The Oakland Raiders came back from an early deficit to beat the Buffalo Bills 38-24 in an AFC battle earlier today.
Oakland entered Sunday's game with a 9-2 record, looking to extend their lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the competitive AFC West division.
Entering Oakland with a 6-5 record, Buffalo looked to grab a road win and stay in the AFC wild card picture.
A low-scoring first half of play in the Oakland Coliseum saw three Sebastian Janikowski field goals for Oakland, one field goal from Buffalo's Dan Carpenter, and a one-yard touchdown run from Buffalo's tailback Mike Gillislee, resulting in a 10-9 halftime lead for the Bills.
Buffalo was able to extend their lead after halftime with two consecutive drives resulting in touchdowns.
Buffalo's first scoring drive in the third quarter was a quick one, due in large part to a 54-yard run from LeSean McCoy. McCoy was one of the bright spots for Bills today, finishing with 130 yards on 17 carries and seven receptions for 61 yards according to ESPN.. Following McCoy's 54-yard run, Tyrod Taylor scored on a 12-yard run, putting Buffalo up 17-9. Taylor had some success running but had an anemic day passing, completing only 18 of 35 passing attempts for 191 yards according to ESPN.. Taylor was also sacked four times and threw an interception. After an Oakland punt, Buffalo put together another scoring drive, going 54 yards on 10 plays and ending in a two-yard Gillislee touchdown, his second touchdown of the day. Gillislee's score gave the Bills a commanding 24-9 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Bills second straight touchdown came as their last and as a turning point in the game. Following Gilislee's touchdown run, Oakland scored 29 unanswered points, pulling off their biggest comeback in the past 16 years according to ESPN..
At the driver seat of Oakland's comeback was quarterback Derek Carr. Despite suffering from an injured finger on his throwing hand and not being able to take snaps directly under center, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr continued his fantastic season with two touchdowns and 260 yards passing according to ESPN.
In only his third season out of Fresno State, Carr is leading the offense of possibly the best team in football. Carr is building off of the individual success he experienced last season where he threw for almost 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns according to ESPN. Through 11 games this season, Carr has 3,115 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 100.5 according to ESPN.. The success out of Carr is not only a surprise because of his inexperience but because of the fact that he has to play the vaunted Denver and Kansas City defenses four times a year.
Carr's success has been aided by former University of Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. Carr and Cooper have already developed as one of the best quarterback, receiver combos in the league. Cooper burst on to the NFL scene last year in a rookie campaign that saw him collect 1,070 yards on 72 catches and six touchdowns according to ESPN. Through 11 games this season, Cooper has 922 yards on 66 catches according to ESPN.
Carr connected on passing touchdowns to Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper during the Raiders comeback.
Raiders running back Latavious Murray also scored two touchdowns for Oakland in the second half.
Former University of Buffalo Bull standout and current Raider, Khalil Mack left his mark on Sunday's game in a big way. According to ESPN, Mack finished with seven tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a tipped pass that resulted in a Tyrod Taylor interception. Mack's efforts kept Buffalo scoreless from the middle of the third quarter on. Only in his third season, Mack is becoming an unstoppable force on the defensive end, impacting the game in every possible way in the fashion of Von Miller or a healthy J.J Watt.
After Oakland's sixth straight win, it is clear that their success is not a fluke. The Raiders will enter the final part of this season as a Super Bowl contender. If the Raiders can keep the core of Carr, Cooper, and Mack together, NFL fans can expect greatness out of Oakland for years to come.
Oakland's next game is Thursday, December 8, at Kansas City.
The Bills collapse on Sunday puts them almost completely out of reach for a playoff spot, marking another disappointing season for fans in Buffalo.
Buffalo plays at home next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
[Featured Image by D. Ross Cameron/AP Images]