The game took the concept of “the season of giving” and went overboard with it.
The Oakland Raiders and the Philadelphia Eagles kept giving each other chances to win during last night’s Christmas Day contest. Both kickers missed field goals. Marshawn Lynch and Jalen Richard lost fumbles for the Raiders, while Jay Ajayi coughed one up for the Eagles.
Where the mistakes really stood out was between the two quarterbacks. Nick Foles tossed an interception to Reggie Nelson in the second half, but Derek Carr had him beat, throwing a pass right to Patrick Robinson in the third quarter and giving the Eagles a chance to win with a horrible dart to Ronald Darby with just under a minute to go and the game tied at 10 all.
The Eagles took advantage, having Foles dump four short passes to get them into long field goal range. Rookie kicker Jake Elliott made up for his earlier miss by nailing a 48-yarder to give his team the lead with 22 seconds left. The Raiders offense couldn’t respond, eventually gifting Derek Barnett a fumble return touchdown after a failed lateral as time expired, resulting in a final score of 19-10 for the Eagles.
Carr looked uncomfortable all night. The winds in Philadelphia were reportedly erratic, but the real problems came from the Eagles pass rush, who gave the Raiders injury ridden offensive line trouble for most of the game. Carr’s decision making was also shaky. Outside of a 63-yard TD pass to Amari Cooper, which came from a blown coverage assignment, the passing game was stilted for the Silver and Black.
The end result was just 140 yards for Carr on 15 for 29 passing. Cooper led the team with 3 catches for 66 yards, the majority coming on the aforementioned TD catch. Michael Crabtree was blanked by the Eagles secondary.
Since the aerial attack wasn’t up to snuff, the Raiders had to rely on Lynch, who did decently apart from the fumble. He ran 25 times for 95 yards. Richard also chipped in with 4 carries for 42 yards and a 23-yard screen pass.
Foles was also plagued by the pass rush, though the Raiders secondary also had their best game of the season coverage wise. He finished with 163 yards and a TD on 19 for 38 passing. Zach Ertz was dominant, grabbing 9 catches for 81 yards.
Ajayi ran well early, but the Raiders front-seven clamped down on him as the game went on. He ended up with 52 yards on 14 rushes, though he did score on a 17-yard screen pass.
The Raiders had a chance to beat the team with the best record in the league, but mistakes killed them time and time again, which is becoming a theme for this season. Now at 6-9, they’ll have a chance to play spoiler in the regular season finale versus the Los Angeles Charger, who are fighting for a wildcard spot in the playoffs.
Speaking of the postseason, the 13-2 Eagles were able to clinch the top seed in the NFC with this win, though it wasn’t pretty. Next week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys is meaningless for both teams, so expect the backups to get a good chunk of time.