Defensive End Khalil Mack
Sunday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders accomplished something that hasn't been done since 2002; the team solidified its first winning season in 14 years. The Silver and Black rallied late against the Carolina Panthers for the come-from -behind 35-32 victory. There were several highs and lows throughout the game, from Derek Carr's finger injury to Khalil Mack's clutch game-winning fumble recovery, the Raiders powered through adversity and came away with the "W."
Entering the matchup, the Panthers sat two games below .500 at 4-6, but they were better than their record indicated. Last season, Carolina achieved an impressive feat of a 15-1 regular season, and earning their way to Super Bowl 50 in the process. The Panthers certainly gave the Raiders fits at times yesterday, but at the end of the day the Silver and Black are still 9-2.
Following yesterday's game, let's take a look back at what the opponents had to say.
**Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera
Rivera broke down what happened on Mack's pick-six, and praised his awareness to make a play.
"We had a screen pass call and Khalil Mack, credit to him, made a heck of a play because from what we saw it looked we had a little bit of running room there. You get that to Fozzy [Whittaker] and with his ability to run in open space who knows what happens and unfortunately Khalil Mack read it and made a hell of a play."
He talked about his impressions of Carr, and what makes him such a special quarterback.
"Just very cool, calm, collected, good decision maker, quick decision maker. I think he handles situations very well. He's a very bright, intelligent football player and you can see that his teammates have a passion for him as well. I think that they've got something going on very nicely here. I think [Raiders General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and [Raiders Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] have done a terrific job and it's exciting to see. Going forward, I thought this could be a formidable team for time to come as long as they keep everybody healthy."
Rivera said that the team missed some opportunities throughout the game, and that the Raiders never stopped believing.
"We missed a couple opportunities in the first half. We missed that chance, but in the second half we came out and we gave ourselves every opportunity and that's all you can ask for is the guys come out and play like that. They believed they had a chance to win and it's unfortunate. We just didn't pull it out at the end."
Quarterback Cam Newton
**Last season's MVP noted that the Raiders are a talented group, and that the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was rowdy on Sunday.
"Oakland is a great team. Hostile environment. This is why you come to the league…to play these type of games. Unfortunately, we got the short end of the stick, but it was fun. Like I said, you just have to find a way to win close games."
Newton discussed what happened on the Panther's failed two-point conversion attempt.
"You can't really dwell on that. You still have to play the game. With how this game was going, with so many momentum swings, we took their best shot and they took our best shot. We knew it was going to come down to that type of finish, but that's just what happens."
Linebacker A.J. Klein
Klein reflected on wide receiver Michael Crabtree's huge catch, and tight end Clive Walford's touchdown.
"I know I definitely left some plays out there today: the deep ball versus [Michael] Crabtree and then giving up that touchdown. Those are plays that I wish we had back. But, I mean, that is how football is—you win some, you lose some."