The Oakland Raiders, led by Carson Palmer and Michael Bush, jumped out to an early lead against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Raiders put up 24 unanswered points on the Vikings to enter half time with a 24-7 lead. The Raiders held off the Vikings in the third quarter and increased their lead with a short Sebastian Janikowski field goal as the third quarter wound down to an end.
After three quarters, the Raiders had a comfortable 20 point lead and looked like they would be able to coast to yet another victory on the road. Then memories of the week two loss to the Buffalo Bills started to creep into the consciousness of the Raider Nation. The Vikings scored early in the fourth quarter, bringing themselves to within two scores of the Raiders. That is when things started to get really scary for the Raiders.
The Raiders got the ball back after the Vikings touchdown and began to march down the field. The Raiders stalled at the Minnesota 31 yard line, well within Janikowski's field goal range, even with his injured hamstring. It looked like the Raiders would go back up by three scores and all but put the game away. Then Janikowski's field goal was blocked.
The Vikings immediately began to drive down the field. It looked as though the Vikings would put points on the board for sure, until Stanford Routt made a big time interception in the end zone. Again, the Raiders looked as though they had finally put the game away. That is, until Michael Bush fumbled the ball four plays later, giving the Vikings excellent field position. It took Christian Ponder one play as he hit his tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for a 37 yard field goal.
The Raiders would get the ball back two more times in the final five minutes of the game but failed to put any points on the board and allowed the Vikings to stay in the game all of the way to the end. The Raiders have not scored any fourth quarter points since week five.
The Raiders scored a field goal with ten minutes remaining in their week five victory over the Houston Texans but still allowed the Texans to pull within one score and gave them a chance to win at the end of the game. The Raiders have failed to score in the fourth quarter of the last five games they played. If they want to make the playoffs, and more importantly, do well in the playoffs, the Raiders need to find a way to start scoring fourth quarter points and put opponents away.