Thrillers, Slugfests, and Barnburners: Relive the best Raiders games of the decade

I, like many people, miss live sports a lot. Sports bring people together, provide priceless memories, and are an important piece of our culture — without it, life seems a little boring, especially when you're quarantined in a house.

Even though we're unable to attend games or watch our favorite teams right now, the NFL decided last Wednesday to make Game Pass free to watch, so you can relive every game within the past 10 years. All you need to do is cruise over to gamepass.nfl.com, create an account, and you'll have every game at your fingertips until May 31.

Once you've created your account, you might be asking yourself, 'Which game should I watch first?'. Fortunately for you, this article is here to help.

Over the past decade, the Raiders have been part of several memorable battles on the gridiron. From overtime barn burners to defensive slugfests, there are a handful of games that come to mind; let's take a look at some of the best.

Week 8, 2016 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This season started out in a thrilling win — we'll get to that later — and it continued during a mid-season match against the Bucs.

The Silver and Black entered this game 5-2 and maybe a little too confident. After trailing early, Derek Carr initiated what would be a masterful come-from-behind win. Carr's first touchdown pass of the day was a trick play to tackle Donald Penn — who hauled in the reception against his former team for a little taste of revenge.

Carr and the Raiders rallied back from being down 10 and by the end of the fourth quarter it was tied 24-24.

What happened in overtime was nothing short of amazing.

Defensively, the Raiders and Bucs went blow for blow, exchanging punches, but each stood their ground, holding one another scoreless. With a little less than two minutes left in OT and the Raiders facing a fourth down, Carr connected with wide receiver Seth Roberts, who broke a pair of tackles, leaving him with wide open grass ahead of him. Roberts took off 41 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown.

This was a big win on the road for the Raiders and one of the most memorable moments from the 2016 campaign.

Week 14, 2015 at Denver Broncos

In a late-season matchup with the division-rival Broncos, Khalil Mack became a superstar.

Every game against a division rival is special, but what Mack did against the Broncos offensive line and Brock Osweiler was jaw dropping. The second-year defensive end tallied five, five, sacks in the second half of the ball game.

As a high draft choice, there was no denying that Mack had talent, but this game proved that everything finally clicked. No matter who was guarding him, No. 52 beat tackles with spin moves, speed, and raw power. Osweiler's frustration became more noticeable as the game progressed, struggling to get any breathing room in the pocket.

Mack carried the team to victory and established himself as one of the top pass rushers in the league.

Week 1, 2016 at New Orleans Saints

I mentioned at the top of the list we'd get to this game and we've arrived.

Fun fact, this was the first game I ever covered for the Raiders, as a then-recently hired part-time writer, and it felt like a baptism by fire.

Entering the 2016 season, the Silver and Black had a lot of optimism surrounding them as a promising young team with a gritty head coach in Jack Del Rio. Led by Carr and Mack, the team took the field in front of the raucous Saints fan base, crammed in like sardines at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the start of the regular season.

For the majority of the game, it felt a back-and-forth affair, but I remember sensing a feeling of doubt, and worried that the Raiders would start the season 0-1; however, my gut was incorrect on this day and I'm grateful for that.

After a couple big plays, including Carr's front flip for a first down and rookie running back Jalen Richard's first NFL carry for a 75-yard touchdown, the Raiders found themselves in an interesting situation with a potential Super Bowl contender. Following a 10-yard touchdown from Seth Roberts, Coach Del Rio was faced with the decision to tie the game with a PAT, or go for two and the win.

He chose the latter.

With an eager young quarterback at the helm, Del Rio trusted Carr to go win the ball game. The former Fresno State Bulldog snapped the ball, targeted veteran receiver Michael Crabtree, and lobbed a jump ball for him in the corner of the end zone. Crabtree came down with the ball and immediately threw it up in the air to celebrate.

The decision to go for it was gutsy, but it paid off, and it ended up being featured on Scott Van Pelt's "Best Thing I Saw Today" segment later on ESPN.

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Week 7, 2017 vs. Kansas City Chiefs

It bums me out that none of the aforementioned games were scheduled for primetime, but the schedule makers knew this AFC West showdown was meant for Thursday Night Football.

Prior to Patrick Mahomes taking the reins in Kansas City, Alex Smith was the guy and gave the Raiders fits during his time as a Chief. With the Raiders looking to narrow the division gap, they welcomed Smith and Andy Reid to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for what would be arguably the best game of the season.

From start to finish this game had it all, but the climax came at the conclusion of the game.

With 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Carr threw a dime to tight end Jared Cook for a 29-yard touchdown, but after further review he was ruled down at the one-yard line. The Raiders were then gifted a series of holding penalties, which gave them four opportunities to score on first and goal. Finally, Carr found Crabtree near the pylon for a toe-drag-swag touchdown, hoisting the Raiders to a 31-30 win.

This will go down as one of the best games I've ever seen in person and is definitely worth rewatching over, and over, and over, and over again.

Week 5, 2011 vs. Houston Texans

Al Davis should be considered one of the founding members of the NFL, because without his contributions in the AFL and as a progressive owner, the league wouldn't be what it is today without him.

With that said, the game of football felt a major loss when he passed away in 2011 and Raider Nation mourned deeply. Davis passed away the day before the Raiders hosted the Houston Texans at the Coliseum.

Playoff implications weren't on the line, but the Raiders played as if there were. It was an emotional day at the Coliseum and the team managed to defeat the Texans 25-20.

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