Quarter Turn: Breaking down the final four games of the Raiders' 2018 season


The 2018 regular season came to an end for the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium with a Week 17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

With the result, the Silver and Black finish the year with an overall record of 4-12, and while it's been a busy few days at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway – like really busy – we'd be slacking not to take stock of things over the final quarter of the regular season.

Kyle Martin and Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com do just that, as well as look down the road just a little bit in this edition of the Quarter Turn.

Who is your fourth quarter MVP?

EP: Daniel Carlson.

The man didn't miss a field goal over the final four games – heck, he finished the year perfect since Week 10 – and after the seemingly weekly turnover at the kicker position earlier in the year, the rookie from Auburn really provided some much-needed stability on the Raiders special teams battery.

Over the final four games, young Mr. Carlson went seven for seven on his field goal attempts, as well as 10-10 on his extra points.

Head Coach Jon Gruden joked that Carlson had turned into one of his favorite players, and considering the man missed just once in Silver and Black, can you blame him?

Carlson's my guy for fourth quarter MVP.

KM: Karl Joseph deserves the fourth quarter game ball.

Throughout the final four games of 2018, we saw a version of Joseph we hadn't seen since the Raiders drafted him in 2016. The former No. 14 overall pick played the Raiders' final four games like a bat out of hell. Joseph looked comfortable operating in Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther's scheme, totaling 21 tackles, two tackles for loss, one pass defensed, and two sacks over the final month of 2018.

Whether he was blitzing off the line of scrimmage, or dropping deep in coverage, Karl Joseph impacted the game defensively, and his efforts didn't go unnoticed.

I'm giving the award to Joseph.

What was the best moment of the fourth quarter?

EP: For me, and I'm sure Kyle will agree with me, it was the Christmas Eve win over the Denver Broncos.

From Marshawn Lynch lighting the Al Davis Memorial Torch pregame, to Dwayne "Gucci" Harris housing a 99-yard punt, to a convincing win over an AFC West rival, man, something special was in the air on December 24.

Especially considering the uncertainty of what 2019 looks like for the Silver and Black, that Week 16 game was something special. The love in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that night was palpable, and it was unquestionably one of the coolest moments from my time as a Raider.

KM: I have to agree with Eddie on this, there's no other choice other than Dwayne Harris' miraculous 99-yard punt return against the Denver Broncos.

What resulted in a touchdown started out as a heads-up play by Harris, and a Christmas miracle all rolled into one. As Eddie said, there was already enough excitement pregame, considering it was Christmas Eve, and the division-rival Denver Broncos were coming to town. Regardless of records, whenever these two meet, it's destined to be a good game, and once again in Week 16 they didn't disappoint.

I'd even consider going as far to say that the Raiders' rivalry game on Christmas Eve was the highlight of the 2018 season.

What did you learn about the Raiders in the fourth quarter?

EP: I took two things away from the home stretch of 2018 for the Raiders.

1. I think for the first time all season, we saw what it could be like for the Silver and Black going forward. Derek Carr and Co., went 2-2 over the final four, and honestly, had a shot to go 3-1, had they been able to handle business against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Yes, I know the regular season finale left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, but make no mistake about it, the Raiders finished the year playing their best football of 2018, and that was a most-welcome sight.

2. The other thing I learned was that this Raiders team had some fight in them.

Let's be real, over the final four weeks, the Silver and Black had nothing but pride to play for, but this team kept battling to until the end, and the energy was evident – even when the results weren't there.

As Coach Gruden likes to say, the effort was outstanding, and for a team looking to build a strong foundation going forward, that's a great sign.

KM: To piggy back off of Eddie's two points, I think the final four games of the season showed the team's grit, and drive to succeed.

Entering the 2018 campaign, there was a lot of turnover; from the hiring of Head Coach Jon Gruden to the multitude of new free agent additions, the Raiders were practically an entirely new team. Since there were so many new additions, it's understandable that it took some time for all parties to gel. As the season progressed, I think it became clear the players on the roster were enjoying playing with each other more, and the communication became easier.

While the team wasn't playing for a chance in the playoffs anymore, they were playing for each other, and on handful of occasions the Silver and Black took games down to the wire. Head Coach Jon Gruden laid the foundation this season, and his vision is slowly starting to become visible to those around him.

What are you most looking forward to this offseason?

EP: All those picks, baby.

We can finally, finally, start to talk about the 2018 NFL Draft, and the three picks that the Raiders have in the first round.

Obviously, we've known about the picks since earlier this year, but at that point, our focus was on the regular season, but now that Week 17 is in our rearview mirror – and with a new General Manger no less – we're all in on the draft over here.

The future of the Raiders is an exciting one, and it's all going to start on April 25.

Buckle up.

KM: I. Love. The. Draft.

For weeks now, I've been champing at the bit, gearing up for some 2019 NFL Draft coverage. Now that the season has concluded, we can start to look ahead to late April, and everything leading up to the draft will be exciting. From the Senior Bowl to the NFL Scouting Combine, there will be plenty of coverage from myself, and Raiders.com regarding potential draft picks, and more.

Stay tuned, Raider nation.