Raiders end road woes

At last, the Oakland Raiders can fly home after a road game happy after defeating the Carolina Panthers 27-24 Sunday in Charlotte.

Sebastian Janikowski booted a 19-yard field goal with :06 left in the game to give the Oakland Raiders (3-6) the win. The Raiders had gone 13 games and 700 days since winning away from Oakland, which last won a road game on Dec. 8, 2002, a 27-7 win over San Diego. The Arizona Cardinals had the longest active road losing streak entering Sunday. The Cardinals defeated Miami 24-23 Sunday.

Oakland snapped a five game losing streak. While one should temper the fact that the Panthers are only a shell of the team that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last season but at least for two weeks the Raiders, who have a bye week can be happy.

The Raiders, however, nearly allowed the game to slip away from them. Oakland's lead swelled to 24-14 with 9:16 left in the game when Amos Zereoue scored on a 6-yard run with Badger delivering the key block. That touchdown capped off a 11-play, 77-yard drive.

Carolina trimmed the lead to 24-17 with 3:38 left in the game on a 38-yard John Kasay field goal. The drive took 16-plays for 60 yards. The Raiders did not get a first down on their next offensive series and Carolina tied the game with 2:25 left in the game on Jake Delhomme's 1-yard touchdown pass to Nick Goings.

Oakland struck first when Sebastian Janikowski banged a 26 yard field goal through the uprights with 8:44 left in the first quarter. That score capped off a 13-play, 70-yard drive.

The Raiders used their special teams to set up their next score when Nnamdi Asomugha blocked a Todd Sauerbrun punt to give Oakland possession at the Carolina 33. Twelve plats later, Tyrone Wheatley scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal. Wheatley ran behind Warren Sapp, who lined up as an eligible tight end along with guard Brad Badger and tight end Doug Jolley. Oakland led 10-0 at the 14:06 mark of the second quarter.

Carolina got on the scoreboard with 6:37 left in the second quarter when quarterback Delhomme hit a wide-open Chris Mangum over the middle for a 1-yard touchdown toss, cutting the Raiders lead to 10-7.

Oakland then answered with a 13-play, 81-yard drive that Wheatley capped off with a 1-yard run behind fullback Zack Crockett and center Adam Treu to give the Raiders a 17-7 lead at halftime.

The Panthers opened the second half with a 15-play, 71-yard touchdown drive, converting five third down plays in the process. The drive ended when Delhomme was flushed to his left and threw toward the middle for running back Brad Hoover, who caught the ball and extended it over the goal-line. Oakland's lead stood at 17-14 with 7:03 left in the third period.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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