The 2016 Oakland Raiders season was the 57th overall of the Oakland Raiders franchise, the franchise's 47th season in the National Football League, their 23th season since their return to Oakland, and the second under head coachJack Del Rio. The Raiders improved on a 7–9 campaign in 2015 and finished with a winning record for the first time since 2002, finishing the regular season with a 12–4 record.
The Raiders, with their Week 15 win over the San Diego Chargers, clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2002, ending their 14-year playoff drought. The Raiders finished the season tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West division title, but lost the tiebreaker due to a head-to-head sweep.
In a Week 16 game against the Indianapolis Colts, Raider quarterback Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula and missed the remainder of the season, including the Raiders sole postseason game. Backup quarterback Matt McGloin started the final game of the season for Carr, but he suffered a shoulder injury during the game forcing rookie Connor Cook to play. Cook started the Wild Card playoff game against the Houston Texans, making him the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to make his very first NFL start in a playoff game. The Raiders were unable to win their first playoff game since 2002, falling to the Texans 27–14 in a game where Cook threw one touchdown and three interceptions.
On January 10, 2017, three days after the loss to the Texans, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was fired by head coach Jack Del Rio.
The Raiders' lease on the Oakland Coliseum (known as O.co Coliseum from 2011 through 2015) expired after the 2013 season; the team had spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons in the Coliseum on year-to-year leases. The franchise was subject to a possible relocation to Los Angeles, and the Raiders' 2016 season could have been the first in Los Angeles since 1994, had the team been approved to move there. On January 4, 2016, the team filed a formal relocation application, along with the San Diego Chargers, which was competing against a separate proposal by the St. Louis Rams (now the Los Angeles Rams) to move to the Greater Los Angeles Area. The Raiders, despite their joint project with the Chargers earning the support of the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities, did not receive enough support from the league as a whole for the relocation and withdrew its request to relocate to Los Angeles on January 12 after the Rams' proposal received a simple majority of votes.
The team also scouted the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas as another potential relocation candidate in late 2014, before it began focusing on its failed Carson stadium proposal. More recently, team officials began conversing with officials from Las Vegas, Nevada regarding a potential future relocation there; in January 2016, Raiders owner Mark Davis met with Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas Sands owner and CEO) about a proposed $1.3 billion, 65,000 seat domed stadium. On March 23, 2016, Davis met with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval about moving his team to Las Vegas and recently on April 1, 2016, Mark Davis toured Sam Boyd Stadium whether it could serve as a temporary home (it would likely pose a problem for the Raiders; the stadium seats fewer than 40,000 spectators, less than the 50,000-seat minimum, nor are there any other stadiums in Nevada that meet NFL requirements) and met UNLV coach Tony Sanchez, athletics director Tina Kunzer-Murphy, adviser Don Snyder, and university president Len Jessup about further exploring the possibility of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas. On April 28, 2016, Davis pledged to commit $500 million toward a new stadium in Las Vegas at a panel that included soccer superstar David Beckham, who was backing a proposed Major League Soccer franchise that would share the stadium with the Raiders and UNLV college football. The Raiders' proposal needed approval and funding from the Nevada State Legislature and, ostensibly, league approval to go forward (only ostensibly, since the Raiders have left Oakland without permission at least once before and won their case in court); the league indicated at the May 2016 owners' meetings that it would not object to the Raiders relocating. Davis stated on June 7 that the options for staying in Oakland had been exhausted for the time being and that he fully intended to relocate to Las Vegas in the long term, this despite a rumor that Commissioner Roger Goodell was attempting to undermine a move by orchestrating a counterproposal for an Oakland stadium in collaboration with Ronnie Lott.
If the team were willing to stay in the San Francisco Bay Area for 2016, they had the options of signing another short-term extension with the Coliseum or sub-leasing Levi's Stadium from the San Francisco 49ers. Davis opted to seek another one-year lease extension on the Coliseum, which he secured on February 11, keeping the Raiders in Oakland for another season while a long-term solution continued to be sought. The lease included team options for 2017 and 2018.
On September 15, 2016, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee unanimously voted to approve and recommend $750 million for the Las Vegas stadium plan. Then on October 11, 2016, the Nevada State Senate voted 16–5 to approve the stadium funding bill and convention center expansion. Three days later, on October 14, the Nevada Assembly voted to approve funding for the stadium, 28–13. On October 18, Governor Brian Sandoval signed the stadium funding bill into law. This would lead to an eventual approval by the NFL after the season of the team's relocation to Las Vegas by 2020.
The Raiders traded wide receiverBrice Butler and their sixth-round selection to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for the Cowboys' fifth-round selection. The selection swap would only occur if Butler is on the Cowboys' 2015 53-man roster for six games. On November 2, 2016, the trade was finalized as Butler appeared on the Cowboys' roster for the required amount of time.
In a high scoring affair, the Raiders took an early lead on a Sebastian Janikowski field goal and a Latavius Murray touchdown run, leading at the end of the first, 10–3. The Saints answered and took a half time lead on two touchdown passes by Drew Brees, 17–10. A 98-yard pass and catch from Brees to Brandin Cooks early in the third quarter put the Saints up by 14. However, the Raiders roared back, scoring 17 of the next 20 points with two rushing touchdowns, including a 75-yard run by rookie Jalen Richard on his first career carry to tie the game at 27 with eight minutes remaining in the game. However, Brees kept his tremendous game going as the Raiders were unable to stop him on the day throwing his fourth touchdown of the game to put the Saints back on top 34–27. The Raiders answered with a touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Seth Roberts with 47 seconds remaining. Coach Jack Del Rio opted to try for the two point conversion instead of trying to stop Brees in an overtime period and Carr hit Michael Crabtree for the conversion to put the Raiders up 35–34. The Saints had time to attempt a 61-yard field goal by rookie kicker Will Lutz, but the kick was wide right. The Raiders moved to 1–0 on the season as they won their season opener for the first time since 2011.
The Raiders looked to win their home opener and extend their record to 2–0 for the first time since 2002. But, the Atlanta offense and Raider defense, or lack thereof, would have a say in the game. Neither team could score in the first quarter and the Falcons took an early lead on field goal in the second. However, Latavius Murray answered with a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Raiders in front 7–3. The Falcons surged back to take a halftime lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones and another field goal. At half, the Raiders trailed 13–7. In the second half, the Raiders retook the lead as Derek Carr hit Clive Walford on a 31-yard touchdown pass. Before the quarter ended, the Falcons answered on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan and a Ryan rush for two points to take a 21–14 lead into the fourth quarter. The Raiders tied it on a two-yard pass from Carr to Michael Crabtree, but the Falcons answered again with the help of a tipped Ryan pass that landed in the arms of Justin Hardy for another Falcon touchdown. Trailing 28–21, the Raiders thought they had tied it up again on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Amari Cooper, but officials ruled that he had gone out of bounds voluntarily before catching the ball. Head coach Jack Del Rio gambled shortly thereafter on a fourth and two which failed and led to another touchdown for the Falcons, a 13-yard run by Tevin Coleman. Trailing 35–21, the Raiders were able to bring it closer on an Andre Holmes six-yard touchdown reception, but the Falcons salted the game away and won 35–28. The Raiders defense allowed 528 yards of offense, the first team since the 1967 Falcons to give up at least 500 yards in the first two games of the season. The Raiders fell to 1–1.
The Raiders traveled to Tennessee looking to shore up their defense that had allowed 500 yards in each of the first two games of the season. The defense responded, forcing three Titan turnovers and holding the Titans to only one touchdown and 393 yards of offense on the day. Latavius Murray scored a touchdown for the third consecutive game, giving the Raiders a lead on their first drive, jumping in front of the Titans 7–3. The Raiders took over in the second quarter, scoring a touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Derek Carr to Seth Roberts and on Sebastian Janikowski's record-setting 52-yard field goal which marked the most field goals over 50 yards by any one player. Titans quarterback, Marcus Mariota, was intercepted on the final play of the first half by Reggie Nelson and the Raiders took a 17–3 halftime lead. DeMarco Murray brought the Titans within seven in the third quarter, scoring on a five-yard run. The Raiders defense held strong for the rest of the half, intercepting Mariota again late in the third quarter. However, the Raiders offense mustered zero points in the second half and, as a result, the Titans had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Mariota hit Tajae Sharpe to get to the Raiders three-yard line with just over a minute remaining. However, Titan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan was called for unnecessary roughness for jumping on the pile after the play. The Titans were pushed back 15 yards, but Mariota hit Andre Johnson two plays later for an apparent touchdown, but Johnson was called for pass interference on the play and the touchdown was taken off the board. On fourth down with 16 seconds remaining, Mariota could not hit Harry Douglas in the endzone and the Raiders pulled out the victory. The win moved the Raiders to 2–1 on the season.
The Raiders traveled to Baltimore looking to win their third straight road game to open the season for the first time since 2000. The Ravens, undefeated on the season, looked to continue their good start. The Raiders jumped out early, taking a lead on a six-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts from Derek Carr. A Baltimore field goal tightened the lead before Carr hit Michael Crabtree for his first of three touchdown scores on the day, and the Raiders took a 14–6 lead to the half as the Raiders defense held the Ravens in check. Baltimore answered in the third quarter, pulling within two on a Joe Flacco one-yard touchdown run. Crabtree again answered for the Raiders on a 13-yard pass from Carr. However, the Raiders defense allowed a 52-yard pass and catch from Flacco to Steve Smith Sr. and the Ravens pulled within two after failing to convert on the two-point conversion. The Raiders lead tightened to 21–19. The Ravens struck again following a fumble by Raiders rookie running back DeAndre Washington and Terrance West scored three-yard touchdown run to take the Ravens first lead of the game 27–21. The Raiders answered, driving down the field before Carr hit Crabtree from 23 yards out. The Raiders took the lead 28–27. As time was running out, the Ravens looked for the game-winning field goal, but the Raiders defense held and the Raiders moved to 3–1 for the first time since 2000. The three-touchdown game marked Crabtree's first career three-touchdown game. Carr finished with four touchdowns on 199 yards passing. The Raiders defense, much maligned on the season, gave up 412 yards, but stopped the Ravens when needed.
The Raiders returned home to face the San Diego Chargers in their first division game of the season. However, the Raiders offense struggled to score early, unable to score a touchdown on three offensive possessions in Charger territory in the first half and turning the ball over early. Derek Carr was picked on the fourth play from scrimmage, setting up the Chargers for a chance to take an early lead. However, the Raiders defense forced a fumble and prevented the Chargers from scoring. The Raiders offense could not take advantage, only managing three field goals in the first half by Sebastian Janikowski, however he missed a fourth attempt. Tyrell Williams scored for the Chargers on a 29-yard pass from Philip Rivers and the Chargers took a 10–9 lead into the half. In the second half, the Chargers took a 17–9 lead on Melvin Gordon reception from Rivers. The Raiders answered on a 64-yard pitch and catch from Carr to Amari Cooper, his first touchdown catch of the year. However, the Raiders defense continued its struggles, giving up another touchdown pass from Rivers to Hunter Henry as the Raiders fell behind 24–16. A 48-yard field goal by Janikowski brought the Raiders within five before the Raider defense garnered its third turnover of the game, forcing a Gordon fumble. The Raider offense struggled in response and were left with a fourth and two from the Charger 21-yard line. Continuing with the season's gutsy calls, head coach Jack Del Rio went for it and Carr found Michael Crabtree for a diving catch in the corner of the endzone to give the Raiders their first lead of the game. The Raiders added on from there, scoring a touchdown on a Jamize Olawale one-yard run seemingly salting the game away, 34–24. However, the Raider defense allowed the Chargers to move within three on a 76-yard drive capped by an Antonio Gates touchdown catch. Trailing 34–31, the Charges again moved into Raider territory in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. Forced to attempt a game-tying field goal, the Chargers fumbled the snap and the Raiders were able to run out the clock. Moving to 4–1 on the season, the first time since 2002, the Raider defense still surrendered over 400 yards for the fourth time in five games this season. Del Rio was angered by the continued poor defensive showing. Despite this and combined with a loss by the Denver Broncos, the Raiders moved into a tie for first place in the AFC West.
Following the Denver Broncos loss on Thursday night to the San Diego Chargers, the Raiders looked to move into sole possession of first place in the AFC West as they hosted the Kansas City Chiefs. Things began well for the Raiders as Jalen Richard returned the opening kick 50 yards and Derek Carr hit Andre Holmes for a three-yard touchdown pass to put the Raiders up 7–0. However, the struggling Raiders defense continued to have problems stopping opponents as the Chiefs scored on a two-yard touchdown run by Spencer Ware and a four-yard run by Jamaal Charles (extra point failed), putting the Chiefs in front 13–7. The Raiders were able to get a field goal from Sebastian Janikowski as the half ended to pull within 13–10. However, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who is 16–2 in his career coming off of bye weeks, continued to baffle the Raiders defense in the second half. The Chiefs added a one-yard run by defensive lineman Dontari Poe and two field goals by Cairo Santos to go up 26–10. The Raiders offense managed nothing in the second half and the Chiefs won 26–10. The Chiefs offense put up 406 yards on the hapless Raiders defense. The Raiders fell to 4–2 on the season and back into a first place tie with the Broncos.
The Raiders traveled to Jacksonville looking to make up for their disappointing performance in Week 6 against Kansas City and to improve their road record to 4–0. Latavius Murray, making his first appearance since Week 4, scored two touchdowns for the Raiders, including the first touchdown of the game to add to a Raiders lead of 6–3 following two Sebastian Janikowski field goals. A five-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree before the half ended put the Raiders up comfortably, 20–6. The touchdown pass followed a Carr to Crabtree 52-yard pass to set up the touchdown. Janikowski added two more field goals in the second half making four for the game. Murray scored his second touchdown of the game following a fourth and 24 conversion by Raiders punter Marquette King who fielded a low snap and scampered for 27 yards and a first down. The Raiders defense improved their performance and intercepted Blake Bortles twice to secure the victory. Jack Del Rio gained a victory against his former team and the win moved the Raiders to 5–2 for the first time since 2001.
The Raiders traveled to Tampa Bay looking to improve to 6–2 overall and 5–0 on the road on the season. Tampa scored on a Roberto Aguayo 41-yard field goal and Jameis Winston threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to put the Buccaneers up 10–0 early in the second quarter. The Raiders started slow, managing only a Sebastian Janikowski field goal in the first half and the Bucs led 10–3 at the half. The Raiders offense came alive in the second half as Derek Carr hit offensive lineman Donald Penn on a tackle eligible play from the 1-yard line for his first touchdown pass of the game, to tie the game at 10. On the next Raider possession, Carr hit Amari Cooper on a 34-yard touchdown pass to give the Raiders their first lead of the game. However, Tampa Bay answered soon thereafter, taking the lead on Cameron Brate touchdown reception and a Jacquizz Rodgers touchdown run to move ahead 24–17 early in the fourth quarter. Carr threw his third touchdown of the game, this time to tight end Mychal Rivera with 1:38 remaining in the game. With the game tied and the clock running out, the Bucs punted the ball back to the Raiders with 58 seconds remaining. The Raiders drove to field goal position, but Janikowski missed a 50-yard field goal wide left as time expired to force overtime. On the first possession of overtime, the Raiders again moved into scoring position, but due to penalties were forced to settle for a 52-yard field goal attempt which Janikowski missed wide right. The Raider defense held the Buccaneers to consecutive three and out series and the Raiders took over with 3:21 left in overtime. Carr led the Raiders to the Tampa Bay 41, and coach Jack Del Rio chose to go for it on fourth down. Carr hit Seth Roberts for the first down and he broke tackles as he scampered 41 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Carr threw for a franchise record 513 yards on 40–59 passing with four touchdowns. The Raiders won despite setting an NFL record for penalties in a game, with 23 total penalties. The win kept the Raiders in a first place tie with Denver at 6–2. The Raiders moved to 5–0 on the road for the first time since 1977.
The Raiders looked to take full possession of first place in the AFC West as they took on the Denver Broncos in Oakland on a Sunday night game for the first time in more than a decade. Things started well for the Raiders as they held Denver to three-and-outs on their first four possessions. Sebastian Janikowski hit two early field goals to give the Raiders a 6–0 lead. On the Raiders third possession, Latavius Murray capped off a 57-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 13–0. Following the Raiders first punt of the game, the Broncos marched 84 yards for a touchdown on a pass from Trevor Siemian to Jordan Norwood to reduce the Raiders lead to 13–7. After Janikowski missed a 48-yard field goal and following another three-and-out for the Broncos, Murray scored his second touchdown of the game and increase the lead to 20–7. The Broncos added a field goal as the first half ended, putting them within 10 at 20–10. No team could muster any points in the third quarter, but a second field goal by Brandon McManus cut the lead to seven with 14:56 left in the game. The Raiders answered with a field goal and Khalil Mack sacked and stripped Siemian to give the Raiders the ball on the Denver 39-yard line. Murray's third one-yard touchdown of the game put the Raiders up comfortably at 30–13. Denver answered immediately on the second play of the ensuing drive when Kapri Bibbs took a screen pass 75 yards to cut the lead to ten. However, the Raider defense stepped up again and forced Siemian to throw an interception to Reggie Nelson with 23 seconds remaining to end the threat. The Raiders ran for 218 yards and held Denver to just 33 yards rushing. Carr threw for 184 yards and Murray rushed for 114 in addition to his three touchdown runs. The win put the Raiders at 7–2 on the season and in sole possession of first place in the AFC West as they headed to their bye week.
Following the Raiders bye week, the team traveled to Mexico City to play the Houston Texans in a home game. A win for the Raiders would put them in sole possession of first place in the AFC West after a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs the day before. However, the Raiders defense struggled early and were unable to put much pressure on Texans' quarterback Brock Osweiler. However, they were helped all night by controversial calls by the officiating crew. The first was in the Texans' first drive as DeAndre Hopkins appeared to have stayed in bounds and scored on a 60-yard pass from Osweiler. However, officials ruled that Hopkins had stepped out of bounds and the play was blown dead. As a result, the play could not be reviewed and the Raiders only surrendered a field goal on the opening drive of the game. Following consecutive four-and-outs by both teams, the Raiders offense mustered a drive into Houston territory capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass by Derek Carr to Jalen Richard to give the Raiders a 7–3 lead to begin the second quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, the Texans turned the ball right back over to the Raiders, but the offense could not punch the ball in from the one-yard line and settled for a Sebastian Janikowski 19-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10–3. The Texans quickly answered as Osweiler hit Braxton Miller for a 12-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 10–10. Neither offense was able to manage much for the remainder of the half and a sack by Khalil Mack ended the first half with a tie score. On the first play of the second half, Carr was pressured and threw a deep pass that was intercepted by the Texans. The ensuing 13-play drive capped off by a one-yard touchdown run Lamar Miller gave the Texans the lead, 17–10. The Raiders responded, getting to the Texans two-yard line, but could not punch the ball in again and settled for a second Janikowski field goal cutting the lead to 17–13. The Texans ended a long drive with a Nick Novak field goal to extend the lead to 20–13 with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Carr responded by finding Jamize Olawale wide open for a 75-yard pass and run to tie the game at 20. The Texans pushed the ball deep into Raiders territory again but were stopped on short yardage situations twice as controversial spots of the ball by officials turned the ball over to the Raiders on downs. The Raiders took advantage as Carr hit Amari Cooper on a pass and catch for a 35-yard touchdown play. The extra point gave the Raiders a 27–20 lead with 4:43 remaining in the game. The defense who had mustered little pressure on Osweiler all night, allowed a first down by the Texans, but then forced a punt with 3:13 remaining. On second and seven from their own 23-yard line, Carr heaved a 29-yard pass to Richard for a first down. After the two minute warning and the Texans final timeout, Latavius Murray was able to get another first down and the Raiders were able to run out the clock. The win put the Raiders at 8–2 on the season and gave them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs at the time. Carr finished with 295 yards and three touchdowns while the Raider running game only mustered 30 yards rushing against the Texans defense. The Raiders also clinched a non losing season for the first time since 2011. Another win will clinch the Raiders their first winning season for the first time since 2002.
Following their home game in Mexico, the Raiders returned to Oakland to face the Carolina Panthers. The Raiders were looking to extend their winning streak to five games, the longest streak since their Super Bowl season of 2002. Things started well as the Raiders defense held the Panthers to a three-and-out series and the Raiders offense moved right down the field. Seth Roberts caught a two-yard pass from Derek Carr to put the Raiders up 7–0. The Panthers answered on a three-yard touchdown run by Cam Newton to tie the score. The rest of the first half belonged to the Raiders as Latavius Murray scored from four yards out and Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 23-yard field goal to put the Raiders up 17–7. The Panther took over with 1:56 remaining in the second quarter looking to cut the Raider lead, but Khalil Mack made an acrobatic catch of Newton pass and returned it six yards for another Raider touchdown. The Panthers took a knee on the final possession of the half as the Raiders held a 24–7 lead. On the second play of the third quarter, Carr injured the pinky finger of his throwing hand on an awkward snap. The play resulted in a fumble recovered by the Panthers. Six plays later, Jonathan Stewart scored from one-yard out to cut the lead to 24–13 after the extra point was blocked. With Carr in the locker room tending to his injured finger, Matt McGloin took over for the Raiders, but they could not muster any offense and were forced to punt. Newton then hit Ted Ginn Jr. on an 88-yard pass and catch to put the Panthers with five. The Panthers opted to go for two points, but failed and, therefore, trailed 24–19. Carr returned to the game with a glove on this throwing hand on the next possession, but after completing two passes, Carr was intercepted by Thomas Davis. The Panthers continued their hot start to the half as Stewart scored his second rushing touchdown of the game. The Panthers again failed on their two-point conversion, but now held the lead, 25–24. Following three straight incompletions by Carr, the Panters took over and extended the lead on a 44-yard pass from Newton to Kelvin Benjamin. Now trailing 32–24, the Raiders answered on a 10-play drive capped off by a Clive Walford 12-yard touchdown reception. The two point conversion was good on a Carr pass to Roberts and the game was tied at 32. The Raiders defense forced a punt by the Panthers and the Raiders took over with 5:05 remaining in the game. The Raiders 12-play drive stalled at the Carolina six-yard line, but Janikowski hit his second field goal of the game to give the Raiders a 35–32 lead. With 1:45 remaining in the game, the Panthers looked to tie or take the lead. However, Mack continued his great day and stripped Newton of the ball and recovered the ball on a fourth and 10 play to ice the game for the Raiders. Mack finished with a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, and a touchdown, the first of his career. Carr finished with 315 yards and two touchdown despite missing a series with his injured finger. The Raiders improved to 9–2 on the season and remained in first place in the division. The win also clinched a winning season for the Raiders for the first time since 2002.
The Raiders entered Week 13 looking to keep their first place lead in the AFC West following wins by both the Broncos and Chiefs earlier in the day. However, the Buffalo Bills scored first on the second possession of the game as Dan Carpenter hit a 27-yard field goal to give the Bills a 3–0 lead. A Sebastian Janikowski field goal from 47 yards out, tied the game on the next possession. The Bills offense struck next as Mike Gillislee scored from one yard out to give the Bills a 10–3 lead early in the second quarter. The Raider offense managed two more Janikowski field goals, including one as the half ended to pull within one point, 10–9. To open the second half, the Bills extended their lead on a two-play drive, a 54-yard run by LeSean McCoy and a 12-yard touchdown run by Tyrod Taylor. The Raiders offense managed little on its next possession and the Bills took a 15-point lead with a Gillislee two-yard touchdown run, increasing the lead to 24–9. The Raiders five-game win streak appeared to be over, but the Raiders fought back as they had all year. On their next possession, Derek Carr, taking all snaps from the shotgun due to the injured finger he suffered in the prior game, hit Michael Crabtree on a three-yard touchdown pass to reduce the lead to 24–16. The Raiders defense forced a punt which gave the Raiders good field position at the Buffalo 38-yard line. Five plays later, Latavius Murray plunged over the goal line from a yard out to reduce the lead to one, 24–23. The Bills were again forced to punt and the Raiders offense went right down the field. Carr hit Amari Cooper on a 37-yard pitch and catch to give the Raiders the lead, 30–24. Following punts by both teams that left Buffalo at its own four-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Khalil Mack hit Taylor's arm on a pass and the ball was intercepted by Nate Allen at the Buffalo 16-yard line. Four plays later, Murray again plunged over the goal line for a three-yard touchdown run which pushed the Raider lead to 36–24. A two-point conversion pass from Carr to Seth Roberts put the lead at 14, 38–24. The Bills, however, drove the ball to the Raider 17-yard line before Mack sacked and stripped Taylor of the ball. Mack also recovered the fumble to put the game away. The 29 unanswered points to overcome the 15-point deficit was the Raiders best comeback since 1963. Carr finished with 260 yards and two touchdown passes. The win was the Raiders sixth in a row and kept the Raiders one game up on the Chiefs heading into their showdown on Thursday night. The win also put the Raiders back as the number one seed in the playoffs.
With a chance to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2002, the Raiders traveled to Kansas City for a crucial Thursday night matchup to determine the AFC West division lead. The Raiders needed a win and a Miami Dolphins loss or a win and a Denver Broncos loss to clinch a playoff berth. Oakland started well, recovering a muffed fumble by Tyreek Hill on a punt following their first drive and setting them up at the Kansas City 38-yard line. However, the Raiders had to settle for a field goal by Sebastian Janikowski to take the early 3–0 lead. It would be the last lead the Raiders enjoyed on the night. Oakland's offense could muster little for most of the first half including after the Raider defense stopped KC on a fourth and one at the Oakland 27. The Chiefs took the lead early in the second quarter on a 36-yard pass from Alex Smith to Hill to make the score 7–3. After a four-and-out possession for the Raiders, the Chiefs again went down the field scoring on a Charcandrick West three-yard touchdown run. Following another Raiders short offensive possession, Hill returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to extend the Chief lead to 21–3. With six minutes remaining in the half, the Raiders went up-tempo and moved the ball down the field capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray with 14 seconds remaining. At the half, the Raiders trailed 21–10. To begin the second half, the Raider defense stepped up intercepting Smith on the second play of the half and giving the offense the ball at the KC 23. However, the offense was shut down by the KC defense and settled for another Janikowski field goal, bringing them within a touchdown of the Chiefs at 21–13. On the next offensive play for the Chiefs, Khalil Mack sacked and stripped Smith of the ball and the Raiders recovered at the KC 18-yard line. The offense again managed little and was forced to settle for a field goal attempt. However, a bad snap resulted in Marquette King being tackled for three-yard loss. Both offenses mustered very little for the remainder of the game. With seven minutes left in the game, the Raiders needed a touchdown to tie and moved down to the KC 19-yard line, but were stopped on fourth down and the Chiefs ran the clock out. Derek Carr struggled mightily with his accuracy on the night, only completing 17 of his 41 pass attempts for 117 yards. He often missed open receivers or badly threw behind receivers. Carr admitted he had a bad night saying, "Obviously, we didn't do enough." The loss ended the Raiders six-game win streak and gave the Chiefs the lead in the division with a 2–0 record over the Raiders. The Raiders, still, in prime playoff position, would have to finish ahead of the Chiefs to win the division.
The Raiders travelled to face the San Diego Chargers with a chance to secure their first playoff bid since 2002. In a stadium at least half full of Raider fans, the Chargers took an early lead on a pass from Philip Rivers to Travis Benjamin to put the Chargers up 7–0. The Raiders responded with an 11-play drive that stalled on the Charger 27-yard line and had to settle for a Sebastian Janikowski field goal to narrow the lead to 7–3. Neither team could muster anything offensively for the remainder of the quarter. A promising Raider drive to the Charger 16-yard line stalled again as Derek Carr was intercepted inside the 10-yard line. A Charger field goal following a 14-play drive put the Chargers up 10–3 with 1:33 left in the half. The Raider offense switched to their two-minute offense and cruised down the field before Carr hit Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 10. The Raider offense drove deep into San Diego territory to open the second half, but had to settle for another Janikowski field goal to take the lead 13–10. The Chargers answered with a Rivers seven-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Henry to retake the lead. A missed extra point left the lead at 16–13. The remainder of the third quarter saw the offenses accomplish little before Charger running back Kenneth Farrow fumbled at the San Diego 14 early in the fourth quarter. The Raiders offense could not take advantage of the turnover and settled for Jankowski's third field of the game to tie it at 16. The Raider defense again stopped the Chargers and the offense, lead by Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard, moved the ball into San Diego territory again. For the fourth time, the offense settled for a Janikowski field goal to take the lead 19–16 with 3:47 remaining. On the ensuing San Diego possession, Rivers was intercepted by Reggie Nelson to allow the Raiders to take over and run out the clock. The win gave the Raiders their first playoff appearance since 2002. With a loss earlier in the day by Kansas City, the Raiders also took back first place in the AFC West.
The Raiders entered Week 16 looking to maintain their lead in the division over the Chiefs. A win over the visiting Indianapolis Colts would further assist the Raiders attempt to win the AFC West, pending the Chiefs matchup against the Broncos on Christmas Day. Neither team managed much offense on their first possession of the game, but the Colts moved into Raider territory on their second possession. A bad snap on a field goal attempt, left the game scoreless. Following a Nate Allen interception of a pass from Andrew Luck, the Raiders looked to open the scoring. With good field position, the offense moved to the Colts one-yard line before Derek Carr threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Andre Holmes to give the Raiders a 7–0 lead on the first play of the second quarter. The Colts scored a touchdown to answer right back with Luck throwing touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief to tie the score. The Raiders, in turn, answered with a five-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Clive Walford. Sebastian Janikowski missed his first extra point of the season and lead was 13–7. On the next Colts drive, the Colts would drove to Oakland 29-yard line before Luck threw another interception, this time to Reggie Nelson in the endzone. The Raiders marched the length of the field and Carr hit Jalen Richard on a four-yard touchdown pass. Janikowski missed his second straight extra point as it was blocked, giving the Raiders a 19–7 lead at halftime. On the first possession of the second half, the Raiders again marched down the field and DeAndre Washington scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 22-yard run to push the lead to 26–7. The Colts turned the ball over again on their next possession as Malcolm Smith forced a fumble from Frank Gore which was recovered by T. J. Carrie. The Raider offense again capitalized on the turnover, leading to another 22-yard rushing touchdown for Washington, pushing the lead 33–7. The Colts offense looked to stem the blowout and torched the Raider defense on a drive which finished with a three-yard touchdown pass from Luck to Robert Turbin to cut the lead 33–14. After punts by both teams, the Raiders began a drive at Colts 44-yard line. With a little over 11 minutes remaining in the game, Derek Carr was sacked by Trent Cole, and suffered a significant injury to his right leg. The Raider offense, now led by backup quarterback Matt McGloin, stalled and were forced to punt the ball. Luck brought the game closer with an 11-yard touchdown run and hit T. Y. Hilton for the two-point conversion, cutting the lead 33–22. The Raiders punted again and the Colts settled for a field goal to draw to within a touchdown at 33–25. The Raider offense which had struggled mightily after Carr left the game, was able to get a first down as McGloin hit Amari Cooper on a 19-yard pass to allow the Raiders to run out the clock, securing the victory 33–25. The win kept the Raiders in first place in the division, but a victory for the Chiefs over the Broncos the next day meant the Raiders would still have to beat Denver in the final week to win the division. After the game, it was announced that Carr had a broken right fibula and would be out indefinitely.
The Raiders entered the final game of the season with an opportunity to secure a first round bye as the number two seed in the AFC, but would have to do so without Derek Carr, following his injury on Christmas Eve. With a loss, the Raiders could still claim the number two seed, but they needed the Chiefs to lose to the Chargers. The Raiders started Matt McGloin, hoping he could provide enough offense to get the Raiders a win and the number two seed. The defense would also have to step up to secure the bye, but on the first drive of the game, they could not stop the Broncos: a 13-yard touchdown run by Devontae Booker gave the Broncos an early 7–0 lead. The Raider offense could not move the ball well on their first two possessions and, on the Broncos third possession, they extended the lead on a Brandon McManus field goal. With a little less than seven minutes remaining in the first half, McGloin was hit by Bronco defensive end, Jared Crick, resulting in a roughing the passer penalty. McGloin, though shaky after the hit, finished the drive. However, he was soon escorted to the locker room. The Broncos scored again with less than two minutes remaining on a pass from Trevor Siemian to Booker to extend the lead to 17–0. On the ensuing Raider possession, rookie Connor Cook entered the game to replace McGloin, but the Raiders went three-and-out. As the half ended, the Raiders postseason chances looked even worse with their third-string quarterback in the game, trailing 17–0, and the Chiefs beating the Chargers. Cook started and played the whole second half. The first drive started well for the Raiders, but Cook was sacked and fumbled the ball on the Denver 37-yard line. The Broncos marched down the field and Siemian hit Virgil Green for a two-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 24–0. The Raider offense managed a touchdown on catch and run from Amari Cooper from 32 yards out, but could muster nothing. The Raiders fell 24–6. Meanwhile, Kansas City defeated the Chargers and the Raiders fell to a wild card sport with the likelihood of having to send their third-string quarterback out as their starter against Houston in the playoffs. After the game, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak announced he was retiring due to health issues.
With Derek Carr out indefinitely and the injury suffered in the final week of the season by Matt McGloin, the Raiders were forced to turn to rookie quarterback Connor Cook to start his first-ever NFL game, becoming the first rookie in NFL history since the inception of the Super Bowl to make his first career start in the playoffs. The Texans nominal starting quarterback, Tom Savage, would also miss the game due to concussion protocol which left the Houston offense in the hands of Brock Osweiler, who started 14 games in the regular season only being replaced by Savage late in the season. The Texans got the ball first, but their drive ended at the Raider 37-yard line. The Raiders followed with a three-and-out series to give the ball back to Houston at the Raider 40. The Texans could not muster a first down, but were able to get a 50-yard Nick Novak field goal to take the lead 3–0. On the ensuing Raider possession, Cook was intercepted on a screen pass by Jadeveon Clowney and Houston took over at the Raider four-yard line. A Lamar Miller four-yard touchdown run extended the Texan lead to 10–0. Following short possessions by both teams, the Raiders got good field position due to a 37-yard punt return by Jalen Richard at the Houston 38. Five plays later, Latavius Murray scored on a two-yard touchdown run to bring the Raiders within 10–7. The Texans Raiders exchanged three-and-outs, before the Texans added a Novak 38-yard field goal to extend the lead to 13–7 in the second quarter. Following stalled drives by both teams, the Texans took over with 2:25 remaining in the half. An Osweiler pass to DeAndre Hopkins for a two-yard touchdown reception gave the Texans a 20–7 lead at the half. Neither team was able to put anything on the scoreboard in the third quarter with only three total first downs in the quarter by the offenses. However, with 12:28 left to go in the fourth quarter, Osweiler scored from one yard out to put the game out of reach at 27–7. An 8-yard touchdown pass from Cook to Andre Holmes narrowed the lead, but back-to-back interceptions by Cook ended any attempt at a Raider comeback. The Raiders were eliminated from the postseason 27–14. Cook finished 18–45 with one touchdown and three interceptions. The Raider offense only managed a total of 203 yards on the day.