Raiders might be NFL’s most bizarre team | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) breaks free on a 86-yard touchdown run during overtime of an NFL game at Lumen Field against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Seattle. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @HeidiFang
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) smiles on the field after the team’s 40-34 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks in an NFL game at Lumen Field on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Seattle. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @HeidiFang
Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) and quarterback Derek Carr (4) run into the tunnel after scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime an NFL game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Denver. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @HeidiFang
Raiders players celebrate a score by teammate defensive end Chandler Jones (55) to beat the New England Patriots following the second half of their NFL game at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images
Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones (55) breaks away from a tackle attempt by New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) on the way to a winning touchdown interception and run during the second half of their NFL game at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield (17) throws as Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones (55) pursues him during the second half of an NFL game at SoFi Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @HeidiFang
Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones (55) wraps up Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) for a sack during the second half of an NFL game at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @HeidiFang

All the Raiders are missing: A bearded, debonair older gentleman with voice-overs that push Dos Equis beer.

They might be the most interesting team in the NFL.

Or at least the most bizarre.

You never know what you’re going to get from Josh McDaniels’ team, and never has that been more apparent than recent weeks.

Walk-off wins and losses. Huge plays and wacky, indescribable ones.

“When you finish on the good side, it’s good, and when you lose, it sucks,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “I’ve always thought the NFL — free agency, the draft, the salary cap — is set up to make it as even and fair as possible.

“NFL games are so close than other sports on average. It seems every week things come down to a two-minute drill or field goal. It’s not like in college, where you know there are six teams on your schedule you’re going to beat by 20.”

Yeah. The latter hasn’t happened with the Raiders this season.

Consider just the past five efforts …

Raiders 22, Denver 16 (overtime): Carr hit wide receiver Davante Adams with a 35-yard touchdown pass on the third play of overtime. It was able to occur because Carr had driven the Raiders 71 yards with less than 1:45 to play, setting up a Daniel Carlson field goal with 16 seconds left. It was able to occur because Denver quarterback Russell Wilson left too much time on the clock the previous drive, throwing incomplete instead of falling on the ball and allowing precious time to tick away. Walk-off win.

Raiders 40, Seattle 34 (overtime): It was the Josh Jacobs day. The Raiders reached overtime because Carr found Foster Moreau for a game-tying score with about two minutes remaining. But then Jacobs brought the real drama, ripping off an 86-yard touchdown run in overtime for the game-winner. It was part of his 229 rushing yards and 303 all-purpose yards. Walk-off win.

Raiders 27, Chargers 20: It was a third straight victory after Carr’s emotional news conference following a loss to the Colts and high school coach Jeff Saturday — and again saw the quarterback and Adams make the difference. The Raiders overcame a 13-10 halftime deficit. Carr hit Adams (eight catches for 177 yards) for two scores, and the Raiders sacked Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert five times. One-score win.

Rams 17, Raiders 16: Yeah, This was a doozy. Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield walked off a plane, read his new playbook a few times and played well enough to beat the Raiders. It all culminated with a 98-yard drive in the waning minutes. Terrible loss.

Raiders 30, New England 24: Um, yes. It happened. Jakobi Meyers really did throw that lateral across the field with no time left, allowing Chandler Jones to snatch it and go 48 yards for the game-winning score. Walk-off win.

But isn’t this what the late Pete Rozelle wanted?

Nobody declared that parity would be the best of all worlds for the NFL than Rozelle, the league’s commissioner for nearly three decades before his retirement in 1989.

It would have brought a smile to his face that Tampa Bay is 6-8 … and leading the NFC South. Or that the Raiders still have a chance at the playoffs — however slim — with an identical record.

“To me, I just think each game is its own entity,” McDaniels said. “You have to get ready to play it, coach it, adjust. The nature of the league is that there’s a lot of good players and coaches. It’s hard. The league has proven over and over … that it’s very difficult to get away from people.

“You just have to play 60 minutes — we have obviously learned that this year — and not assume you’re going to go and get away from anybody. I don’t spend a whole lot of time being frustrated about it. That’s just the nature of competing in the NFL today.”

The nature of being a Raider this season.

Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

This content was originally published here.

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