It wasn't the homecoming Raiders fans expected. Coming off two wins, Oakland returned home to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Except the hometown native, Doug Martin, got the standing ovation in the Raiders 42-32 loss to the Buccaneers.
Rookie Martin rushed for a franchise record 251 yards and four touchdowns. Born and raised in Oakland, Doug couldn't have imagined a better way to return home. According to STATS LLC, he was the first running back since 1940 to score three touchdowns of at least 45 yards in one game.
"I have to give a lot of credit to the line, they opened up holes and stayed on blocks so I can get through," Martin said. "It's awesome, words can't describe how this day feels to perform in front of family, friends, teachers and school mates. It's just indescribable!"
"Mistakes like that you can't overcome and you can't make," said Carson Palmer. "Me being the quarterback, you can't do that. I can't throw that ball. You just need to take a sack sometimes if things are off and come back the next play."
After being down 35-17 in the fourth quarter, Oakland made an incredible comeback to cut the lead 35-32 with two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. But Palmer's pass was intercepted in the final minutes and that was it for the Raiders.
"Carson had to get rid of the ball a little bit quicker than he wanted to," coach Dennis Allen said. "I'm not sure exactly what happened on the route."
It's astounding to watch an offense that has struggled to get into the end zone and trail by so many points fight back only to fail in the end. Palmer threw for 414 yards which included four touchdowns but the two interceptions in the end was more memorable.
In addition to Doug's outstanding performance, Josh Freeman threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Tampa Bay scored at least 28 points for a franchise record for a fourth straight game. They dominated most of the game but got stopped by Oakland's defense periodically in the fourth.
Despite losing key players, Tommy Kelly, Darren McFadden (ankle injury, X-rays came back negative) and Mike Goodson (ankle injury), the Raiders found ways to get back in the game without their running game being the key component.
The players concur that Carson's leadership is what got them going. His words of encouragement kept their heads in the game. However, the unfortunate demise of Palmer's ability not to turn the ball over is the downfall of this team. For a veteran player this is just inexcusable, yet his teammates still support him.
Marcel Reece said Carson told the team in the huddle, "Keep playing, we're going to get it.' That's it. That's all he needed to tell us. We trust him, we believe in him and we;re ready to play behind him."