Entering Week 9, the Oakland Raiders won two straight and were beginning to show some signs of life under rookie head coach Dennis Allen. Quarterback Carson Palmer and the Raiders had a favorable matchup against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Palmer had a field day against a struggling Tampa Bay pass defense, completing 39-of-61 passes for 414 yards with four touchdowns and three crucial interceptions. Despite the struggles from the Tampa Bay secondary, it was the Raiders' inability to slow down rookie running back Doug Martin. Martin had a historic day. He carried the ball 25 times for 251 yards and four touchdowns, putting himself in the record books among rookie running backs.
The Raiders went into the half with a 10-7 lead, but that would not last. The Buccaneers offense started clicking in the third quarter. The first score of the second half came on a Doug Martin run of 45 yards to put the Bucs up 14-10 early in the third quarter. The Bucs followed Martin's touchdown run with drives of 60 and 68 yards, which included another touchdown sprint from Martin, this time for 67 yards.
The Raiders responded with a four-yard touchdown reception from Palmer to tight end Brandon Myers, cutting the Bucs lead to 28-17. The Bucs responded with what else? Another long touchdown run of 70 yards from Martin. Martin put Tampa Bay ahead 35-17 early in the fourth quarter, and Dennis Allen's Raiders seemed to be out of this one.
With running back Darren McFadden out of the game due to an apparent ankle injury in the second quarter, Palmer was forced to put the Raiders on his back in a late-game comeback attempt. Palmer led the Silver and Black to two scoring drives with another touchdown from Brandon Myers and a 13-yard snag from fullback Marcel Reece.
Despite giving up several big plays to Doug Martin, the Raiders defense actually came up with a big play. They recovered a Josh Freeman fumble that took place on a hand-off exchange to running back LeGarrette Blount. Richard Seymour recovered the fumble, and it led to the touchdown pass from Palmer to Reece.
The Raiders could cut the lead to three with Coach Allen's decision to go for the two-point conversion. Allen made a good call, as Palmer completed a lofted ball to rookie receiver Juron Criner.
The Raiders defense would force a punt and get the ball back, only to leave Raider fans disappointed due to a Palmer interception. The Buccaneers would put the game away on a one-yard scoring run from Martin to extend the lead to 42-32. This was Martin's fourth and final touchdown on the day.
This was a difficult loss to swallow for the Raider Nation, as they hoped to extend their winning streak to three games. Tampa Bay had other ideas, riding the hot hand of its rookie sensation. The Raiders drop to 3-5 and travel to Baltimore next week to battle the Ravens
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