The Oakland Raiders are 2-8 now after snapping a five-game losing streak with a 23-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The victory couldn’t have come at a better time, because it appeared as though the rocky relationship of Jon Gruden and Derek Carr was reaching a boiling point.
Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract to be the coach of the Raiders in the offseason, and Carr signed a five-year, $125 million extension with the team in 2017. The idea was to pair the coach and quarterback together for an era of offensive success, but it’s mostly been a mess so far.
The Raiders’ dysfunction was on full display for most of their game against the Cardinals. Gruden and Carr bickered on the sideline, made up, bickered again, and then were all smiles when Daniel Carlson kicked a 35-yard field goal to win it for Oakland.
Here’s how it all went down in Arizona:
The Raiders strike right away
After Arizona opened the game with an interception on their second play, the Raiders took advantage with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Jared Cook on their third play.
Gruden didn’t get much camera time after the touchdown, but you can imagine he was happy. Carr certainly was.
Then the Raiders offense went sour
Oakland punted on its next three possessions — including two three-and-outs — allowing the Cardinals to take a 14-7 lead. The Raiders also got a penalty for calling back-to-back timeouts.
The happy feelings from the first minutes of the game were gone.
The exchange didn’t stop there. It got to the point that Raiders tight end Lee Smith reportedly had to step in to cool things down:
Per @townsendradio, Lee Smith "grabbed" Jon Gruden by the neck to calm him down as he got after Derek Carr in heated sideline exchange.— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) November 18, 2018
The Raiders clawed back
A touchdown in the second quarter tied things up and then the Raiders finally got the lead back early in the second half. But the field goal that gave Oakland the lead came after the Raiders blew good field position with a penalty and a sack.
Carr was okay with the field goal ... Gruden not so much.
Another field goal got Gruden back in good spirits
The Raiders had a chance to take a commanding lead, but they were stood up on the goal line. Gruden looked okay with the chip shot field goal, and it seemed the frustrations from earlier in the game had disappeared:
Another FG. Carr wins Gruden over. pic.twitter.com/pmbzFKfdgU— Grant Boone (@grantboone) November 18, 2018
Between the third and fourth quarter, CBS showed more video of Gruden and Carr being pals again.
Then it fell apart again
Oakland drove into Cardinals territory with a chance to put the game out of reach, but the drive stalled and the Raiders were forced to punt. Gruden wasn’t happy about it and he had another exchange with Carr that looked awfully similar to the one in the first half:
Jon Gruden's exchange with Derek Carr here is certainly something pic.twitter.com/TUp32y1Z1c— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 18, 2018
The frustration continued when the Cardinals took the lead with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Josh Rosen to Larry Fitzgerald. The Raiders punted on their next two possessions, but then ...
The Raiders pulled a win out of their ass
With about two minutes to work with and the Raiders backed up on their own 20-yard line, Carr orchestrated a game-winning drive. He had a 32-yard completion to Marcel Ateman and a 20-yard completion to Seth Roberts to get into Arizona territory. It set up Carlson’s game-winner and Gruden was back in a good mood again.
The Gruden-Carr relationship is a story we haven’t heard the last of, but for now, all’s well that ends well.