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The Raiders’ playoff hopes are still alive, thanks to the right leg of kicker Daniel Carlson.
Carlson’s 48-yarder as time expired lifted the Raiders (7-7) to a 16-14 win on the road Monday night against the Browns (7-7). Exactly the kick Las Vegas was expecting Carlson to make when he was signed to a four-year, $18.4 million extension just 11 days ago.
The game-winner capped off an eight-play, 41-yard drive in the remaining 1:50 of the game.
The Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr set the tone early on their first drive, going to work on an 11-yard, 58-yard scoring drive. Carr completed passes to seven different receivers on the drive, finishing it off with a five-yard touchdown strike to Bryan Edwards.
Edwards hauled in three receptions for eight yards, none bigger than the opening score. It was especially important as it was the Raiders’ only touchdown of the entire game. Carr went 25-of-38 for 236 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Cleveland was notably missing numerous starters on offense due to COVID-19, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, receiver Jarvis Landry and tight end Austin Hooper. Head coach Kevin Stefanski was sidelined as well, watching from the confines of his own home. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer served as acting head coach.
With Omicron holding the best of the Browns hostage, Monday night was begging for someone to step up. It needed to be quarterback Nick Mullens, thrust into the starting role under center with first place in the AFC North up for grabs.
Mullins struggled early on, entering the fourth quarter completing just 14-of-23 for a measly 91 yards. Fourth quarter Mullens was to be feared, however, as the Browns offense found their groove.
Down 13-7 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Cleveland embarked on a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive. On 4th and 5 at the Raiders’ six-yard line, it was Priefer’s decision to go for the score. In the end, it was the right call, aided by some Mullens magic.
Just when it appeared nobody was open in the end zone, Mullens evaded the pocket to his left before finding tight end Harrison Bryant for a six-yard score to take the lead with 3:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Mullens finished 20-of-30 for 147 yards and a touchdown.
Stefanski declared Monday night a “Nick Chubb game.” It took three quarters for Stefanski’s proclamation to become reality, but better late than never, right?
Down 10-0 with 6:07 remaining in the third quarter, Chubb finally had some room to run. A 24-yard scamper put the Browns deep into Raiders’ territory, knocking on the door of a one-score game. Three plays later, Chubb bounced to the left and walked in for six.
The score was Chubb’s eighth touchdown of the season. He now joins Jim Brown as the only Browns’ with eight touchdowns in each of their first four seasons, per ESPN. Chubb ran for 91 yards on 23 carries.
The win keeps the Raiders in the playoff hunt of the deep and crowded AFC. The Browns failed to take first place in the division, now one of four teams in the conference sitting at 7-7, on the outside looking in.
This story will be updated. Check back with OutKick for updates.
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