Each Week, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak poses five questions heading into the next matchup. In the wake of the Raiders 23-20 OT win over the San Diego Chargers Thursday night, here are this week's answers.
1. How will the Raiders respond on short rest?
Fatigue didn't seem to be a factor in this game even though it did go deep into overtime. The Raiders offensive line struggled at times. The Raiders seemed to have plenty of juice on the game-winning drive in overtime, and the defense had plenty of energy to force a four-and-out to close the game out. Raider Nation was rocking, it was Charles Woodson's last home game, and the Raiders won. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't crisp, but a win is a win.
- Which Raiders offense will show up?**
After an early interception helped spot the Chargers to a 7-0 lead, the offense engineered an impressive game-tying drive capped by a Latavius Murray 22-yard touchdown run. The Raiders managed a field goal drive before halftime and trailed 17-10 at the break. Murray broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season, the first back since Darren McFadden in 2010 to accomplish that feat. The offense couldn't get anything going in the second half despite Eric Weddle and Jason Verrett leaving the game due to injuries. Quarterback Derek Carr took advantage of a Benson Mayowa fumble recovery and return to toss his only touchdown pass of the night but did lead the game-winning field goal drive in overtime. He finished 23 of 38 for 204 yards on the night, Murray rushed for 79 on 19 carries and Carr added 30 yards scrambling.
3. Will the weather be a factor?
It was not. The rain held off. After raining in the Bay Area a good part of the day, and with snow was actually in the forecast (it did snow overnight in San Jose), the precipitation stayed away. It was damp and chilly but that didn't seem to affect the game play except for a few slips here and there.
- Khalil Mack tie or break the Raiders single-season sack record this week?**
He did not. He came close to getting to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers several times, but it was fellow defensive end Denico Autry doing the damage with the only sack of the night – for a safety. Mack will have one more chance, at Kansas City, to get to 16. His NFL-leading 15 sacks have been good enough to earn him a Pro Bowl invitation.
5. How will Charles Woodson go out?
In Charles Woodson's last home game as a professional football player, he arrived in style, took the field like a conquering hero, gave an epic pregame speech, made a few tackles, carried the ball on a reverse option pass, was on the winning team, got a Gatorade bath, addressed the fans, shared the NFL Network set with his sons, got the game ball and held a press conference. Just a day in the life of a future Hall of Famer.