This is the backstory to one of the great moments of Week 12, the Oakland Raiders' last-minute win in the rain over the Kansas City Chiefs on "Thursday Night Football". The Raiders' long-awaited first win, as well as the Cleveland Browns' last-second win over the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys' rally past the New York Giants on "Sunday Night Football" are nominees for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the week. Cast your vote for the GMC Never Say Never Moments of Week 12.
The Raiders entered Week 12 teetering dangerously close to "will Oakland finish 0-16?" talk. The winless Raiders hadn't won a game in more than a calendar year (368 days), and faced a remaining schedule in which five of the remaining six opponents are still vying for playoff spots. On a wet evening at O.Co Coliseum played on a field fit for a good old-fashioned crusty bob, the Raiders withstood the Chiefs' rally, put together a dramatic game-winning drive and thwarted Kansas City's last-minute attempt to achieve victory.
Here are the key moments before the moment:
Raiders get on board first
The play: Second-year running back Latavius Murray scampers into the end zone for an 11-yard scoring play.
The aftermath: Murray was a sixth-round selection by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, but was placed in injured reserve at the end of the 2013 preseason, effectively ending his rookie campaign. Buried on the team's depth chart behind the more-heralded Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, Murray only recently started seeing playing time as Oakland plummeted to an 0-10 start.
Murray burns Chiefs defense
The play: Murray strikes again, this time on a 90-yard score in the second quarter.
The aftermath: Murray's touchdown run was the longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season (the previous long was an 89-yard touchdown run for the Cincinnati Bengals' Giovani Bernard in that tie against the Carolina Panthers). Unfortunately, shortly after the long touchdown run, Murray was forced to leave the game with a concussion. Murray's runs were a big reason why the Raiders wound up winning this contest. He finished the game with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just four carries. Murray's 90-yarder was the fourth-longest run in Raiders history, behind Terrelle Pryor's 93-yarder against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013, Bo Jackson's 92-yarder against the Bengals in 1989 and Jackson's 91-yarder against the Bengals in 1987.
Chiefs mount comeback
Chiefs tie up the game
The aftermath: Many a fan had to be thinking and/or speaking "Raiders being Raiders" after Oakland built a two-touchdown lead, only to have it quickly evaporate. Smith was money in the second half as Kansas City rallied to tie the game at 17-17, and then take a 20-17 lead on its next drive. After posting a 51.6 passer rating in the first half, Smith had a 137.5 passer rating in the second half. Smith has not thrown an interception in his last six games, one game short of his career-best no-interception streak of seven.
The aftermath: The scoring play capped an epic march for victory for the Raiders, who consumed 7:21 of clock time on a 17-play, 80-yard drive. The Chiefs' last-minute attempt to salvage a victory and avoid the shocking defeat to the Raiders was not without a moment of brilliance/buffoonery for Oakland. The biggest play was a sack for linebacker Sio Moore, who then was joined by teammate Khalil Mack for a choreographed handshake celebration. Veteran Justin Tuck -- realizing his team could be the victim of a costly offsides penalty -- wisely called a timeout just as Smith was snapping the ball, saving the Raiders from shame.
The Raiders snapped a 16-game losing streak -- the longest active such streak in the NFL -- with the win, which was the team's first since a 28-23 triumph on Nov. 17, 2013 against the Houston Texans. The quarterbacks that day were Matt McGloin for the Raiders, and Matt Schaub and Case Keenum for the Texans.
The Raiders also made some history with the win, becoming just the third team in NFL history to start a season 0-10 or worse but defeat an opponent with a winning percentage of .700 or higher. The Raiders, it should be noted, have done it twice. In 1997, the 0-10 Indianapolis Coltsdefeated the Super Bowl-bound Green Bay Packers, who were 8-2. In 1962, the 0-13 Raidersbeat the 9-3-1 Boston Patriots (it should also be noted that this game was the season finale, and a loss would have meant a winless 0-14 season for the Raiders.