Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers suffered another devastating loss in the final seconds of the fourth quarter on Sunday as the Oakland Raiders beat them at home 35-32.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr came back from an injured pinkie to lead his team to a fourth-quarter comeback. The Raiders have now won their fifth straight game and are at the top of the National Football League with an impressive 9-2 record.
Down four going into the fourth quarter, Carr hit WR Michael Crabtree with a 49-yard hail mary from the 14-yard line to set kicker Sebastian Janikowski up for an easy 23-yard field goal which gave Oakland the lead. Cam Newton and company were able to get into Oakland’s territory on the final drive, but Greg Olsen dropped a pass which would have put Carolina in field goal range.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection couldn’t stop beating himself up over the drop saying, “You have to catch the ball. I have caught a lot of balls in this league, and the team relies on me to make plays and come to me when shit is on the line.”
Despite having a glove on his injured right hand and leaving the game when he hurt his right pinkie in the third quarter, Carr led his team to victory.
Both teams were missing some key players, however. Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly missed the game with a concussion and rusher Mario Addison was out with a foot injury. Oakland also played without their linebacker Perry Riley Jr., who was out with a hamstring injury, and they were without CB David Amerson who has a knee injury.
The Carolina Panthers loss puts them at 4-7 on the season, but that’s not the only trouble for the Panthers. As of Tuesday, Nov. 29th, Carolina has placed both their first and second-string centers Ryan Kalil and Gino Gradkowski on injured reserve. Additionally, Cam Newton has struggled to fill the touchdown column on his résumé this season, with only five touchdown passes over his past five games. The Panthers travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks this week.
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals
The Atlanta Falcons remain atop the NFC South rankings after beating the Cardinals on the road, 38-19. Returning from a bye week, the Falcons took a 17-13 lead ahead late in the first half when Matt Ryan connected a pass to Taylor Gabriel. Gabriel was by far the MVP of the game, showing off his speedy running, as he completed two passes for touchdowns. He finished with four catches for 75 yards while star Julio Jones was held to only 35 yards.
The Cardinals (4-6-1) have lost three of their past four and two straight games. Like the Panthers, they are living a completely different season from last year, as they are now in danger of missing the post-season. Matt Ryan stayed consistent with his offensive performance, finishing with 269 yards and 26 completions on 34 attempts. The Falcons return home to host the Kansas City Chiefs this week.
Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Seattle Seahawks at home, beating them in a low-scoring defensive matchup 14-5. Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s quarterback Jameis Winston came out early with a pair of touchdown passes to Mike Evans to put the Buccaneers up 14-0 in the first quarter on 78 and 62-yard drives. In a post-game interview, Winston said, “I always throw Mike the ball, and I always say, ‘He’s my superstar.’” WR Mike Evans is now in elite company, finishing 1,000 yards on the season already. Winston impressively completed 21 of 28 passes for 220 yards and one interception.
On the other side, Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson struggled immensely against the Buccaneers defense. Wilson was sacked four times for 19 yards in losses and finished 17 for 33 on pass completions.
He was also intercepted a couple of times throughout the game, first by Verner in the final drive of the first half. Wilson was again intercepted by Bradley McDougald. Tampa Bay has now won three straight games and is second in the NFC South, only one game behind the Falcons. The Buccaneers will return home to face the San Diego Chargers.