In a game featuring two of the longest playoff droughts in the NFL, the (6-5) Buffalo Bills traveled west to take on the AFC leading Oakland Raiders (9-2). The Raiders came into this one riding a season-high five game win streak with the hopes of pushing that to six and picking up home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Bills playoffs hopes still alive coming into Sunday sitting at the number nine seed in the AFC looking to win out as the there best chance of making the playoffs.
Penalties and dropped passes, two key elements that have haunted the Bills offensive attack all season worked in their favor as it was the Raiders who were prone to such mistakes early. On their very first offensive drive of the game MVP candidate Derek Carr connected with Amari Cooper for a 51-yard gain to the Buffalo 14 only to be called back for lining up in an illegal formation. Following the penalty the Bills offense was able to strike first in war would become a defensive standstill for the early part of this one. The Bills would march down the field on a 10-play 72-yard drive to only settle for a Dan Carpenter field goal to start the scoring for either side. A Bills offense that came in leading the league in rushing flipped the script to start in this one, passing the ball for 9 of their first 10 plays.
An offensive unit that ranks within the top ten in all major statical categories saw the Raiders answer right back with a score of their own. Traveling 46-yards on 8 plays Sebastian Janikowski who is having another stellar year kicking the ball tied it up for the Raiders with a 47-yard field goal of his own. In an offensive struggle of a first half the Bills would not give up the lead for long putting together the only touchdown drive of the first half following the Raiders score. It was Mile Gillislee, not LeSean McCoy who was the difference maker on this drive for the Bills as he picked up a 29-yard on the drive that would eventual help set himself up for a 1-yard score of his own, his 5th rushing score of the season and his 3rd in the last four games. McCoy, though would get his in the first half picking up 71 total yards of offense. On the other side Derek Carr struggled mightily in the first half going 9/17 for 112 yards accompanied by some big drops. Amari Cooper accounted for two big drops as well as a Michael Crabtree drop in the end zone only hurt his numbers. Following the drops and miscues the Raiders would go into the half down 10-9 following two more Janikoswki field goals.
The second half the offense showed up early and often, however. On the first drive of the 3rd quarter, the Bills would only need two plays to put points up on the board. A 54-yard run by McCoy set up a Tyrod Taylor 12-yard quarterback keeps extending the Bills lead to 17-9. The big day on the ground continued for the Bills as they picked up over 200-yards rushing midway through only the 3rd quarter. Gillislee picked up his second score of the day on a 2-yard run to further put the Raiders in the whole 24-9.
Making up for his earlier drop, Michael Crabtree brought the Raiders within a one score game with his 7th touchdown reception of the season. The Raiders offense finally coming to life on a 9-play 76-yard drive late in the third quarter. Carr was 5/6 for 58 yard throwing on the drive which ultimately would set up a Raiders come back. An added Latavius Murray touchdown run would make it a one point game at 24-23 Bills heading into the fourth quarter. The Bills lead would be short-lived as the comeback by Carr and the Raiders would be completed on a great 37-yard throw and catch to Amari Cooper as the Raiders went for 21 unanswered points putting them up 30-24. Thing would only go from bad to worse for the Bills as the bleeding would continue as the Raiders offensive onslaught in the second half would continue. Murray second touchdown run of the day with a 2-point conversion would give the Raiders all the points they would need giving them the 38-24 victory.
Following the game the Bills fell to 6-6 on the season and will head back to Buffalo to take on the Steelers.. The Raiders improve to 10-2 and push their win streak to six games and will take on the Chiefs on Thursday Night football.
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