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Thursday Night Observations
That was a low-key (and low-stakes) all-time comeback. The Raiders were killing the depleted Rams who were forced to trot out retread Baker Mayfield. It was 16-3, and though Vegas had taken its foot off the gas, the Rams offense wasn’t really a threat. In fact, the down-16-3 Rams punted the ball away on the penultimate drive, but were bailed out by an offsides penalty that gave them a first down! After that Mayfield somehow channeled peak Tom Brady and pinpointed throws to no-name receivers to cut the lead to six.
The Raiders got the ball back, got an eight-yard run from Josh Jacobs to make it 3rd-and-1, but couldn’t gain anything to seal the game and punted it back. The punt took 10 seconds and rolled to the two yard line, leaving the Rams 1:45 and no timeouts to go 98 yards. But a pass-interference penalty nullifying a game-winning INT and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a likely drive-killing sack got the ball to the Rams 28-yard line. After that Mayfield went to work, finishing the Raiders off with a perfect 23-yard TD throw to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left. Even though I had the Raiders -5.5 in my picking pool (who were still the favorite to cover with 15 seconds left), I had to root for the Rams in astonishment.
But my main rooting interest was against Josh Jacobs (who the No. 2 points guy in my Primetime had going) and to a lesser extent Davante Adams and Daniel Carlson. Jacobs scored a TD six minutes into the first quarter and was getting a massive workload in what looked like a sure blowout. (He left briefly with an injury, but seemed like he was en route to a multi-TD game.) Adams caught a 32-yard pass less than 90 seconds into the game too. And Carlson had 13 points, including a 52-yarder at halftime. I was very lucky to get the second half we got.
Mayfield looked like the guy who the Browns drafted five years ago and the one I expected when I bet the Panthers at 12:1 to win the NFC South. He was accurate, and he moved just well enough to buy time. Granted the Raiders are an abominable defense, but he played great and engineered one of the more improbable comebacks I can remember, albeit aided by some penalties.
Ben Skowronek (8-7-89-0) made some nice grabs while filling in for Cooper Kupp at white receiver.
Cam Akers (12-42-1, 1-1-1-0) looked quick and ran with power. I still don’t understand what the problem was between he and Sean McVay and how it happened that Darrell Henderson was the one who got traded instead.
After that first throw to Davante Adams, Derek Carr did less than nothing. I want to thank whoever outbid me in the Steak League and picked him up this week while I have Justin Fields on bye. (Carr was my first choice, but I’ll be using Mac Jones.)
Josh Jacobs (27-99-1, 2-2-15-0) still had a decent day — nearly 20 fantasy points, but it should have been so much more.
Adams (6-3-71-0) did nothing after that first catch. Maybe Jalen Ramsey still has something left.
That loss was such an epic fail for the Raiders — a win put them at 6-7 and in the periphery of the playoff hunt. Now their season is over beyond any doubt.
I had zero interest in watching this game, as I had no players going and was only rooting against, but it turned out to be worthwhile. (I also benefited from watching the 40-minute edited version that cuts out much of the wasted time on penalty calls which I’m sure were trying in real time.)