FSM Essential Recap: Week 15 – Raiders vs Browns

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (7-7) | Cleveland Browns (7-7)


The Raiders beat the Cleveland Browns on Monday afternoon 16-14 to keep their slim playoffs alive.


Raiders vs Browns
Photo Credit: David Richard/AP

Las Vegas Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson kicked a 48-yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock to give the Raiders a 16-14 win over the Cleveland Browns in one of the strangest games of the season.

Initially scheduled for Dec. 18, the game was pushed back two days because of a rash of positive COVID-19 tests among the Browns. But, unfortunately, the delay did not change much. Twenty-two players, including quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski, were unavailable when the Browns finally played. And the result, when all the hope, determination, and positive vibe the Browns expressed was stripped away, was predictable.

The Browns played without ten starters.

Cleveland could not muster anything on offense for more than half of the game. Finally, after a few Derek Carr turnovers, the Browns came alive to take the lead, but Carr had one more trick up his sleeve. The Fresno State product led his team down the field to set up a last-second field goal attempt from Daniel Carlson. Carlson snuck the first attempt inside the field goal posts, but stand-in head coach Mike Priefer had called a timeout. However, on the second attempt, Carlson was true, unlike the Browns Chase McLaughlin in a similar situation in the first half.

Las Vegas remains alive in the AFC playoff picture, but both teams face an uphill climb with the season drawing to its conclusion.

It’s time to give credit where credit is due, which is to the Raiders defense. Cleveland had less than 100 yards of total offense in the first half. It wasted a half of football by scoring zero points and, given the circumstances, did not have the offense to face a steep deficit. There was no fatal flaw but rather an accumulation of small errors from penalties to missed tackles and more.

On the second to last offensive play, the Browns’ defense had tight end Foster Moreau dead to rights inbounds and short of a first down. Instead, they inexplicably did not tackle him and allowed him to squeeze out roughly an additional 5 yards. It cost them crucial time and field positioning. Cleveland made Moreau look like Tyreek Hill in open space all evening.


Derek Carr made some huge throws down the stretch for the Raiders as well hit another career milestone.


Raiders vs Browns
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

He is the only Raiders quarterback to record multiple 4,000-plus seasons, while only two other quarterbacks in franchise history have registered a single 4,000-yard season; Rich Gannon and Carson Palmer. Gannon still holds the Raiders’ single-season record for passing yards with a total of 4,689.

The Raiders franchise quarterback, now over 4,000 passing yards on the season, had zipped the team down the field, finding soft spots in the secondary and giving the Silver and Black a shot at a field goal late. It was something No. 4 has done so many times, 27, in fact, during his career as a Raider.

He had all the confidence in Carlson to drill the game-winning kick.

In my brain, when we got that ball back, I know what yard line I got to get Daniel to have a chance. And Daniel has proven [that] over and over again for me,Carr said after the win. “People want to talk about the comeback wins and all this kind of stuff … but it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t make the kick. … He’s a super confident player; good friend, too so that makes it cool. I don’t really watch the ball; I watch his reaction.


Playoffs? You’re talking playoffs? Playoffs? Are you kidding me, PLAYOFFS?!


Raiders vs Browns
Photo Credit: Marxus Mosher

Going into Week 15, the Raiders didn’t have much of a chance to make the playoffs. Their odds sat at just five percent after back-to-back losses.

But all of a sudden, the Raiders are alive in the AFC. Despite being on the road, they got a much-needed win over the Browns in Week 15. Sitting at 7-7, they’ve seen their odds double in the last week.

According to FiveThirtyEight, their playoff odds sit at 11 percent after Week 15. And if they can get a win in Week 16 against the Broncos, their odds will double once again. And with some losses from the Steelers, Browns, and Colts, their odds could rise even further.

The point here is that the Raiders are still right in the thick of things in the AFC. And if they win their final three games, they will likely be in the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

It’s been quite the season for the Raiders. But as we enter the holiday weekend, the Silver and Black are very much alive in the conference.


The Raiders will now host the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium Sunday. The kickoff will be at 1:05 pm and can be seen on CBS.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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