Raiders keep season alive with last-second win over Covid-ravaged Browns

The Raiders didn’t appreciate the NFL postponing their trip. They made sure their postseason chances weren’t canceled as well.

Daniel Carlson’s 48-yard field goal as time expired sent Las Vegas to a 16-14 win on Monday night over the Covid-19-depleted Cleveland Browns in a game pushed back two days by the NFL amid an uptick of virus cases across the league.

Down by a point, quarterback Derek Carr patiently drove the Raiders (7-7) into Cleveland territory in the final two minutes.

Then Carlson shrugged off being iced by the Browns to boot his winner, keeping Las Vegas in the playoff mix. The Raiders had been upset with the league’s decision to delay the game from Saturday until Monday, with owner Mark Davis saying the delay was a “competitive disadvantage” for his his team.

That all seemed to be forgotten as the Raiders danced off their sideline when Carlson’s kick went through at the Dawg Pound end of FirstEnergy Stadium.

“It’s been a long time coming to win a game like that in the end,” said Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia, who has led the team through a turbulent season. “We understand the situation we’re in and what the playoff race looks like.”

The loss was devastating for the Browns (7-7), who would have vaulted into first place in the AFC North with a win. Instead, they fell into last place in the tightly packed division with three games remaining.

Due to a virus outbreak, the Browns were without quarterback Baker Mayfield, coach Kevin Stefanski and several other prominent players, including top receiver Jarvis Landry and edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

Cleveland third-string quarterback Nick Mullens had brought the Browns back from a 10-0 deficit in the third quarter and given them a 14-13 lead by throwing a six-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Harrison Bryant with 3:45 left.

And after Greedy Williams intercepted Carr, it appeared the Browns were on their way to taking their roller-coaster season to new heights. But Cleveland couldn’t come up with a first down and gave the ball back to Carr with 1:50 left.

“After that interception, I told the guys ‘Please, I promise we’ll win it, just get the ball back,’” Carr said.

He then led a 51-yard drive, completing two long passes to Zay Jones to set up Carlson’s kick that kicked new life into a team that has dealt with adversity and drama all season, including the resignation of coach Jon Gruden in October.

Carr understood why his teammates were so upset with the league’s decision to move the game.

“I wanted to play because I have a routine,” Carr said. “But life’s going to throw us curveballs. Whether I agree or don’t, it doesn’t matter.”

The Browns were ravaged by positive Covid-19 cases last week. Despite the league postponing the game for two days, an asymptomatic Mayfield was unable to produce a negative test in time to play. Cleveland was without a dozen regulars.

The Browns were also without Stefanski, forced to miss his second big game in less than a year after he tested positive.

“That locker room right now is hurting,” said acting Browns coach Mike Priefer. “That’s the most I’ve seen it in that kind of pain. You’re upset when you lose. Obviously you’re joyous when you win. But when you lose that type of game, that was tough.

“They’re pretty down right now.”

Nick Chubb’s four-yard TD run came shortly after the Browns got a turnover they desperately needed. They jarred the ball loose from Carr, who fumbled near midfield and appeared to injure his leg while being taken down by Sheldon Day and others.

Carr was checked by trainers before limping to the sideline. He came back for the Raiders’ next possession and finished 25 of 38 for 236 yards and a touchdown to Bryan Edwards.

Minnesota Vikings 17-9 Chicago Bears

Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes, and the Minnesota Vikings beat the struggling and short-handed Chicago Bears 17-9 on Monday night.

The Vikings (7-7), part of a tight pack of teams vying for one of the NFC’s seven playoff spots, were in line for their most lopsided win before Justin Fields threw a touchdown pass to Jesper Horsted on the game’s final play.

The final play aside, Minnesota withstood several scoring threats by Chicago down the stretch coming off a tight win over Pittsburgh in which they nearly blew a 29-0 lead.

Given the state of the Bears (4-10), the result was hardly a surprise. Chicago lost for the eighth time in nine games, and with 14 players on the reserve/Covid-19 list, that seemed inevitable. Receiver Allen Robinson was on it, as was the starting secondary.

The health issues also hit the coaching staff, with all three coordinators testing positive for the coronavirus during the week. Defensive coordinator Sean Desai was cleared to return hours before kickoff. The Bears had no update on offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Patrick Peterson
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) reacts during the second half of Monday’s game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Photograph: Quinn Harris/USA Today Sports

Cousins, who struggled last week, didn’t exactly dominate in this one. He was 12 of 24 for 87 yards with an interception and got sacked four times. The two-time Pro Bowler also connected with Justin Jefferson for a 12-yard touchdown in the first quarter and threw a seven-yarder to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in the third.

Dalvin Cook ran for 89 yards, after going for 205 against Pittsburgh in a sooner-than-expected return from a dislocated shoulder.

DJ Wonnum had three sacks and the Vikings recovered three fumbles on the way to their second straight win after back-to-back losses.

Fields threw for 285 yards and ran for 35 in his second game back after missing two with broken ribs. The rookie completed 26 of 39 passes playing behind a line missing both starting tackles, with right tackle Larry Borom on the Covid list and left tackle Jason Peters out with an ankle injury.

Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks each had two sacks. Quinn has 16 this year, leaving him just shy of Hall of Famer Richard Dent’s franchise record of 17 and a half in 1984.

But it was another frustrating night for Chicago. Fans again booed at times and made their feelings about coach Matt Nagy known, chanting “Fire Nagy!”

The Vikings made it look easy in grabbing a 7-0 lead. Cousins hit Jefferson in the left corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.

Fields was then stripped by Cameron Dantzler on a keeper near midfield. Anthony Barr recovered, leading to a field goal for the Vikings’ Greg Joseph early in the second after some drama for the Bears. Nagy, apparently upset about an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Deon Bush, got flagged, himself, between quarters for arguing with the officials.

The Bears then had the ball on the Minnesota 10, only to come away empty-handed when Sheldon Richardson stripped Montgomery and recovered the fumble.

Chicago’s Cairo Santos kicked a 34-yard field goal to cut it to 10-3 with 1:33 remaining in the half.

The Bears had another opportunity in the closing minute when Bush intercepted a deep pass that was nowhere near any receiver and returned it 27 yards to the Minnesota 39. Santos missed a 49-yard field goal on fourth-and-2 that appeared to be tipped by Dalvin Tomlinson.

Cousins made it 17-3 midway through the third with a 7-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Smith-Marsette, who celebrated with a brief nap in the end zone. That drive was aided by two penalties, including one against Teez Tabor for a low hit on a blocker as he tried to trip up Cook on a third-and-18 deep in Minnesota territory.


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