Updated November 20, 2022 - 7:36 pm
DENVER — In what almost seems like another lifetime ago, the Raiders once envisioned the type of magic that unfolded in their 22-16 overtime win over the Broncos on Sunday.
Maxx Crosby chasing down opposing quarterbacks. Davante Adams torching helpless secondaries. Role players stepping up to deliver important contributions. Derek Carr orchestrating clutch drives to win games.
“That’s Raiders football right there,” Carr said after he hit a wide-open Adams for a 35-yard touchdown on the first possession of overtime. “That’s the kind of stuff we’re trying to push.”
It’s exactly what they had in mind when they put this all together last spring. It’s what they pictured during organized team activities and training camp before they stumbled to a 2-7 start.
But for one cold afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High, potential finally became reality and the stars aligned as planned.
A key defensive stop late in the fourth quarter gave Carr just enough time to drive the Raiders 71 yards in seven plays, keyed by clutch throws to Keelan Cole for 21 yards and Josh Jacobs for 43 yards to set up Daniel Carlson for a 25-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.
The drive was a tone-changer. Where confidence had been waning, to the point of Carr being on the verge of tears after last week’s loss to the Colts, all of a sudden the Raiders believed again.
“You could feel it from everybody,” Carr said.
The Raiders (3-7) got the ball to start overtime after winning a coin toss for only the second time this season, and building off the momentum of the end-of-regulation drive, they remained aggressive.
On second down, tight end Foster Moreau broke off a tight route to the middle of the field, where Carr hit him in stride for a 33-yard gain to the Broncos’ 35.
Moreau had spent much of the game as an extra blocker helping Jermaine Elumenor, who was starting in place of injured left tackle Kolton Miller. But with the game on the line, the Raiders turned the tables by releasing Moreau as a receiver.
“Foster made a great read,” coach Josh McDaniels said.
The result was a clean route to make himself available for Carr.
“The window he found so I could throw it to him was unbelievable,” Carr said.
It wasn’t just the catch, but the 19 yards Moreau picked up by barreling down the field as a runner. With every yard he fought for, the more fired up his teammates became.
“Big-time playmaking is contagious,” Adams said. “We talk about that all the time. Somebody getting that spark, getting it going.”
As if on cue, on the next play, Adams made the perfect route adjustment to slip the Broncos’ coverage, and Carr hit him in stride for the game-winning touchdown.
Adams was so wide open that Carr had to give himself a reminder just before throwing the ball.
“Don’t overthrow it,” said Carr, laughing.
On the other end, Adams felt like he was watching a movie.
“It happens slow, and it happens fast,” he said. “It was just locking on the ball and making the play.”
And, for a brief moment, the pain of losing six one-score games had vanished into the thin Denver air.
Carr finished with 307 yards and two touchdowns on 23-for-37 passing. Jacobs ran for 109 yards on 24 carries. Adams had seven catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Crosby had two sacks.
And while the Raiders were penalized nine times for 98 yards, thanks to Carr’s 26th fourth-quarter comeback drive and his 32nd career game-winning drive, it didn’t matter.
The Raiders still remain one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments, but their work Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak allowed them the chance to finally smile.
“One of the biggest things we’ve been emphasizing lately is just getting back to having a lot of fun out there,” Adams said.