OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16: Kevin Boss #87 of the Oakland Raiders scores on a thirty-seven yard pass play beating Chris Gocong #51 of the Cleveland Browns to the endzone in the third quarter of an NFL football game O.co Coliseum on October 16, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Early on, it looked like the Oakland Raiders would dominate this game with how well Darren McFadden was running the football. The Raiders took up nearly 8:00 of clock on their first offensive drive, converting several third downs along the way before McFadden marched into the end zone for the game's first touchdown.
On the Raiders' next drive, Jason Campbell lost the football as he was going to the ground untouched and Cleveland recovered, giving them some life for the first time on the afternoon. Later in that drive, Colt McCoy started finding his receivers and ended up hitting tight end Alex Smith for a game-tying touchdown. Life felt good again, but I was scratching my head because Montario Hardesty was in as the featured back toward the end of that series.
Then, things just kept spiraling downhill. After the Browns' touchdown, the Raiders took the next kickoff back 101 yards for a touchdown, giving them a 14-7 lead. After taking on a field goal later to make it 17-7, Oakland was in position to go for another field goal from the 50+ yard range. It ended up being a fake though, and punter Shane Lechler found a wide open Kevin Boss for a 35-yard touchdown. The Raiders were up 24-7 heading into the fourth quarter, and it looked like the Browns didn't have a chance.
A comeback looked unlikely. Fans grew irritated that Peyton Hillis was on the sidelines for almost the entire game, except for the first possession or two. What was going on? Was this a sign of him being in the doghouse? It was later revealed that he "tweaked a hamstring," but he came back once in the second half to block for a play.
The Browns ended up making things interesting in the fourth quarter in stunning fashion. Phil Dawson was money from 48 yards to make it a 24-10 game in the fourth quarter. The Raiders then put a long drive together and went for it on fourth-and-short near the end zone instead of kicking a field goal to go up three possessions. They failed, but with just under five minutes to go, it seemed like too much to ask for the offensively-challenged Browns to come back.
McCoy marched the Browns down the field though and eventually hit Mohamed Massaquoi on an 11-yard touchdown pass with over a minute to go to make it 24-17. And then...surprise! The Browns executed the onside kick successfully and you could hear how stunned the crowd was! With a minute to go and two timeouts, the Browns had the ball at midfield. Cleveland got seven yard on their first play, but McCoy's next three passes fell incomplete. Argh.
In between the Raiders' scoring earlier, Jason Campbell had to leave the game due to injury. That gave the Browns an advantage with Kyle Boller having to enter the game, but he was able to take advantage of some soft coverage with Joe Haden out of the lineup.
I'll have more in my full game review this Tuesday.