Raiders 27, Vikings 21
MINNEAPOLIS -- Hue Jackson watched his Oakland Raiders overcome a serious injury to receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, a costly turnover by running back Michael Bush and, in Jackson's eyes, some unfair treatment from the officials to remain on top of the AFC West.
Just another day at the office for one of the league's most resilient teams.
"We continue to battle and that's what I really love about my football team is they won't quit," Jackson said.
Bush rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders (6-4), who barely held on in a mistake-filled fourth quarter that may have been influenced by Heyward-Bey's scary exit.
Adrian Peterson left the game in the second quarter because of an injured left ankle for the Vikings, who fell to 2-8 for the first time since 1962.
Palmer, who completed 17 of 23 passes in his third game as the Oakland starter, led the Raiders to touchdown drives after two turnovers and a botched field goal by the Vikings, helping Oakland take a 27-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
But Heyward-Bey was injured when linebacker E.J. Henderson's knee inadvertently hit him in the back of the head while he was being tackled, and his teammates were visibly shaken as he was taken off the field with no movement in his extremities visible.
"It's definitely scary," Palmer said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him and I know he has family watching the game. It's a tough situation to be in."
Jackson said Heyward-Bey had total movement in his limbs and that he has been diagnosed with a neck injury. Jackson said it was his hope that the former first-round draft choice would join the team on the plane ride home and undergo further tests in Oakland.
"He's going to be fine," Jackson said. "I truly believe he's going to be OK, but obviously we have to take all the precautionary measures to make sure he's going to be OK."
After the injury, the Raiders had a field goal blocked and their defense committed a rash of penalties to help the Vikings get back in the game.
Christian Ponder threw a 26-yard TD pass to Percy Harvin to make it 27-14. Three Raiders penalties helped the Vikings move into scoring range again on the next possession, but Stanford Routt intercepted Ponder in the end zone to end that threat.
But Bush fumbled a few players later and Ponder cashed in with a 1-yard TD to Kyle Rudolph.
The Vikings got the ball back at their own 29 with three minutes to play. But Tyvon Branch broke up a pass to Harvin on fourth down to preserve the victory.
Ponder was 19 for 33 for 211 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
"Bad decisions by me, and I take full responsibility for this loss," Ponder said. "The defense played unbelievably well and kept us in the game. We just kept making mistakes."
The Raiders were penalized 12 times for 117 yards in the game, including four personal foul penalties for hits deemed illegal by the officials. Jackson said he thought some of those calls were "unfair."
"I know everyone says we're the most-penalized team in football and that's a fact, and I'm not running from that," Jackson said. "But there's no way, some things that happened today on that football field, I question. I just do, and I have to, and I'm going to defend my team. It's time that I do that."
Peterson left the game early in the second quarter after a nifty 12-yard run. He lost the shoe on his right foot during the run and his left ankle rolled grotesquely as he was pulled down from behind by a couple of Raiders defenders. Peterson limped off the field and was taken by cart to the locker room for X-rays, which were negative.
Palmer did what a veteran quarterback is supposed to do -- capitalize on mistakes. After Matt Giordano picked off a poorly thrown pass from Ponder at the Raiders 5 and returned it to near midfield, Palmer guided the Raiders the rest of the way, capping the drive with an 11-yard TD pass to Chaz Schilens for a 10-7 lead.
The Vikings botched a field goal attempt on the next drive when holder Chris Kluwe bobbled the snap. Bush ripped off a 28-yard run, Palmer executed a nice shovel pass to Marcel Reece and Bush flattened safety Tyrell Johnson after meeting in the hole at the 2-yard line to bulldoze into the end zone.
Lorenzo Booker fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Raiders the ball at the 16 with about 90 seconds to go in the first half. Palmer hit Kevin Boss for 11 yards and sneaked into the end zone from 1 yard for a 24-7 halftime lead.
"Like Coach Jackson said, we haven't played a complete football game yet," Palmer said. "And it's scary to think, when we do, what it's going to look like."
NOTES: The Raiders also lost RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring), C Samson Satele (concussion) and DE Jarvis Moss (hamstring) to injuries in the game. All three will be evaluated on Monday. ... Heyward-Bey had four catches for 43 yards in the game. ... A bizarre sequence happened in the first quarter when officials forgot to reset the down marker after a first down holding penalty on Vikings WR Michael Jenkins. So when the Vikings were sending in a package for third-and-8, the officials had it as fourth down. The Vikings called timeout, and after a long delay and several conversations, referee Jerome Boger made the correction and gave Minnesota its timeout back. "It was just a madhouse," Harvin said. "But they did get it right in the end."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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