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5 things we learned from Raiders’ 31-30 comeback win over Chiefs

Derek Carr saved the game and kept the Raiders’ season alive.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs nearly put away the Oakland Raiders, who were dangerously close to falling to 2-5, effectively ending their playoff hopes. However, Derek Carr led the team on an incredible game-winning drive, giving the Raiders the 31-30 win in a wild and crazy Thursday night contes.

Carr seemingly had the game won when he hit Jared Cook near the goal line, but officials overturned the touchdown play on review. On the next play, he hit Michael Crabtree in the end zone, but that got waved off for offensive pass interference. When the clock ran down to zero, Carr missed Cook, but that play had defensive pass interference, leading to an untimed down.

We got yet another untimed down after yet another defensive holding call, and this time it counted, with Carr hitting Crabtree for the win.

In the first quarter, the Raiders scored the first touchdown on a flea-flicker pass to Amari Cooper, though it sure looked like he committed offensive pass interference. KC fired back with an Alex Smith touchdown pass to Travis Kelce and Oakland responded with Cooper’s second score as the game became an exciting back-and-forth.

The Chiefs got the lead back on a perfect 64-yard bomb from Smith to Tyreek Hill, exploiting soft holes in the Raiders’ secondary. Things got strange later in the second quarter, when Marshawn Lynch ran off the bench to help break up a scuffle and shoved an official, leading to him getting ejected. The Chiefs took a 20-14 lead into halftime.

The Raiders briefly held a 21-20 lead after a DeAndre Washington score, but the Chiefs pulled a miracle straight out of the Auburn playbook, with Albert Wilson pulling down a tipped pass and housing it for 63 yards.

As the Chiefs’ lead extended to nine points, two missed field goals by the Raiders earlier in the game came back to haunt them. They made one field goal to make it 30-24 and the defense made a big stop late, setting up Carr for some last-minute heroics. He hit Cooper for a 39-yard gain to get inside Chiefs territory with less than a minute left and set up the wild final sequence.

Five things we learned

1. Marshawn gonna Marshawn

It figures that Lynch’s ejection happened when he wasn’t even in the game. He was on the bench during a play where Carr got hit late, leading to a shoving contest between both teams. Lynch ran on the field, presumably to help Marcus Peters (the two are close friends) and ended up shoving a ref to get tossed.

Things got even stranger after Lynch left the field, seemingly leaving the stadium altogether ...

... or did he?

Whatever the case, Lynch will almost certainly face discipline from the league office for this incident.

2. Amari Cooper was at both his best and worst

Cooper had a fast start to this game with two touchdown in the first quarter, including this score where he straight-up out-ran the rest of the Chiefs’ defense. It was a big turning point for Cooper, who’s been struggling to produce consistently all season.

Cooper finished with 11 catches for 210 yards, by far his best game of the season. However, it wasn’t a perfect performance, since he had some brutal drive-killing drops and committed the same type of mistakes that have plagued his season so far. Still, this was a much-needed confidence booster for Cooper, who stepped up and produced with Peters locking down Michael Crabtree for most of the night. More performances like this, and his bad start to the season will be a memory.

3. The Raiders’ defense remains susceptible to big plays

This game would probably be a lot different if the Raiders didn’t give up massive plays on defense, flipping the scoreboard multiple times in the Chiefs’ favor.

This problem was best exemplified in the second quarter. After a perfect punt by Marquette King pinned the Chiefs on their own 1-yard line, the Raiders went on to give up 99 yards on just three plays, culminating in this game-changing touchdown by Hill.

Another crucial mistake happened in the third quarter. What should’ve been an interception instead got tipped up in the air and into the arms of Wilson, with nothing but green in front of him. This happened after the Raiders came back to take a 21-20 lead, only to instantly lost the momentum again.

The Raiders really need to clean up these mistakes as they try to get their season back on track.

4. Derek Carr is a hero

Just three weeks removed from breaking bones in his back, Carr was back to 100 percent and spinning the ball all over the field. He finished with 417 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-52 passing, including the game-winning touchdown drive.

The Raiders still have a lot of flaws, but as long as they have Carr, they won’t be counted out most week.

5. The Raiders are back from the brink

Losing this game would’ve dropped the Raiders to 2-5 and 0-3 in division play, which would’ve all but eliminated them from AFC West contention. They’re not all the way back yet, but 3-4 looks a lot better after that dramatic conclusion.

After this game, the Raiders hit the road for away games with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins before their Week 10 bye. They’re still in must-win mode and neither team is a total pushover, so there’s a lot of work for this team to do. However, they’re not totally dead yet and they have Carr to thank for that.