NASHVILLE, Tenn. -– Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had Andre Holmes open downfield, trusted his read and let it fly. The ball fell incomplete, and left tackle Donald Penn immediately dropped to his knees. Carr was beside himself, ruing another opportunity missed.
That was 4th down late in the fourth quarter, likely the last chance to erase a deficit. Reality set in for a beleaguered group. The Raiders were going to lose four straight.
Then Carr looked downfield and saw saving grace in a little yellow flag. It signified a defensive holding call on Titans cornerback B.W. Webb, and gave the Raiders a first down and second life.
Carr made the most of it, tossing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts two plays later that secured a 24-21 victory over the Titans at Nissan Stadium.
“I saw a bunch of bodies dropping, with guys disappointed because of how much time and effort we put into this thing,” Carr said. “I saw Donald go down and I knew why he was so upset. But I also saw the joy on his face when he saw there was a flag down.”
It was an emotional fourth quarter for a team trying to stay in the playoff hunt after losing three straight games. The game pivoted on that fourth-down play, and the Raiders caught a break they haven’t gotten in the last month.
“That play has been the last couple of weeks for us,” Carr said. “People were dropping all over the place and I started yelling that there was a flag. We got another chance and we went out and won it. Finally we won today. It feels really good to win again.”
The Raiders believe refs made the right call, that Amari Cooper was held on that fourth down play. The Titans obviously disagree.
“I personally think it was a terrible call,” Webb said. “I didn’t grab him at all. But, after it happened, we had no choice but to go out there and try to stop them again. We didn’t. They scored. End of game.”
The victory was a real relief for the Raiders, who were increasingly frustrated by mounting losses while playing under their potential.
“Winning this game brought a real sense of relief,” Roberts said. “That was a stressful one. I’m glad we came out on top.”