The Oakland Raiders fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 23-17 in the 2015 regular season finale. As always, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak posed five questions heading into the matchup. Here are the answers.
1. Which milestones will fall?
The only one of note was wide receiver Amari Cooper setting a record for most catches by a rookie receiver 21or-under. Khalil Mack was shut out in the sack department, Derek Carr fell 13 yards shy of 4,000 on the season, Michael Crabtree ended the season 78 yards short of 1,000, and Sebastian Janikowski didn't get a shot at a field goal of 50 or more yards. Carr did throw for the second most touchdown passes in a season, 32, just behind Daryle Lamonica's 34.
2. How will the Raiders close out the season?**
With a loss unfortunately, however, the team fought until the bitter end, just as they have all season. Down 14-0 in the first quarter, the defense sparked a comeback as the Raiders got back in the game with an interception return for a touchdown. Carr engineered a scoring drive late with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree to make it a one-score game but the Raiders didn't have enough magic left for one more thrilling victory.
3. What kind of stamp willAmari Cooperput on his rookie season?
Cooper, who has been hampered by a foot injury in recent weeks,* *finished the game with two receptions, giving him the most receptions in NFL history by a wide receiver 21-years-old or younger. He moves ahead of Keenan Allen, who had 71 receptions at 21 or younger. Only running back Reggie Bush (88) and tight end Aaron Hernandez (74) had more catches at 21 or younger. Cooper finishes his rookie campaign with 1,070 receiving yards, a franchise rookie record, and the seventh most by a rookie since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Thanks to Raiders PR for the stat work.
4. How dominant has the Raiders defense become?**
The Raiders defense did not start the game well allowing Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense to march right down the field and score. After allowing a second 1st quarter touchdown drive, the defense settled in, picked off Smith twice, including a pick-six from David Amerson. Shelby Smith recorded his first career sack, and the defense kept the game relatively close throughout. The Raiders held Smith to 156 yards passing, but the Chiefs did run the ball for 189 yards.
5. What's in store forCharles Woodson's final game?
Woodson played his first regular season game Sept. 6, 1998, against the Chiefs in Kansas City and he ended it 18 years later, Jan. 3, 2016, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Woodson finished with class and dignity. He played a fine game and nearly grabbed an interception. It's hard to believe that he's retiring from football especially after the tremendous season he has had. Woodson is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer and it was a privilege to watch him play.