The Raiders fought hard in a cold Christmas Eve road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night but ultimately lost following a game-winning drive from Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett. When it was all said and done, the Raiders recorded their ninth loss of the season by a score of 13-10.
As it did throughout the NFL on Saturday, weather was a significant factor in the game. Wind chill brought temperatures below zero and snow was blowing throughout the matchup.
“They played better, coached better than we did,” head coach Josh McDaniels said after the loss. “Too many mistakes.”
The Raiders opened the Christmas Eve scoring with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Renfrow on the team’s first possession.
The next scoring opportunity came at the end of a nine-play drive by the Steelers, but Chris Boswell couldn’t convert the 43-yard attempt and the Raiders took back possession with a seven-point lead.
The rest of the first half ground to a halt as the Steelers burned almost eight minutes on a 15-play, 62-yard drive. This time around, Boswell connected on a 44-yard field goal to put the Steelers on the board with under two minutes to play.
Carr put the Raiders in a great position to get points before half with a 34-yard deep pass to TE Darren Waller. As the clock wound down, Daniel Carlson added three more for the Raiders with a 40-yard field goal to regain a seven-point lead.
The Raiders and Steelers traded interceptions early in the second half on back-to-back plays. Raiders LB Denzel Perryman intercepted Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett, and then Carr was picked by Steelers CB Arthur Maulet.
Kicking continued to be the night’s leading story as Boswell missed his second field goal of the game on the ensuing drive.
Carr threw his second interception of the half on the following Raiders drive, this time picked off by star Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick.
After trading punts, the Steelers got their second made field goal of the game, a 40-yarder from Boswell early in the fourth quarter.
With the game winding down, the Steelers drove down the field with a chance to win with a touchdown. With 46 seconds remaining and on the 10th play of the long drive, Pickett found fellow rookie WR George Pickens in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.
“We were late. We had a double and we were just late getting to the double,” McDaniels said about the game-winning touchdown. “He made a good throw. It was a good route. We’ve got to be on it a little bit tighter at that time of the game.”
With the Raiders needing a quick operation to get into field goal range, Carr floated a pass down the middle of the field that was picked off to end the game.
Carr finished 16 of 30 passing for 174 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in the difficult conditions. Each of the Raiders’ top offensive options in Adams, Jacobs, Waller and Renfrow only produced modest numbers in the loss.
The Raiders are facing official elimination from the playoffs pending the results from games played on Sunday and Monday, but it would take more than a miracle to see the 6-9 Raiders in the playoffs now after the road loss to the Steelers.
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