The Oakland Raiders played a decent first half of football and were rewarded with a 10-7 half time lead over the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then, the Raiders' defense forgot how to stop the run and the Bucs scored 21 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter on the back of Doug Martin, to take what looked like an insurmountable 28-10 lead. But the Raiders were not ready to give up yet. Despite another monster run by Doug Martin, the Raiders were able to pull to within a field goal of the Bucs and had the ball with just under four minutes to play. Carson Palmer made poor decisions on back to back plays, the second, an interception to seal the fate of the Raiders.
Carson Palmer had his worst game of the season and it was only fitting that he threw away the game right when the Raiders had taken the momentum. The Raiders had just forced a punt behind the deafening noise of the Oakland Coliseum and had the ball on their own 38 yard line, a mere 25 yards away from being in the range of kicker Sebastian Janikowski. On the first play, Palmer completely missed the fact that a safety on the right side of the field was screaming for help because no one was covering Darrius Heyward-Bey. Never taking a glance to his right, Palmer took the snap and threw left to a covered Rod Streater. Had he gone to Heyward-Bey, the catch and run would have easily gotten a first down and likely put the Raiders a few yards short of Janikowski's range. On the next play, Palmer threw a loft pass directly to a safety who was no who near any Raiders receiver.
That interception marked the end of the game even though there was still time on the clock. That was Palmer's third interception on the day and was as responsible for the loss as the Raiders defense that allowed Martin to walk all over them in the second half. The Raiders did not exactly look terrible in the loss, and if not for a handful of plays, the Raiders likely would have won the game. The problem is that the Raiders continue to beat themselves, giving up big plays on defense or turning the ball over on offense. Any hope the Raiders had about a playoff berth in 2012 were dashed with the loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.