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49ers boost Raiders’ chances for NFL Draft’s top pick

Updated December 16, 2018 - 6:36 pm

CINCINNATI — The Raiders received good news Sunday on their flight home from Ohio.

They’re on pace for the No. 2 overall pick.

An overtime game in Santa Clara, California, went the team’s way. The San Francisco 49ers entered the weekend in position to own the No. 1 overall pick next April. Because they upset the Seattle Seahawks, they fell to the No. 4 choice. The Raiders moved up from No. 3 to No. 2.

The Raiders and Arizona Cardinals share a 3-11 record.

Arizona owns a worse strength of schedule, so it would own the top overall pick in favor of the Raiders if the season ended today.

TD Lee

Lee Smith keeps finding the end zone.

The Raiders tight end scored for a third straight week; before that stretch, he didn’t score in 35 consecutive games. Smith celebrated by jumping into the crowd near a boy who was wearing a Raiders jersey.

“Hopefully I gave him a Christmas memory,” said Smith, whose 1-yard score came in the second quarter. “I’ve got kids, so hopefully the little kid enjoyed it.”

Smith was told about his previous scoring drought.

He and tight end Derek Carrier, whose lockers sit beside each other’s, chimed in at the same time: “When it rains, it pours.”

“It’s just the way it goes, right?” Smith added. “Obviously, I don’t think that I’m turning into a pass-receiving, fantasy dream by any means. We’ve been in the goal line a lot. Coach (Jon) Gruden and the guys have put in great plays. I’ve just happened to grab a few.”

Notable

— Cornerback Gareon Conley exited Sunday with a third-quarter concussion. His head slammed into turf after leaping into the air for a pass that fell incomplete.

— Quarterback Derek Carr has not been intercepted on a franchise-record 299 straight passes. He surpassed quarterback Rich Gannon’s stretch of 278 set in 2001.

— Tight end Darren Waller recorded his first carry and catch Sunday with the Raiders. Both were explosive plays. He gained 21 yards on a sweep during the first quarter and, during the second, 44 yards on a crossing route. On the latter, he was tackled at the 1-yard line, setting up Smith’s score. The Raiders signed Waller off the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad on Nov. 27.

— Safety Erik Harris recorded his first career interception. It came on a first-quarter play that immediate followed a Carr lost fumble on a strip sack.

— Carr caught his own batted pass in the third quarter for a minus-9 yard gain. He now ranks last in Raiders history with minus-9 career receiving yards. “Yeah, I need to get those stats up,” Carr said with a laugh. “It was a reaction. The ball was tipped, and I didn’t even think and stuck my hand out. I wish I just let it fall.”

— Daniel Carlson converted three field goals Sunday, including one from 53 yards. He is 13-for-14 since joining the club in October. At 92.9 percent, he is on track for the most accurate single season in franchise history. The previous mark is 91.2 percent, established in 2012 when Sebastian Janikowski went 31-of-34.

— The Bengals sacked Carr five times Sunday. He’s been sacked at least three times in 11 of past 12 games. This occurred 13 times in his first 64 NFL games, including three occasions during 2016 and 2017 seasons combined.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

 Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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