OAKLAND, Calif. – After the final seconds, Derek Carr He ran straight into the black hole with several teammates before taking a victory lap around the Coliseum to celebrate with his fans.
If this is really the ultimate game ever in Oakland, the Raiders have given their fans a lot to cheer for at the end of another disappointing season.
Dwayne Harris returned a 99-yard punt for a touchdown after Denver failed to knock him out, native to Oakland Doug Martin He ran for 107 yards and a score and the Raiders beat the Broncos by 27-14 on Monday night in what was possibly the last game of the NFL at the Coliseum.
"It was exciting because while I was doing this I was remembering all the memories, from the ankle break to the fourth-place wins, to three choices in a room," said Carr. "I know it hurts, I know it hurts that we can not play here, I do not know, I would make sure if this was the last time, I wanted to thank you anyway I could."
The Raiders (4-11) are expected to move to Las Vegas in 2020 and will not have a contract for next year. With Oakland officials having sued the team over the move, the Raiders are looking for other options for 2019, including AT & T Park in San Francisco.
A decision is expected before the Super Bowl, but many of the diehards came out to this game knowing that it could be the last game of the NFL in the stadium that was inaugurated in 1966.
"I do not want to get too sentimental today," coach Jon Gruden said. "I hope that's not the case, that's for other people to decide, you see the love affair these fans have for the Raiders."
While the Raiders celebrated, the Broncos (6-9) hit a low point after being assured of consecutive seasons of losing records for the first time since 1971-72. After going 5-11 in the first season of coach Vance Joseph, Denver did little better in year two and general manager John Elway could be ready to make a change after the season.
The Broncos opened the month with the aspirations of the playoffs, but three straight defeats for the teams that entered the game with record losses ended those hopes and made the team look for answers.
"The message is to keep fighting," Joseph said. "That's what we do now. We have one more game and this team has fought all year."
Shortly after native Oakland Marshawn Lynch lit the torch in honor of the late owner Al Davis before the game, Harris made the most highlight with a return to the pot that was tied for the second longest of all time.
Andre Holmes deviated Colby Wadmanpunt just before crossing the finish line and Isaac Yiadom was in position to lower him at 1. But he could not hold the ball and Harris caught before running 99 yards down the sideline for the touchdown that surprised the Broncos. Only Patrick Peterson (99 yards) and Robert Bailey (103) have such long returns in NFL history.
"As soon as he played, I knew I was going to try to return it if he tried to throw it back," Harris said. "I've been trying to make this move all season … As soon as he did it, I knew it was an opportunity for me to take advantage of it."
The Broncos were not much better in the other stages of the game, with pre-snap penalties, generating almost no consistent offense in the first half and then allowing Martin to run 24 untouched yards to the finish to make 14-0 in the middle. the second quarter.
"It was definitely important for me and the players to give this win to Oakland fans over Christmas," Martin said. "Merry Christmas to Oakland, I hope you enjoyed it, we love you."
Keenum case I have the Broncos on the board with a couple of TD passes in the second half to DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton. But it was not enough Jalen Richard scored in a 3-yard race for Oakland and the Raiders sealed the win with interceptions by Marcus Gilchrist and Erik Harris.
RED FLAG ALERT
Gruden threw his defending flag after Keenum's 19-yard TD pass to Sutton, believing Keenum crossed the line before the pitch. But scoring plays are automatically reviewed and the repeating booth confirms the call without a stop. Oakland was charged with a time limit, the second time this season Gruden attempted to challenge a TD.
The Raiders entered the game allowing the highest number of points per game in the history of the franchise since 1961, but did not give up anything in the first half against the Broncos. It is the third direct encounter between the teams, where Denver failed to score in the first half. Those are the only times in the last 90 games that Oakland launched a shutout in the first half.
Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in the first half, joining Dominic Rhodes and LaGarrette Blount as the only rookies to reach a record of 1,000 in a season in the Super Bowl era. Lindsay ran for 46 yards before leaving with a wrist injury and as he has 1,037 on the season. He needs another 68 to break the Rhodes record in 2001 for Indianapolis.
Broncos: Hosts host on Sunday.
Raiders: Visit the bosses on Sunday.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL