The Oakland Raiders went back on the road looking to extend their win streak, taking on fellow playoff-contending Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Raiders defense would receive the first test with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offense driving down into field goal range before facing a fourth down. Head coach Mike Tomlin elected to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking the long field goal, but Roethlisberger’s throw sailed wide to Antonio Brown and the Raiders took over on downs.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave got right back to work, using just three plays to go 66 yards for the early touchdown. After a 44-yard run by Latavius Murray, Carr found veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree for the 22-yard touchdown to give the Raiders the early 7-0 lead.
The Steelers would get their own touchdown after a field goal, coming from running back DeAngelo Williams who started in place of Le’veon Bell, who was placed on IR. Williams ran the ball straight up the middle from three yards out, and then hauled in the two-point conversion to put the Steelers up 11-7 in the second quarter.
Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper had a tough first half to begin with, but then got things going in the second quarter. After catching a crucial 13-yard pass on third down, Cooper was left wide open for a 15-yard touchdown reception to put the Raiders back up 14 to 11.
But the Steelers would stay aggressive, going for it on fourth and inches at the goal line, with Williams running it in for his second touchdown of the game to give the Steelers the 21-14 lead heading into halftime.
Musgrave would answer in the third quarter with another nice drive, going to the no-huddle offense with Carr, who drove the team 90 yards on nine plays, culminating in a beautiful touchdown pass to his rookie tight end Clive Walford to tie the score.
Big Ben and his offense wouldn’t quit though, as he continued to find his Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown who had a record day despite not scoring a touchdown. Once in the red zone, Roethlisburger went to the other side to find Martavis Bryant, who escaped three defenders for the 11-yard touchdown.
Things would get worse on the ensuing kickoff when Taiwan Jones fumbled the return, giving the ball right back to the Steelers on the six-yard line. The veteran quarterback would find his tight end Jesse James from there, putting the Steelers up by 14 in the fourth quarter.
But as we’ve seen from Jack Del Rio’s Raiders all year, there was no quit in his team. Carr and the offense capitalized on a kick that went out of bounds by catching the defense off-guard with a run up the middle by backup fullback Jamize Olawale to bring the score to just a one-touchdown deficit. Olawale was in due to starting running back Latavius Murray being out with a concussion.
Veteran pass rusher Aldon Smith came up big on the next drive, sacking Roethlisberger on third down and ultimately knocking him out of the game. He wouldn’t return to the game.
With the Raiders back in the red zone and looking to tie up the game, Carr would go back to his rookie tight end again on 3rd and 10 but the defensive back would undercut the route for the big interception.
The Steelers would leave the door open for the Raiders when they chose to throw the ball on third down with just over two minutes left. That left Carr with one timeout and the two-minute warning left. The second-year quarterback took full advantage while clearing his mind of the previous interception. While taking a hard hit, Carr let the ball fly dropping it in perfectly to Crabtree for the 38-yard touchdown to tie the game with just under one minute remaining.
But that turned out to be too much time on the clock, even with backup quarterback Landry Jones under center. Brown got free one more time on 3rd and 2, hauling in a short pass and taking it 57 yards deep into Raiders territory. From there, the Steelers would run the clock out before kicking the last-second field goal to hand the Raiders the 38-35 loss.