OAKLAND – The Raiders haven’t given home fans much to cheer for this season. They were 2-4 at O.co Coliseum heading into Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, one of two contests left on the home slate.
Heartbreak was on the menu yet again.
The Raiders let another close one slip away, losing 30-20 to the Packers on a soggy afternoon in the East Bay.
Yet another home loss drops the Raiders overall record to 6-8 and cements their 13th straight season without a winning record. It also formally eliminates them from AFC Wild Card contention with two games remaining.
The result was decided with 13 unanswered Packers points to close out this game. Green Bay’s offense controlled tempo with a string of third-down conversions and steady points.
The Raiders didn’t respond in kind, and let another one slip away.
Despite early Raiders' mistakes that led to a 14-0 deficit, this was a close contest throughout. The defense did a solid job preventing big plays, but struggled on third downs of any length. The offense rebounded with some touchdown drives, though not enough to take firm control of the game.
The result was in limbo early in the second half. That’s when the Raiders struck.
Cooper broke the 1,000-yard receiving barrier, one impenetrable for a full decade, in the third quarter and gave the Raiders their first lead with a 26-yard touchdown catch.
The Packers regained it quick, using a big kickoff return and three quick passes to score a touchdown. It went 30 yards to former Raiders receiver and San Jose native James Jones, and gave the Packers a 24-20 lead.
The Packers extended the lead to seven points with a field goal despite a 19-play drive that never crossed the goal line.
The Raiders held Green Bay to 97 yards in the first half, yet found themselves down 14-13 at the break. That happened because Carr threw interceptions on consecutive passes.
His first was underthrown – though safety Micah Hyde may have initiated contact late – and Hyde returned it 34 yards and set up a Packers touchdown.
Carr found Packers cornerback Damarious Randall on his next throw, and the rookie returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.
The Raiders mounted a slow comeback after that, with two field goals and Carr’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. That touchdown came late in the second quarter after safety Charles Woodson levied a big hit on James Starks, which allowed Benson Mayowa to strip and recover his own forced fumble.
Cooper cracks 1,000: Amari Cooper became the first Raider with 1,000 receiving yards since Randy Moss did it in 2005. Cooper broke through on a 41-yard catch deep down the right sideline midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s game.
Cooper wasn’t done on that drive. He created space a few plays later and hauled in a 26-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 20-17 lead with under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Carr had yet another uneven home game, completing 23-of-47 passes for 276 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and an 63.8 passer rating.
Rodgers was just good enough to overcome solid Raiders run defense. He was 22-of-39 passing for one touchdown and a late interception.
[RELATED: Cooper becomes Raiders' first 1,000-yard WR since 2005]
Mack gets more sacks: Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack added to his sack total after getting five last week at Denver. He got another one early in Sunday’s game, tripping Rodgers up by the shoelaces on third down.
That gave him 15 for the season, one under the franchise record set by Derrick Burgess in 2005.
Injury update: Important Raiders suffered key injuries in this game. Defensive lineman Mario Edwards went down early. The rookie suffered a neck injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Receiver Seth Roberts suffered an abdominal injury shortly after dropping a touchdown pass in the second quarter that kept him out the rest of the game.
The Raiders announced that veteran pass catcher Michael Crabtree was being evaluated for a concussion, but returned and finished the game
Hayden back in mix: Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden has been largely glued to the sideline in recent weeks, but got back into the mix with Neiko Thorpe inactive with a neck injury.
Other Raiders inactives: S Nate Allen, WR Rod Streater, TE Gabe Holmes, RB Roy Helu, OL Matt McCants and DL Leon Orr.
What's next: The Raiders are in the midst of playing two games in a five-day stretch. The face the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night – every NFL team has one – for a Christmas Eve showdown that could be the last Raiders game in Oakland. The league is expected to choose teams to relocate to the Los Angeles market in January. The Raiders and Chargers are both in the running, with a stadium proposal competing with the St. Louis Rams’ option.