Winners of their first five games, the Kansas City Chiefs were riding high, despite suffering their first loss of the 2017 season four days prior.
The Oakland Raiders were riding a four-game losing streak after opening with two straight wins.
And on a rainy Thursday night in Oakland, the ancient AFC West rivals squared off in a Week 7 game that would feature too many subplots for a coherent 30 for 30 documentary.
What if I told you ... Marshawn Lynch would run onto the field during a second-quarter brawl to defend ... a Chiefs player, close friend Marcus Peters, after the cornerback was flagged for a late hit on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr?
Or that ... Lynch would be ejected for making contact with an official?
Or that ... NaVorro Bowman would start at middle linebacker three days after signing with Oakland -- and less than a week after the former All-Pro was released by the San Francisco 49ers -- and have a game-high 11 tackles and play 60 of 62 snaps on defense, all while wearing the "green dot" communications helmet?
Or that ... Carr would exorcise his Kansas City demons, so to speak, by leading an 85-yard drive in the final 2 minutes, 25 seconds to score a game-tying touchdown on an untimed down before the ensuing PAT gave Oakland the white-knuckle 31-30 victory, after four snaps and three penalties, inside the Chiefs' 10-yard line, a set of plays that began with seven seconds to play?
"If we all looked back at that moment, it was where a switch turned on for us," Carr said this week. "Now, we've been growing since then and we're still growing. We're always going to be growing. That was a good moment for this team to kind of catapult us forward and get on a run."
Including that game, the Raiders have won four of six, while the Chiefs have dropped six of seven to set up Sunday's game at Arrowhead Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS) between two of the three teams tied atop that AFC West at 6-6. Here's a look, then, at that fateful last drive on Oct. 19 in a game that saw seven lead changes and four "last" plays that may have set each team on a differing course for the rest of the season.
Chiefs are leading with 2:25 to play
With the Chiefs leading 30-24, the Raiders set up shop at their own 15-yard line with 2:25 to play and one timeout, plus the two-minute warning, at their disposal.
"It's funny, we've been there a lot," said Carr, who has engineered 13 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since 2014. "When you have familiar faces in the huddle, it's nice because we've done this a couple of times together. So when we took the field that last time, I looked at Rodney [Hudson] and said, 'All right, let's go.' I looked at my wideouts and I didn't have to say anything. They said, 'We got you, just throw it up.' That makes the quarterback's heart beat a little bit slower when you know you have guys that have your back."
Operating out of the shotgun, Carr hit wide receiver Amari Cooper, who would have a monster game with 11 catches for 210 yards and two TDs, for a 15-yard gain.
A pair of deep passes to Cooper and Johnny Holton fell incomplete, but Holton was called for offensive pass interference and the Raiders faced second-and-20 at their own 20-yard line before Carr found Cooper again, this time for a 39-yard gain.
"We let them out of that on a big play," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "That second-and-20 was big because that got a lot of yards without spending a lot of time. As the game ended up, if we had made them take more time to get those yards, we probably wouldn't have been in the situation we were at the end of the game."
Raiders driving with 41 seconds left
"I was guarding the tight end and a lot of them [are] bigger than me, but I've got to work on getting better positioning so I can get in better position to make a play," said the 5-foot-11, 199-pound Murray, who gives up 6 inches and 55 pounds to Cook. "It's not about, like, really speed. You know what I'm saying? A lot of them, they're just bigger than me, so I've just got to work my way in, kind of finagle my way in and do it like that, so he made a play."
Now at the 29-yard line, Carr took deep shots to Michael Crabtree and Roberts, with both throws falling incomplete. Then, with 23 seconds on the clock, Carr rolled to his left and threw a rainbow to the left pylon, at Cook, who outjumped Murray and Terrance Mitchell. But Roberts also was in the immediate area, running a similar pattern, which drew a third Chiefs defender, Daniel Sorensen, who just missed knocking the ball away.
"Tired, I was tired," Roberts said. "But them boys came to life. Jared Cook, Michael Crabtree, they came to life. Intense. It was crazy."
Raiders at the 1-yard line, for a short time
Cook rolled into the end zone for the touchdown with 17 seconds to play. Then came the replay official.
"Yeah, I thought I got it in," Cook said. "Even after the replay I saw, I thought I got it in. At least that's what it looked like on the Jumbotron. He didn't touch me. It was a great ball by Derek."
But Cook was ruled down inside the 1-yard line, and because the play was reviewed, 10 seconds were run off the clock and Oakland faced first-and-goal from the 1 with seven seconds to play. The last seven seconds on the game clock would take more than 10 minutes in real time to play.
"Upstairs we've got a guy in the box that is in constant communication with me and he let me know, 'Hey, it could be close, be ready to go,'" Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. "Then you're going to get that 10-second runoff and then they're going to snap it and put it in play and we have to be ready to snap it. We did a good job being organized and thoughtful through that period and were ready to handle that. That was critical."
Carr took the snap from the shotgun and lofted a fade to the right side to Crabtree, who was being covered by Peters. After Peters went down, Crabtree hauled in the TD. Then a flag came flying in. Crabtree had pushed off. Offensive pass interference. Oakland was moved back to the 10-yard line with three seconds to go.
"The Crab pushoff, I mean, it was kind of in that collection of plays tonight that I thought didn't have to be called," Del Rio said. "Could have been left alone, but it was called. We just kept going. No. 4 kept making plays. Special, special day."
"Peters, he's right, he did get pushed a little," CBS Sports analyst Tony Romo said on the broadcast. "But you show me a fade, where two guys are holding each other, and they don't push each other."
So Carr went back to work, but would not go after Peters again. In fact, of the 15 snaps on the final series, that was the only time Carr targeted Peters.
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Another shot at the end zone
Kansas City called a timeout just before Oakland snapped the ball, but when play resumed, Carr, in the shotgun, stepped up in the pocket and fired to Cook. The ball was high and it went through his outstretched hands and with no time remaining on the clock. Ballgame, right? Wrong.
Ron Parker was flagged for holding Cook.
"I saw them holding Jared so my emotions were like, 'OK, well, we're going to get another play,'" Carr said. "All of that sequence was just so weird."
"Man, they were holding the whole game," Cook said. "We told them in the first quarter and the referees did nothing about it, nothing at all. That's just crazy that it takes them the whole game to call that. But like I said, it's about resiliency, no matter what happens."
The Chiefs used their third timeout with the Raiders now at the Kansas City 5-yard line.
"You're a fan at that point, rooting on your defense," said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who passed for 342 yards and three TDs. "There were so many close plays out there, so you're just pulling for your guys."
"I was on the sideline praying to the sky, like, 'Lord we need this,'" Raiders running back Jalen Richard said. "It's one of those games that gives you goosebumps, man."
"There wasn't no doubt in my mind," Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack added. "D.C., just knowing the clutch capabilities he has and then the weapons that he has, Crab Coop showing up big. There wasn't no doubt in my mind."
Another penalty called
Cordarrelle Patterson was on the inside of Cooper and simply ran to the end zone and turned around to catch Carr's ball, but he could not get his left foot down in the end zone. He was ruled out. Ballgame, right? Wrong again. This time Murray was called for defensive holding.
"Multiple times you're thinking, we lost it, we won it, we lost it, we won it," Smith said. "Certainly, I think that second-to-last play, the ball got thrown out of the end zone and they called defensive holding and it's not even close to the play. That's the one that sticks out to me."
Except, Murray was indeed the one covering Patterson.
"I saw the guy holding him," Carr said, "so that one didn't get my emotions much."
The Raiders now had the ball at the 2-yard line, for their second untimed down.
"This has to be it," Carr thought. "We better make this one count. My emotions were definitely like, 'What is going on?' kind of a deal."
'A wild finish'
Carr took the snap in the shotgun, sprinted to his left and fired a laser to the front left pylon, where Crabtree beat Mitchell, who claimed Crabtree pushed off, and flashed enormous body control by racing up to catch the ball on his knees before falling forward to hit the pylon. Touchdown. So long as the replay official confirmed it. He did.
"D.C. said, 'Catch the ball,'" Crabtree said. "I went out there and made a play [Carr] was big. He took control in the huddle. He took control of the offense. All we did is be there for him. He's the captain. He's the quarterback. He's Derek Carr. All we're doing is making plays."
"There's a progression to it," Carr said. "Crab is first and I was calling for that play. If there's one thing about Crab, it doesn't matter what happens throughout the rest of the game, he always shows up. Obviously, he did at the end there. Twice. Made two big plays for us."
Ballgame. So long as Giorgio Tavecchio converted the PAT. He did, even if the ball curved a bit toward the right upright.
"It was a wild finish, probably the wildest finish I've had in my 13 years here with the Chiefs," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "One more play. One more play. Unfortunately, every time it was a couple more plays because of the penalties and stuff, but at the same time, it's just one more play, man. Just one more play."
"It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish," Roberts said. "And I feel like we're starting to click and get back to ourselves and it's coming at the right time, the right point of the season. Like Coach Del Rio says, great teams start playing ball in December. So that's our whole motivation. We're just trying to stay prepared, be ready."