OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) For everything that has gone wrong for Oakland this season, from a four-game losing streak to the defensive coordinator who was fired from the offensive back, the Raiders are somehow in contention in the AFC West mediocre.
Oakland received a boost on Sunday when they won a 21-14 victory over the Denver Broncos despite losing star receiver Michael Crabtree to an ejection for his role in a fight and almost squandering a 21-point lead to a last team of the place.
"It's a relief," said Carr, who threw two touchdown pbades. "And now, we sit where we sit and we know what awaits us, it was a great relief to get this victory, get back on the right track and hopefully we can go for a run."
With Kansas City (6-5) losing for the fifth time in six games, the Raiders (5-6) are now tied with the Chargers for second place and need only Win your own games to take the title of the division thanks to this last victory.
It was a wild tournament, starting with the first-quarter bout between Crabtree and Denver cornerback Aqib Talib that overshadowed a week of turmoil for both teams. Denver fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and made another quarterback change to start Paxton Lynch, and Oakland fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
The fight was the continuation of a dispute that began last season when Talib He started the Crabtree chain during the end of the season. Crabtree missed the first game between the teams this year but lost little time looking for revenge.
On the second play of Oakland's second series, Crabtree aggressively blocked Talib on a run play and brought him to the floor on the Broncos' sideline. Talib tore the Crabtree chain from his neck while they were entangled, and a fight ensued. Guard Gabe Jackson pushed an officer while trying to join and was expelled, along with Crabtree and Talib.
"I think his initiative was to go out and fight today," said Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who said Crabtree "gave him a punch" in the previous play. "I guess it was not to play football."
Here are some other key points of the game:
PAXTON PROBLEMS: The switch to Lynch did not provide a spark for the Broncos. He threw only 41 yards on 14 attempts while taking four sacks before leaving with an ankle injury. Trevor Siemian came in and threw two TD pbades in the fourth quarter. But coach Vance Joseph was not ready to commit to a quarterback for next week.
"This was the first week I played with all these guys in a long time," said Lynch. "I felt good out there to play with them, but obviously this is not the result we all wanted."
INCREASING: With Crabtree ejected and Amari Cooper with a concussion, the Raiders had to rely on some less-used receivers. Johnny Holton and Cordarrelle Patterson both stepped up with big plays. Holton had a 47-yard catch in a deep pitch to set up Oakland's third touchdown and Patterson had a catch and he rushed for 54 yards in a final third that allowed Oakland to run out of time.
"He just stepped up and did what we're supposed to do," Patterson said. "We know what we can do for that when people go down to their next man."
HISTORICAL SKID: It's been a long time since things have been so bad for the Broncos. His seven-game losing streak is the longest since a nine-man franchise game in 1967.
"I'm just irritated," linebacker Shane Ray said. "I do not like losing, my teammates do not like to lose … We are doing everything possible to try to be better and fight for our teammates, and you know it's frustrating when these losses are like that."
BEAST MODE: Oakland kept delivering the ball to Marshawn Lynch, even if it did not lead to much success. He had 26 carries for 67 yards, averaging only 2.6 yards on his busiest day since leaving retirement this season. But he scored on a 1-yard touchdown and added 44 yards on three receptions.
GREAT SUCCESS: The Raiders were upset by the blow that left Cooper out. In a pbad through the middle, safety Darian Stewart ran from his deep position and threw a big punch that knocked out Cooper. Cooper stayed on the floor for several minutes before a car appeared in the field. He ended up walking on his own, but he's in the concussion protocol.
"It was a fierce punch, the kind we try to eliminate from our game with all frankness," said coach Jack Del Rio. "I'm sure the league will badyze it carefully."
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