Raiders drop heartbreaker on late Bills TD

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Raiders drop heartbreaker on late Bills TD

Sept. 18, 2011
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Bills will take the win any way they can get it.After a wild back-and-forth fourth quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick found David Nelson wide open on fourth down for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left to secure a 38-35 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday."I don't know what happened, but I think they misaligned to be honest," Fitzpatrick said, in noting how wide open Nelson was over the middle. "I was lucky enough to see it."Chalk it up to luck, pluck and resilience, because the Bills are showing they're improved.A week after a convincing 41-7 win at Kansas City, the Fitzpatrick-led offense had a 35-point second half in overcoming a 21-3 first-half deficit.Buffalo scored touchdowns on each of its five second-half possessions as the teams traded the lead five times in the final 14:10.Fitzpatrick went 28 of 46 for 264 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Fred Jackson scored twice in the Bills' home opener."I can't recall one quite like that," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "It was an amazing gut-check by our football team. What they did coming out of halftime was really amazing."The Raiders (1-1) saw the result from a different perspective in squandering a chance to open a season at 2-0 for the first time since 2002."Not a whole lot to say other than that effort isn't going to be good enough," defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. "We didn't seem to give the offense any help in the second half. That's on us. It isn't good enough."The 38 points were the most allowed by Oakland in a loss since a 43-37 defeat to Seattle in 1998. And they allowed 481 yards - 326 in the second half - and 34 first downs."Good job by them, bad job by us," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. "When it's all said and done, we did not finish the game."And yet, the Raiders nearly pulled off an improbable comeback of their own.From his own 44, Jason Campbell threw a desperation pass into the end zone, that was intercepted by rookie cornerback Da'Norris Searcy, who outwrestled receiver Denarius Moore for the ball.Campbell went 23 of 33 for 323 yards and two touchdowns. Darren McFadden scored twice in finishing with 72 yards rushing and 71 receiving. Moore had five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in filling in for an injury-depleted receiving group that was down three starters, including Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee).As if the game needed any more drama, officials required 10 minutes to review the final play - Searcy's interception - to determine the call on the field was correct. Referee Mike Carey returned to a near-empty stadium to announce the interception had in fact stood.Seymour didn't think the call would be overturned, and then lamented: "We had opportunities and didn't take advantage of them. That's the bottom line."Two plays before Nelson's decisive score, cornerback Chris Johnson dropped an interception in the Raiders' end zone on a pass intended for Donald Jones."The game would've been over," Johnson said. "I take this loss for the team today."There was also no excusing how the Raiders left Nelson to slip free over the middle.The Bills looked down and out after a dreadful first half which ended with Oakland's Tyvon Branch blocking Rian Lindell's 39-yard field goal attempt.Buffalo then came out running in the third quarter, as Jackson opened the scoring on a 43-yard run.Then came the offense from both teams at the start of the fourth quarter.Jackson gave the Bills their first lead, 24-21, on a 1-yard run 50 seconds into the fourth quarter.The Raiders responded five minutes later, as McFadden caught a swing pass to the right and rumbled in from 12 yards.Buffalo went up 31-28 with 4:48 left when Fitzpatrick capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 6-yard pass to tight end Scott Chandler.Back came the Raiders, who regained the lead 1:07 later when Campbell hit Moore on a 50-yard pass over the middle.Fitzpatrick then led a 14-play, 80-yard drive in which he twice converted on fourth down."Determination," said receiver Stevie Johnson, who scored on a 7-yard catch. "We had the determination. Everybody was just a unit. We came out and did what we had to do."Searcy, certainly wasn't going to let anyone take the interception away. Not Moore, who got a hand on the ball, or the officials."Once I grabbed it, I told myself nobody's going grab it away from me," Searcy said.Notes: Bills owner Ralph Wilson was unable to attend his first home opener in the team's 52-year history because he's recovering from a broken hip. Wilson watched the game from his home in suburban Detroit. ... Wilson did provide a videotaped tribute at halftime, when former defensive lineman Phil Hansen was inducted on the Bills' Wall of Fame. ... According to STATS LLC, the 35 points were the most allowed by the Raiders in a second half. ... Discipline continues to play a factor against the Raiders. After being flagged 15 times for 131 yards against the Broncos, they had eight penalties for 85 yards against Buffalo.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”