Raiders defeat Colts 23-20, move into playoff position

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The Raiders won another thrilling game Sunday with their backs against the wall in another must-win scenario. The Raiders defeated the Colts 23-20 with a game-winning kick by Daniel Carlson.

The win on Sunday will set up the Raiders with a win-and-in next Sunday as they host the Chargers. After an unreal season, the Raiders are knocking on the door for their first playoff appearance since 2016.

“Regardless of the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows during the game,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said after the win. “I think you can see the energy from all the players whether it was on the offensive side or defensive side, just pulling for their brothers in there. Never took a step back the entire game.”

First Half

The Raiders started with the football and struck quick with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a goal-line score from RB Josh Jacobs.

The Raiders defense worked quick on the following drive, forcing a three-and-out and giving the ball back to Carr and the offense to operate with the lead. But Carr would make his first mistake of the game, underthrowing WR DeSean Jackson deep down the field and allowing CB Isaiah Rodgers to intercept the pass.

After a punt, breakout WR Hunter Renfrow returned a punt 40 yards to put the Raiders in Colts territory late in the first quarter. The Colts would respond with a field goal of their own to get on the board and make the score 10-3.

“(Renfrow) makes big plays in big situations and he’s done it his whole career,” Bisaccia said after the game. “He did it at Clemson and now he’s doing it in the National Football League. I can’t say enough about the chemistry between him and Derek (Carr).”

Renfrow finished with seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown.

The two teams would trade punts before the Raiders put together a drive to put themselves in scoring position at the two-minute warning, but the drive would stall and the Raiders would settle for a field goal to extend their lead.

The Colts executed a textbook two-minute drill to get the ball into the redzone, and MVP candidate RB Jonathan Taylor punched in a one-yard TD with only one second remaining on the clock in the first half. The Raiders lead was shrunk to 13-10 as the teams headed into the locker room.

Second Half

Fortune would favor the Colts at the beginning of the second half. QB Carson Wentz attempted a deep pass into the endzone intended for WR Ashton Dulin. The ball was underthrown and tipped into the air right into the hands of veteran WR T.Y. Hilton for a touchdown, giving the Colts a 17-13 lead.

Carr would throw another interception to LB Darius Leonard, but the Colts would not score any points off the turnover.

Both teams would trade punts until the Raiders put together a touchdown drive capped off by Carr connecting with Renfrow in the endzone for an 11-yard TD on fourth down, giving the Raiders the lead back with the score 20-17.

The Colts would tie the game with under two minutes remaining, setting up Carr and the Raiders to pull off another thrilling win with their playoff lives on the line. The key play of the game’s final drive was a long pass to Renfrow, who appeared to not be touched as he fell to the turf, got back on his feet, and ran in a long touchdown. But after review, Renfrow was ruled down by contact.

But the damage was done in terms of field position, and the Raiders brought out kicker Daniel Carlson for a 33-yard, game-winning field that was easy work for one of the league’s most clutch kickers.

On the Brink

The Raiders need to win only one more game to secure a playoff berth. The team has gotten hot at the right time, and they’ll be riding a three-game winning streak as they meet their division rival Chargers next Sunday to decide their playoff fate.

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