The Raiders overcame another injury to running back Darren McFadden and a record-setting performance by Doug Martin to put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the brink of an epic collapse.
One mistake by Carson Palmer ended all that.
After throwing three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Palmer needed to engineer one more scoring drive with Oakland down by three. Instead, he tossed his second of three interceptions to send the Raiders to a deflating 42-32 loss against the Bucs on Sunday that only highlighted his up-and-down tenure under center.
“Mistakes like that you can’t overcome,” Palmer said.
Palmer finished with 414 yards passing and helped slice an 18-point deficit to 35-32 lead with 3:51 remaining. Then the Raiders, who allowed Martin, who was born in Oakland and went to high school in Stockton, to rush for a Bucs franchise-record 251 yards and four touchdowns, finally got a defensive stop.
Oakland took over at its 38 with 2:42 to play. With plenty of time left and not much needed to give Sebastian Janikowski’s powerful left leg a chance, Palmer crumbled in the biggest moment.
On second down, he threw off-target looking for Rod Streater down the left sideline. Ahmad Black came up with the interception, and the roaring Oakland Coliseum crowd quieted for good.
“Me being the quarterback, you can’t do that,” said Palmer, who has 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight games this season. “I can’t throw that ball. You just need to take a sack sometimes if things are off of the same page and come back the next play.”
The Raiders had to rely on Palmer’s arm far more than they would’ve preferred.
McFadden left in the second quarter with an ankle injury.
With Oakland behind three scores and McFadden in the locker room, Palmer had to throw 61 times, completing 39 while getting sacked only twice.
Stopping the run turned out to big an even bigger problem.
Martin had a memorable homecoming for the Bucs (4-4) by scoring on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards as he gashed what had been an improved run defense for the Raiders (3-5) the past few weeks.
Martin, the 31st pick in April out of Boise State, became the first back since at least 1940 to score on three TD runs of at least 45 yards in one game, according to STATS LLC. He finished 45 yards shy of tying Adrian Peterson’s single game record of 296 set in his rookie season in 2007, running three straight times to score his fourth touchdown from 1 yard out to put the game away.
“We didn’t tackle well,” rookie Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “I thought they did a good job of blocking, I thought the runner did a great job of running, and I think we had an opportunity to make a few plays and missed some tackles. And when you miss tackles on that guy, he takes it for big gains and that’s exactly what happened.”