OAKLAND -- The Raiders played a rare role in Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The favorite. An overwhelming one at that.
Point spreads don’t often play out, and the 13-point favorites didn’t dominate nearly as much as that number would suggest.
This game was close all day, never separated by more than a score. They started with a deficit and ended up with a 17-10 victory, completing a perfect three-game homestand at Oakland Coliseum.
Some sloppy, lackadaisical play kept Cincinnati in the hunt, but the win was never truly in doubt down the stretch. The Bengals had opportunities to take control but were incapable of doing so due either to ineffectiveness or bursts of solid Raiders play.
The Raiders are now 6-4 on the season, still in the mix for a playoff spot. Here are three takeaways from the Silver and Black’s third straight win.
End result all that matters
The Raiders didn’t bring their best Sunday afternoon. A better opponent probably would’ve capitalized on that and made life rough on the home team. They probably would’ve finished the day leading on the scoreboard.
The winless Bengals weren’t capable of that. They offered some resistance, especially in their run game and with their pass rush but didn’t have enough to eclipse the Silver and Black.
In the end, that’s all that matters. The Raiders won. Doesn’t matter if it was close most of the time. The NFL doesn’t offer style points.
The Raiders held serve and sit a half-game behind the Kansas City Chiefs -- who play the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night -- in the division. They sit in the AFC’s No. 7 slot, just outside the playoff picture as they don't hold the tiebreaker over the Chiefs.
This was a game the Raiders were supposed to win. They did that. They’ll have to do so again next week against the New York Jets to set up a Dec. 1 showdown with the Chiefs for the AFC West lead.
Derek Carr fuel-efficient
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was as efficient as ever through the air, adding another game to his run of solid performances Sunday afternoon.
Carr completed 25 of 29 passes for 292 yards, a touchdown and his first interception since Oct. 20. He also ran for a touchdown, slipping through the Bengals front to score from three yards out.
Carr was awesome at the start. He completed his first 14 passes -- the 15th should’ve been caught -- and had a 130.8 passer rating in the first half.
An interception trying to sneak a third-quarter pass to Hunter Renfrow – Jessie Bates undercut the route – was Carr’s major blemish.
Carr was under more pressure than usual in this one, which impacted some drives and kept things close. He failed to connect on a few key throws in the second half that stalled drives, but he played well overall and did what was required to secure a victory.
Maxx Crosby shows up big (again)
The first of two Raiders fourth-round draft picks entered Sunday’s game with 2.5 sacks. He exceeded that total against the Bengals with four takedowns in this game.
The first was a strip sack in the first quarter that Maurice Hurst recovered. The second came on third down in the third quarter and forced a punt. The third one wasn’t as consequential, but showed an efficiency impacting the quarterback displayed in recent games. The fourth made life hard on the Bengals' failed attempt to tie it late, which ended a play later on Trayvon Mullen's interception.
Crosby is a rare Raiders three-down defensive lineman, a role earned by making impact plays since getting an opportunity to play regularly in Week 4.
The Eastern Michigan product has 6.5 sacks total this season and is proving to be a steal from this draft’s middle rounds. Growth potential remains for a talented player still raw in several areas, with the work ethic required to develop under the Raiders coaching staff.