The season that was prophesized as the year that the Oakland Raiders would end a dynasty and rebuild their own turned out to be nothing less than a disappointment.
So coming up with a handful of plays as the top five of the season may seem like a tall task, but there were some brilliant moments that the Raiders managed to pull out of the air this year that reflected the capabilities of the team, even if those weren’t fully realized.
5) Marshawn busting moves in the Black Hole – New York Jets Week 2
In Week 2, the Raiders hosted a New York Jets team that was largely discounted before the season started. Actually, that is probably a generous description. They were expected to rival Cleveland in poor play and a record skirting the basement. But the Jets surprised the league when they came to play over and over again during the season. Accordingly, the Raiders did not have as easy a time putting the game away as was expected, but the game was a thriller that was rightfully celebrated. Who would have thought that the highlight of the game would be off the field?
After hometown boy Marshawn Lynch’s first touchdown in the “Black Hole” was capped off by Michael Crabtree’s third touchdown of the day, a party ensued on the sidelines. What will now go down in infamy as another of Lynch’s career highlight reels, Beast Mode pumped up the crowd and angered the Jets’ sideline by showing his dancing chops to celebrate his inauguration in the Silver and Black.
4) Patterson’s Jet Sweep – Los Angeles Chargers Week 6
Jump to Week 6 and we get to see why the Raiders picked up Cordarrelle Patterson in the offseason. The Raiders were trailing the Chargers 14-10 after a scoreless 3rd quarter. On 2nd and 2 with eight minutes left on the clock, Patterson gave the Raiders the go-ahead touchdown when he took a jet sweep end-around right to the house for a 47-yard touchdown. Even though the Raiders ultimately lost the game due to a missed point after his score, Patterson was impressive in a division game against a team that would finish second in the AFC West.
3) Offensive Line Making Pancakes in Miami – Week 9
The Raiders traveled to meet the Miami Dolphins in Week 9 and, although they had a tougher time against the struggling Dolphins than necessary, there was at least one play that was definitely highlight-worthy.
About five minutes into the third quarter, the Raiders led the Dolphins 13-9. When Derek Carr took the snap and handed off to Marshawn Lynch for his second touchdown of the night, the offensive line did work on Dolphins star lineman Ndamukong Suh. Right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Marshall Newhouse executed a perfect double side-step and watched Suh use his own momentum to land face first in the dirt. It was a thing of beauty, even though it wasn’t given the attention it deserved.
2) Tavvecchio’s two record-breaking field goals in his first NFL start – Tennessee Titans Week 1
Raider Nation held their collective breath when Sebastian Janikowski was ruled out for at least eight weeks due to a back injury. But the team was lucky enough to have a ringer in the wings. Georgio Tavecchio was called up to the bigs after being the team’s premier pre-season kicker for four straight years, ultimately being a roster casualty when the regular season began. Once the team saw their venerable leg drop to the IR list, they made the smart move to call Tavecchio up.
In his first game against the Titans in Week 1, Tavecchio showed his worth by nailing not one but two 50+ yard field goals, a record by a kicker in his first NFL start. He scored 14 of the team’s 26 points and tied Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein for the most points scored by a kicker that week. It also earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, a well-deserved feat for the Italian-born kicker who was originally offered a soccer scholarship but passed so he could realize his NFL dreams.
1) Three touchdowns to end two streaks
The AFC West rivalries are some of the most heated in the league. Not the least of which is the Raiders’ annual contests with the Kansas City Chiefs. After a game that could only be described as a slobber knocker, a drive that went 85 yards over just 2:25 would give Oakland new life for the season. The game was a back and forth slugfest that saw the Raiders trailing during the waning moments of the 4th quarter. The game looked like it might end up as it had the previous five meetings. Then the Raiders got the ball and started to drive.
Carr threw downfield over and over again, hitting his favorite target Amari Cooper for 54 of his 210 yards on the night, in addition to passes to Jared Cook, DeAndre Washington, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Michael Crabtree. After driving 56 yards downfield, Carr hit Jared Cook for a 28-yard reception and what they thought was the game-winning touchdown. TD #1 was reversed on replay as Cook’s hip touched the ground before the goal line.
First and goal on the 1-yard line, Carr hits Crabtree in the end zone. Touchdown #2, but wait, it was reversed due to an Offensive Holding call against Crabtree. First and goal on the 10-yard line, Carr aims for Cook in the end zone but it’s missed due to some defensive holding by Chiefs safety Ron Parker. The game can’t end on a defensive penalty, so with 0:00 left on the clock, the Raiders set at the five-yard line. Carr takes the snap and passes to Patterson, which is again snagged but he’s pushed out of bounds thanks to due to some more defensive holding by Chiefs corner Eric Murray. Again, you can’t end the game on a defensive penalty.
Take three, still 0:00 on the clock. Carr takes the snap, rolls left and hits Michael Crabtree right in the bread basket. Touchdown Raiders. After review, the call is upheld and the Raiders tie the game at 30-30. Tavecchio kicks the game-winning PAT and Raider Nation explodes in wondrous excitement and bewilderment – “we just beat the Chiefs and ended not only our 5-game losing streak but their undefeated season”. Any fan worth their salt was screaming and jumping up and down celebrating that electric moment. Heck, I still get chills when I watch it.