It's a walk-off: Las Vegas Raiders' historic run of last-play wins has them in playoff hunt

The Raiders have celebrated five last-second wins this season, including Sunday's victory against the Colts. Michael Hickey/Getty Images

HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Las Vegas Raiders' flair for the dramatic has them on the precipice of just their second playoff berth since the 2002 Super Bowl season.

It has also been nothing short of historic.

The Raiders' five walk-off wins this season are the most by a team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, bettering the four the Baltimore Ravens had in 2015, per Elias Sports Bureau.

"We'd like to think that we are a team that cares about each other," said Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia, who took over for Jon Gruden on Oct. 11 and has gone 6-5 in his place.

"We're a team that knows what to do and does what we know. And then, we are a team that is going to compete with relentless effort from start to finish and sometimes it's going to go your way, and sometimes it doesn't."

Except, when it's come to walk-offs, the Raiders have only known one way.

A breakdown, then, of the Raiders' five walk-off wins ... thus far:

No. 1: Week 1 vs. Baltimore Ravens

What happened: What a way to kick off ESPN's Monday Night Football in the first regular-season NFL game in Las Vegas with fans. First, Daniel Carlson had to drill a 55-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime, a mere 35 seconds after the Ravens had taken the lead with their own 47-yard boot from Justin Tucker. Then, after the Raiders seemingly won on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Bryan Edwards on the opening drive of OT, setting off a celebration, the replay official ruled Edwards down at the 1-yard line. A stuffed Carr sneak, an Alex Leatherwood false start and an incompletion later, Carr fired a fastball off Willie Snead IV's hands and into the waiting arms of Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett for an end zone interception.

All the Ravens needed was a field goal to win. But five snaps later, Carl Nassib, making history as the first openly gay player to appear in a regular-season NFL game, strip-sacked Lamar Jackson, with Darius Philon recovering the fumble at the Baltimore 27-yard line. But after a 1-yard run by Kenyan Drake and with the Raiders trying to set up for a game-winning field goal, they were penalized for delay of game. No matter, Carr hit a wide open Zay Jones for a walk-off 31-yard touchdown pass. Raiders 33, Ravens 27. And a breathless audience exhaled. Finally.

What it meant: The Raiders' home opener, which included a halftime concert by rappers Ice Cube and Too Short, was a show worthy of the Las Vegas Strip and set the stage for a roller coaster season to come.

What they said: "We were down 14-0 to the Ravens and it didn't look pretty. It didn't look good. But when you can come back and find a way to win against a team like that, that's saying something. That's an impressive victory. And like they say here, 'Just Win, Baby!'" -- Jon Gruden

No. 2: Week 3 vs. Miami Dolphins

What happened: Having fallen behind 14-0 at home for the second time in three weeks, the Raiders scored 25 unanswered points -- starting with a perfectly-timed tackle for a safety by cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. -- only to see the Dolphins force OT on a 2-point conversion with two seconds left in regulation. Then things got spicy as the teams traded field goals on their initial overtime possessions.

Enter backup running back Peyton Barber, signed off the street a week before the season began. After a 34-yard pass from Carr to Edwards got the Raiders to the Dolphins' 46-yard line, Barber ran the ball four times for 40 yards to get Las Vegas to the 6-yard line. A neutral zone infraction preceded Carlson's game-winning 22-yarder with three seconds left in OT. Raiders 31, Dolphins 28.

What it meant: Las Vegas improved to 3-0. It would also be the last game Gruden would win as Raiders coach.

What they said: "The fans are great, they didn't leave us. I might have left when it was 14-0 after the way we started that game, but they didn't leave us. They make a big difference for the guys on the sidelines and it makes it hard on the opposition now. It makes it hard on the opposing team to execute. It's a loud place and there were too many doggone Dolphins fans there. I noticed that today. But you've got to give Miami credit, it's a storied franchise. They travel well, and they had their faithful here as well." -- Gruden

No. 3: Week 12 at Dallas Cowboys

What happened: A 56-yard FG by Carlson and a 45-yarder by Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein, both with less than two minutes to go in regulation, set up overtime. Dallas won the coin toss, but the Raiders defense forced a three-and-out on the Cowboys' initial possession of OT. Then Las Vegas' vertical game went to work. Sort of.

Because with the Raiders facing third-and-18 at their own 43-yard line, Carr uncorked a bomb to Jones down the right side. Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown was flagged for pass interference, his fourth such flag of the game (his PIs totaled 91 yards), and the Raiders moved to the Dallas 24-yard line. Three runs gained 8 yards before a false start and a pair of neutral zone infractions placed the ball at the Dallas 11. Carlson then ended the 3-hour, 53-minute Thanksgiving Day marathon with a 29-yard field goal. Raiders 36, Cowboys 33.

What it meant: While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones lamented the number of PIs against his team, calling it, "Throw Up Ball," the Raiders pulled out of a three-game, post-bye tailspin in front of a huge Turkey Day national audience, the largest NFL regular-season TV audience since 1993, with the win, though they'd lose their next two.

What they said: "I mean, no one thought we were going to win this game. I don't really blame you for how we played last week, Paul. But we did. And you were wrong. That felt good, because I love you. But I don't know, I don't rank those things. It was fun. Gave it my all just like I always do. We just executed better today. The penalties obviously helped, and they were legitimate things that happened. We kept saying, 'They're holding.' If they don't hold us, we feel like we're going to hit those plays. I thought for our whole team, everything that has gone on, for us to bounce back, it says a lot about the football character -- the character of the men ... that's why I believe that we can keep going and make it a good run." -- Carr

No. 4: Week 15 at Cleveland Browns

What happened: Already delayed 49 hours by the NFL because of the Browns' COVID-19 outbreak, the Raiders let a ravaged Browns team playing its third-string quarterback hang around long enough to where Cleveland seemed like it would sneak out a win. Or did you miss Carr, with less than three minutes to play and the Raiders down 14-13, getting picked off by Browns cornerback Greedy Williams on a deep ball thrown in Jones' direction? Cleveland took over on its own 23-yard line and would have clinched the game with a first down. But Las Vegas forced a three-and-out and the Raiders started at their own 29-yard line with 1:50 to play and no timeouts.

Carr deftly moved the Raiders downfield with short and intermediate passes, hitting running back Josh Jacobs for 9 yards, tight end Foster Moreau for 3 and 12 yards, Jones for 12 and 15 yards (he had a 17-yarder was negated by holding) and suddenly the Raiders were at the Cleveland 30-yard line. Carlson, who earlier in the month had signed a four-year, $18.4 million contract extension, was true twice -- the first was waved off by a Cleveland timeout attempting to "ice" him -- as he nailed the walk-off 48-yarder as time expired. Raiders 16, Browns 14.

What it meant: The Raiders' season was saved. A loss and it would have been easy to see Las Vegas losing out and finishing 7-10. Instead, the Raiders ended a two-game losing streak with the win and set their sights on an unlikely postseason push.

What they said: "It kind of goes dead when you get in the zone. You have to turn it into background noise. Obviously, when I'm on the sidelines and people are yelling at me, it's always fun. When I'm in the zone and so focused, I'm not very good at multitasking -- just ask my wife. If I'm on my phone, I'm not going to hear her yell at me either. Maybe that's a good thing." -- Carlson

No. 5: Week 17 at Indianapolis Colts

What happened: The Raiders were at the Colts' 48-yard line with 54 seconds to go and the score tied, facing third-and-10. That's when Carr, under heavy pressure, stepped up in the pocket and threw to his right, leading a breaking Hunter Renfrow with a perfectly placed ball over Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II. Renfrow came down with it inside the 25-yard line and only a heel touch by Moore, as Renfrow lost his balance and slipped to the turf, kept it from being a touchdown.

Indeed, it was initially ruled a TD before the replay official saw the touch and gave Las Vegas the ball at the Indianapolis 24-yard line. Three Jacobs runs later and the Raiders were at the Colts' 15-yard line with two seconds to go. Enter Carlson. Ballgame. Raiders 23, Colts 20.

What it meant: The Raiders' improbable march to a win-and-they're-in-the-playoffs showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers stayed on course.

What they said: "I didn't think I was [touched] at first, but I'm glad I was. Because then we were able to run the clock down." -- Renfrow