Oakland, CA – In their final curtain call, the Oakland Raiders took their final bow at a place they’ve called home for thirty-eight years. As the season comes to a close next week, Oakland still has no idea where they’ll play next season before moving to their new home in Las Vegas in 2020.
While that uncertainty looms, the Raiders gave their fans a phenomenal show. Beating their division rivals, the Denver Broncos, 24-17 on Monday Night Football may have been the best Christmas present that one could have ask for because after a tumultuous season, Oakland may have played their final game in the Coliseum.
Doug Martin thanks the fans:
Martin finished the game with 21 carries for 107 yards that included one touchdown. A native of Oakland, Martin hopes, like Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, that the team will remain at the Coliseum for their final season in the Bay Area. But that option has turned ugly with the City of Oakland suing the Raiders due to their departure to Vegas.
“I don’t want to get too sentimental tonight,” Gruden said. “Hopefully that’s not the case. That’s for other people to decide. You see the love affair these fans have for the Raiders.”
Oakland got off to a great start when Dwayne Harris’ punt return for 99 yards put the Raiders on the board first. It was the first time a player has scored a touchdown on a punt return since 2011. There was complete dominance by Oakland’s running game today. Martin rushed for a 24-yard touchdown in the second followed by Daniel Carson’s 43-yard field goal to end the first half 17-0.
Jalen Richard’s 3-yard touchdown in the fourth capped off a strong finish for Oakland on Monday Night Football. Guys came out and gave it their all. The Raiders were strong on both offense and defense. The Broncos didn’t score until the third quarter. Case Keenum connected with DaeSean Hamilton for a 7-yard touchdown.
Denver had a plethora of opportunities but racked up a slew of penalties and had two costly turnovers. Keenum found Courtland Sutton for a 19-yard touchdown making it a 23-13 game in the fourth. But his deep pass intended for Tim Patrick was intercepted by Marcus Gilchrist.
That turnover setup Carlson’s second field goal for 45 yards. Then the frustration set in when the Broncos kept moving backwards due to more penalties. Keenum threw his second interception of the day when his pass intended for Sutton was picked off by Erik Harris. Derek Carr ran out the clock to end the game after that play.
“It’s always good to be able to go out there and kind of end the game defensively,” Gilchrist said. “Think back to the second game of the season when we played these guys, we had a chance to go out and end it and we didn’t. It’s good to come back full-circle here on a Monday night and be able to get a couple of stops.”
It was a great win tonight, but this moment was more for the fans. Just as many players stated, the fans came out in the rain to support a team who finished the season with possibly a 5-11 record. Probably one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Yet, the fans still showed their love for the game and the team.
Fans rocking out:
After Oakland’s win, the sellout crowd remained standing in their seats and just danced to the DJ. Some overzealous fans ran out on the field, only to be escorted off by Oakland police and into a jail cell for the night. Regardless of the outcome, the Raiders played their final home game of the season and it was pretty spectacular.
“Honestly, it was emotional,” Carr said. “I know it stings. I know it hurts that we might not play here [next year] … But I was going to make sure that if this was the last time, I wanted to say thank you, in whatever way I could.”