The Oakland Raiders have pulled out two surprising victories in
the last three weeks thanks to fourth-quarter comebacks.
The Washington Redskins have been victimized by one in three
The Raiders look to win a third home game in the same season for
the first time since 2004 when they host the Redskins on
Oakland (4-8) beat AFC North-leading Cincinnati 20-17 on Nov. 22
and knocked off defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh 27-24 last
Both victories came thanks to late comebacks. After the Raiders
rallied for 10 points in the final 33 seconds against the Bengals,
Bruce Gradkowski threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter
versus the Steelers, including the game-winning 11-yarder to Louis
Murphy with nine seconds remaining.
Gradkowski became the first Raiders quarterback to throw for
three TDs in the final quarter since Ken Stabler did it against New
Orleans in 1979. He also is the only NFL quarterback since at least
1991 to throw three go-ahead touchdown passes in the fourth.
Gradkowski started for the third straight game in place of the
ineffective JaMarcus Russell, posting a career-high 121.8
quarterback rating as he went 20 of 33 for a career-best 308
“I’m pretty confident in my abilities and being a starter in
this league,” said Gradkowski, who hasn’t been a regular starter
since 2006 with Tampa Bay. “If (Sunday) cemented it, that’s good.
My goal is to continue to be successful and put this team in
position to win football games.”
While Gradkowski has led the Raiders to two comeback wins, the
Redskins (3-9) have blown fourth-quarter leads in three straight
and lost those games by a combined seven points.
They fell 33-30 in overtime to New Orleans last Sunday after the
undefeated Saints scored 10 points in the fourth, tying the game on
a 53-yard pass from Drew Brees to Robert Meachem with 1:19
The Redskins missed a 58-yard field goal as time expired after
Shaun Suisham missed a 23-yard try with 1:52 left, which would have
given Washington a 33-23 lead. The Redskins got the ball first in
overtime but Mike Sellers fumbled at Washington’s 37-yard line to
help set up New Orleans’ winning field goal.
“We could have been 6-6 and fighting for something,” Jason
Campbell, who threw for career highs of 367 yards and three
touchdowns, told the team’s official Web site. “Instead we’re
In response to the latest loss, Suisham was cut Monday. He made
his first 13 field goal attempts this season but had two key misses
in a 7-6 loss to Dallas three weeks ago.
“I know he’ll be upset,” coach Jim Zorn said on his weekly radio
show on ESPN980. “He should be, but yet there’s an accountability
there. We’ll all end up being accountable for our season, no
question about it.”
Rookie Graham Gano has never kicked in an NFL game but will be
taking over for Suisham, who may not be the only one to have
recently played his last game for Washington.
Clinton Portis was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after
suffering a concussion last month. He has since struggled with
vision problems and dizziness, and there are questions when and
where he’ll play again. In his eighth NFL season, Portis rushed for
494 yards and one touchdown in eight games.
“Do I think there will be change? I do,” Portis said on his
weekly radio appearance. “And if I’m part of that change would I be
sad and devastated? I won’t.”
This is the teams’ first meeting since the Raiders lost 16-13 in
Washington in 2005 and the first matchup at Oakland since 1998.
The Raiders, who have won four of five versus the Redskins, have
gone 2-6 at home every season since finishing 3-5 in 2004.