Down by 14 in the second half? No worries, said the Oakland Raiders, as the team came back from the depths to secure its first win of 2018.
And it was glorious.
After falling behind 28-14 in the latter stages of the third quarter, the Silver and Black – largely on the shoulders of some well-timed defensive plays – stormed back to beat Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns in overtime 45-42.
The comeback began methodically – as most comebacks do – as the Silver and Black took advantage of a Maurice Hurst forced fumble recovered by Johnathan Hankins, eventually turning it into a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook.
Following the PAT, the Raiders found themselves down just seven, but the deficit wouldn't last for long, as a Matt McCrane field goal cut it to four, and then a Derek Carr to Jordy Nelson touchdown, gave the Silver and Black the lead – a lead they would surrender momentarily back to the Browns – but one that would take an extra frame to work out.
The Raiders knew they had to make Baker Mayfield uncomfortable.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner made his first NFL start Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and for a young quarterback, entering a hostile, road environment, putting No. 6 under duress would be key.
Well, Paul Guenther's defense did just that Sunday afternoon, and while Mayfield did get his – he threw for two touchdowns – Guenther's group was stellar for parts of the afternoon, especially in the second half when the group seemed to be a constant thorn in the side of young Mr. Mayfield.
As has been the case for all of 2018 really, the Raiders defense started out fast, forcing an opening drive three-and-out for the fourth time in as many chances.
However, there were mistakes Sunday for the Raiders, and give the Browns credit, they took advantage of the opportunities the Silver and Black placed on their doorstep.
In the second quarter, with a chance to extend the lead to 10-3, rookie kicker Matt McCrane missed his first field goal attempt in Silver and Black, and just a play later, Nick Chubb – a rookie in his own right – took a handoff from Mayfield and cruised 63 yards for a touchdown.
That wasn't the only meat the Raiders left on the proverbial bone, but at the end of the day, the mistakes were all erased in the wake of a Jared Cook touchdown, combined with a successful Jordy Nelson two-point conversion to tie the game at 42-42.
A Reggie Nelson interception in the final seconds of regulation forced overtime, and from there, Derek Carr and the boys went to work.
After trading punts with the Browns to open the extra frame, the second time was indeed the charm for Carr and the offense, drove down the field setting up McCrane for a successful 29-yard field goal attempt.
The Silver and Black had to have a result Sunday afternoon, simple as that, and they made sure they got one, sending Hue Jackson, Mayfield and the rest of the Browns back to Cleveland with their second loss of 2018.
Up next for Head Coach Jon Gruden and his squad, another divisional matchup, this one on the road against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers.