Oakland Raiders Clinch 1st Winning Season Since 2002

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffNovember 28, 2016

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates in the stands after scoring on an interception of Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter of their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders snapped the NFL's longest active streak without a winning season by defeating the Carolina Panthers 35-32 on Sunday, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The Raiders hadn't posted a winning season since 2002, going 13 straight without more than eight victories. The last Oakland team to do so went 11-5 and lost the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A number of good picks in recent NFL drafts have played a huge role in the team's turnaround this season. High-round names such as Derek Carr (2014), Amari Cooper (2015) and Khalil Mack (2014) each made significant impacts both Sunday and overall this season.

Carr's late-game heroics against Carolina made him the first quarterback in franchise history to lead five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in a single season. His biggest target—Cooper—leads the team in receptions (66) and receiving yards (922) thus far.

On the defensive side of the ball, Mack made some history himself in Sunday's contest. The star linebacker became the first player since Charles Woodson in 2009 to record an interception, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown in a single game.

Sunday's win pushed the club's winning streak to five. It also keeps Oakland a game ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs—who defeated the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football—in the AFC West. The Raiders remain tied with the New England Patriots for the best record in the AFC.

The team could be headed for Las Vegas as soon as 2019. Even if that's the case, the Raiders at least have a chance to part ways with Oakland on a good path. Although not the favorites, Odds Shark has pushed their odds into the top five to secure the Lombardi Trophy prior to Sunday's action.

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