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Raiders Defeat Tampa Bay 31-24 in Season Finale

The Raiders ended the Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s playoff hopes Sunday by beating them 31-24.  One month ago, Tampa Bay was 9-3 and in the hunt for an NFC playoff spot, but after 4 consecutive losses in December, the Bucs completed their biggest collapse in franchise history and will miss the playoffs.  For Oakland, they finished their season with 2 victories to end the season 5-11 and made a final case for keeping Tom Cable on as coach heading into next season.

Cable has lead the Raiders to a record of 4-8 since taken over for fired coach Lane Kiffin 4 games into the season.  Cable has plans to meet with team owner Al Davis to discuss his future with the team.

With running backs Justin Fargus and Darren McFadden hobbled by early injuries, Oakland RB Michael Bush rushed for a career-high 177 yards with 2 touchdowns and Raider QB JaMarcus Russell was 14 of 21 for 148 yards, threw 2 touchdowns and had 1 interception.  WR Johnnie Lee Higgins lead the team in receptions with 6 for 52 yards and scored on a 12 yard TD pass from Russell.

JaMarcus also threw a 3 yard TD pass to Chaz Schillens in the 2nd quarter.   Cable described the game as the teams “best effort from top to bottom, we went after the game that whole way.”  Coach Cable continued and stated that “Our goal was to match the intensity of a team trying to get in the playoffs.”  After getting out-gained 168 years to 21 yards in the third quarter, it looked as though the Raiders were out of the game.  Tampa Bay went up 24-14 with a field goal and touchdown in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

But Oakland’s young QB rebounded from throwing an interception that Tampa Bay’s Sabby Picitelli returned 84 yards to the Raiders 11 yard line that set up “Cadillac” Williams 8-yard TD run.  A 43 yard pass interference penalty led to the 12 yard TD pass to Higgins that trimmed Oakland’s deficit to 24-21, and that was just the beginning of the end for the Buccaneers.

Williams hurt his left knee at the end of a 28 yard run in front of the Bucs bench, and that drive stalled.  Oakland RB Michael Bush took over from there.  He slipped through the grasp of would be tacklers Kevin Carter and Jovan Haye on his 67 yard TD burst and carried repeatedly on the Raiders next possession to burn up the clock and set up Sebastian Janikowski’s 25 yard field goal that made it 31-24 with 1:09 to go.

Bush was playing a bigger role with Fargus and McFadden both hobbled by injuries.  He gained 129 yards on 13 attempts in the fourth quarter.  Oakland finished with 192 yards rushing and converted 6 of 13 third downs.

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