OAKLAND — With just over 14 minutes to play on Sunday afternoon, Derek Carr floated a perfectly placed pass in the direction of Amari Cooper.
The second-year receiver made the catch as he hit the 10-yard line, then continued into the end zone to give the Oakland Raiders their first lead of the afternoon.
The 37-yard connection between Carr and Cooper was part of a second-half barrage of 29 unanswered points, which powered the Raiders past the Buffalo Bills, 38-24, to improve to 10-2.
The win marked the second time in franchise history that the Raiders have overcome a second-half deficit of at least 15-points. It also gave Carr his third fourth-quarter comeback of in as many games.
“It’s his thing, man,” Cooper said of the quarterback. “It’s what he loves to do. He loves to win. He loves to go out there and compete.”
On an afternoon when Carr threw for 260 yards, his first of two touchdowns didn’t come until the 5:17 mark in the third quarter when he hit Michael Crabtree for a three-yard pass. At the time, the Raiders were trailing 24-9.
“When things were going bad, we just stay the course,” Carr explained after the Raiders won for the sixth time in a row. “Because if we make the plays we’re supposed to make, we can score a lot.”
While Carr once again boosted his MVP credentials, the legend of Khalil Mack continues to grow.
Early in the fourth quarter, with the Raiders clinging to 30-24 advantage, Mack swarmed Tyrod Taylor with the Bills backed up in their own end zone. Just as the Buffalo quarterback was about to release the football, Mack slammed his arm, and Taylor’s pass fluttered into the hands of Nate Allen for a Raider’ interception.
“Khalil Mack is really making his mark on these ball games,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “That interception that he caused. He just keeps showing up huge and that’s what great players do.”
On Buffalo’s next possession, Mack drug Taylor to the ground for a sack, forced the fumble and then recovered the ball. The play marked the second time in as many games that he’s accomplished that feat.
“The guy is a walking Hall-of-Famer,” said Bruce Irvin, who plays across from Mack on the opposite end of the Raiders’ defensive front. “He’s the best in the business. I’m blessed to suit up with him week-in and week-out.”
Mack’s explosive end to the game continued the season-long trend of the defense delivering big plays when it matters most. When the Raiders began their second-half comeback with nine minutes to go in the third quarter, the Bills had been bullying the hosts up to that point. Buffalo had run for 164 yards, averaging 9.1 yards per carry.
On the Bills’ final five drives, the Raiders held the visitors to three punts, while producing one interception and one fumble.
“We knew we had to get those defensive stops and stay disciplined in our game plan,” Mack said. “We did that and we shut them down well in the half.”