- had a particularly tough day.Something to build on?: A positive? The Raiders' defense limited the Jaguars to just 1-of-12 on third-down conversions.Ownage done?: The Jaguars, who began as an expansion franchise in 1995, entered the day leading the all-time series, 5-1. The previous lone Raiders' win came in 1996.Up next: The Raiders (2-4) travel to Kansas City to face a 1-5 Chiefs team, and a familiar face in cornerback Stanford Routt, coming off a bye week.

Multiple ways for Raiders to clinch playoff berth in Week 14

Multiple ways for Raiders to clinch playoff berth in Week 14

The Raiders can clinch a playoff spot this weekend. That sentence hasn’t been uttered since late 2011, and that season didn’t end so well.

There’s a far greater chance this one will. The Silver and Black sit atop the AFC and their own division, with significant space between them and other contenders for the conference’s final wild card spot. There’s three games space with four to play and, according to the NFL, the Raiders can lock up a playoff spot with a victory over Kansas City on Thursday and a little help.

Here are the scenarios where the Raiders can clinch a playoff spot this weekend:

1. Raiders win + Miami loss
2. Raiders win + Denver loss

There are two other scenarios that involve ties, but we won’t focus on those rare instances.

A victory on Thursday is all that will consume the Raiders focus. A loss would put them back in their own division, behind a Kansas City team that would own a tiebreaker based upon a season sweep.
 

Raiders pleased with Derek Carr’s maturity, focus under national spotlight

Raiders pleased with Derek Carr’s maturity, focus under national spotlight

ALAMEDA – The Raiders started 0-10 and finished 3-13 in Derek Carr’s rookie year. Near that season’s merciful end, but a handful of local reporters attended his postgame press conferences.

There was little interest in that 2014 squad for obvious reasons, especially after Dennis Allen was fired and the Raiders played out a long string of losses. There was some interest in rookie starters Carr and Khalil Mack, but nothing like there is today.

The Raiders are 10-2. Carr is an MVP candidate. The Silver and Black might be the most entertaining team in football, with their penchant for drama and epic comebacks.

Carr used to play for a thin crowd. Now it’s a packed house. That was the case after Sunday’s 38-24 comeback win over Buffalo.

Now this isn’t Dallas or New York. The body count isn’t quite that high, but interest in this team and its quarterback has certainly spiked.

“It’s an exciting time in Oakland, for our fans. It’s really exciting,” Carr said on Sunday night. “Look how many people are in here now. I remember my rookie year, it was like ‘eh.’”

“This is definitely a fun time. We’ve come a long way as everyone here knows and has been with us. We’ve come a long way, we’re enjoying it.”

Wins draw attention in the nation’s most popular sport, and Carr is getting plenty of it as his legend grows.

Everybody, it seems, wants a piece of the next big thing. Carr’s on the ESPN the Magazine cover. He’s been featured on national halftime shows and syndicated radio programs. Many outlets are begging Raiders public relations to let them watch film with Carr and coordinator Bill Musgrave, to get inside the mind of one cerebral quarterback.

The spotlight will be hot all week, heading into highly anticipated Thursday night game against the rival Kansas City Chiefs for control of the AFC West.

Carr’s natural inclination is to accommodate, but the Raiders would like to insulate him some as the attention mounts.

“When the games get bigger, there are more people around,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You’ve got to protect your time. You’ve got to protect your preparation time. You have to protect the time you get with your family.

“I just think he’s mature. He’s a young player. He’s maturing and that’s probably the thing that I’m most pleased with. Obviously, the productivity is awesome, but the way he has conducted himself, the maturity, the handling it, continuing to heap praise on his teammates, to make it more about us, not about anything he’s doing individually. It’s more about us as a team. I think that’s really healthy for us.”

Carr keeps the focus on others whenever possible and shrugs off MVP talk at every turn.

It’s not just a rise in coverage. Ticket requests go up, as do outside demands on time Carr would rather spend with family or working on his craft. He has learned how and when to say no during this crazy time of year.

“I’m trying to learn as we go through it how to say no and things like that and I think I’m getting pretty good at it now and how to tell people no,” he said. “Because, everyone just wants a piece of what’s going on. They didn’t much want a piece of it when we were 3-13, you know? So, you can really have that inner circle of people you really love and you can trust and you’re just kind to everybody else.”