Programming note: Watch Raiders Press Conference Live today at 2:00 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California, and streaming live right here.
OAKLAND – The Raiders established an early lead on Sunday against Buffalo, held on to it despite some tense moments and emerged with a 26-24 victory. It was their third straight home win, an admirable fight considering how late in the season it came about.
The Raiders played extremely well in most phases, but they could’ve been better in others. Here are three negative takeaways from Sunday’s win:
1. Too close for comfort: The Raiders took a two-score lead into the fourth quarter, but some sloppy defense allowed Buffalo to get back in the game. The Bills cut it to 19-17 with a 29-yard touchdown catch by Scott Chandler. The offense responded with a score of it’s own – how about Derek Carr finding Andre Holmes to convert on 3rd-and-22? – to expand the lead. Game over, right? Wrong. The defense allowed another big play and the Bills were a successful onside kick away from going for the game winner.
2. DJ’s rough day: Second-year cornerback DJ Hayden was picked on a bit by the Buffalo Bills. According to stats from Pro Football Focus, Hayden allowed eight receptions in nine targets for 99 yards, two touchdowns and a 152.1 passer rating. He played solid save two big pass plays, a 42-yard TD strike to Sammy Watkins – in his defense, quarterback Kyle Orton had all day to throw – and Robert Woods broke free on a 30-yard score late in the game.
3. Raiders drop back down draft board: The Raiders entered Sunday’s game with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. The victory, one everyone from fans to upper management will take over a few draft spots, pushed the Raiders down to No. 5.
They can’t go lower than No. 6, even with a win at Denver. The higher the draft pick, the greater value it would have in trade.
Don’t forget: the Raiders had the fifth pick last year, and got a potential superstar in Khalil Mack.