FINAL: @RAIDERS win in Mexico City!
— NFL (@NFL) November 22, 2016
When Jamize Olawale slipped out of the backfield — unnoticed by the Houston Texans’ defense — the Oakland Raiders had managed just 120 yards of total offense through the first 49 minutes of play.
As the fullback hit midfield, he hauled in a pass from Derek Carr, cut past a lone Texans defender and ran untouched into the end zone for a seventy-five yard score.
The connection between Carr and Olawale sparked a fourth-quarter surge for the Raiders, as the team edged past the Texans 27-20 on Monday night in front of 76,473 fans at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
“There’s never a doubt in our minds,” Carr told ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew after the come-from-behind win. “There was never a doubt last year. There’s never a doubt this year. It’s just who’s going to make the play.”
With the win, the Raiders moved to 8-2 on the season and secured a one-game advantage over the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC West.
Oakland is tied with the New England Patriots for the best record in the AFC, but have the tiebreaker thanks to owning a better winning percentage against common opponents.
“Wow. That’s awesome,” Carr said when informed of that fact.
“We’re thankful. We’re grateful. We respect it,” Carr said. “But at the same time, we fear nobody and that’s how [head] coach [Jack] Del Rio teaches us.”
After the ominous start to the night, the Raiders piled up 205 yards and put 14 points on the board in the final 11 minutes of play. The go-ahead score came courtesy of Amari Cooper, who snagged a 35-yard touchdown pass from Carr.
The Cooper touchdown had been set up by the Raiders defense and an extremely favorable spot by the officiating crew.
With the Texans facing a fourth-and inches situation on the Raiders 15-yard line, running back Akeem Hunt appeared to have dove past the first-down marker. Instead, the officials ruled that he had come up just short.
The Raiders were also on the right side of a controversial decision on the opening drive of the game.
Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins ran down the sideline for what would have been a 60-yard touchdown, but the referees incorrectly ruled that he’d stepped out of bounds. Houston ended up settling for 32-yard field goal from Nick Novak.