OAKLAND, California – It turned out to be a celebration rather than a funeral.
Marshawn Lynch, Oakland's favorite son, who had already played his last NFL game or not, lights the Al Davis Torch to wild applause.
Doug Martin, who was born in Oakland, found himself stranded in a 24-yard run before hurling an "O" out to his hometown with his outstretched hands.
And the Oakland Raiders, who played their last game at the Oakland Coliseum or not, have given their fans a thrill – at least until a decision is made on where the Raiders will play their home games in 2019 – in a 27 – 14th defeat of rival Denver Broncos in ESPN's Monday Night Football. [Raiders'neighborhoodDerekCarrdrivesaroundOaklandColiseumafterwinningawinoverDenveronMondaynight
"It was definitely important for me to have family and fans in Oakland, and it was definitely important for the players," said Martin, who has a season high of 107 yards on 21 runs reached. "I wanted to give you this win for a Christmas present and Merry Christmas to Oakland, I hope you enjoyed it, we love you."
In fact, love was in the air for the soaked and emotionally charged crowd of 53,850, along with question marks. But that much is known – the Raiders (4-11) will be in Las Vegas in 2020, and the NFL wants to know by the beginning of February at the latest where they want to play next year.
With So much Uncertainty In the air and rain before the game, which turned the field into a muddy moor, it was a lofty Christmas Eve in the Coliseum, the Raiders' House from 1966 to 1981 and again from 1995 to now with one 13- Season stay in Los Angeles in between.
The game began with a Christmas miracle of a game: Raiders punt returner Dwayne Harris took care of the Raiders as he picked up a ball the Broncos put in at the 1-yard line. Harris bobbed and wove his way through Denver's reporting team, scoring with a 99-yard return, the second-longest punt-return in NFL history. Associated with Patrick Peterson's 99-yarder in 2011, he pulled only Robert Bailey's 103-yarder behind in 1994.
Harris returned 157.5 yards on his TD return, the longest distance a ball carrier had, according to NFL Next Gen Stats in the last three seasons.
The win also showed another efficient game by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, whose understanding of Jon Gruden's offense continues to grow. Carr completed 19 of 26 passes for 167 yards, and his series of consecutive passes without interception reached 325; He has not been intercepted since 7 October.
The fans held up the signs and called on the Raiders to stay one last season.
But after the city of Oakland announced on December 11 that it was planned Chancellors filed a lawsuit against the Raiders and NFL against the team's move to southern Nevada and withdrew their rental offer of 7.5 Millions of dollars to stay off the table in the Coliseum.
And while both sides have been standing in stalemate, the San Francisco Giants have confirmed last week that they let the Raiders play at their AT & T Park waterfront baseball next season.
San Diego, as well as Santa Clara, was mentioned as a possible one-year home. Reno, Nevada; and Glendale, Arizona. Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Caplan wrote during the game on Monday on Twitter that the Raiders "do not have to do this last [their] last game" in the Coliseum and that they have the opportunity to play their last year in Oakland before he moves to Vegas.
"Instead, they are trying to play in a hard-to-reach place just to punish Oakland and their fans for having denied the NFL bribery system," Caplan commented.
Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN.com "All options are open" and has also said that he does not want to do business with an entity that sued him.
That night, however, it was about what was on the pitch at a stadium, which is still the only one shared by an NFL team and an MLB team. The Coliseum hosted some of NFL's most memorable games, from the "Heidi Game" to the "Sea of Hands". It has seen incredible heights for the Raiders when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC title in 1976 and defeated yet another conference title against the Tennessee Titans in 2002. He also had some incredible low points, like Carr, who broke his leg two years ago
Gruden, who stormed into the fans' Black Hole section after the game, said on Saturday he hopes to be in the next year To return to East Bay.
"If it is the last game, it will certainly be a sad day," he said.
"It's Christmas Eve and the end of the season we have to be grateful for We did not win many games but the people who know This football team knows what's going on inside and knows that one I think the fans appreciate the effort, and they know we appreciate it. "
Carr now made a Cal Ripken-like circuit throughout the Coliseum to beat fans who did not feel like it h the field in masses. Rather, at least half a dozen people running in the field were ripped off by security forces as the fans danced to the sounds of Oakland rappers Too Short and MC Hammer.
"I know it stings," Carr said. "I know it hurts that we could not play here because I do not know, but I would make sure that, if this was the last time, I wanted to thank everyone in every possible way that looks, Raider Nation, thanks, I love you, my family loves you, and you're the most loyal fans in the world.
"I know, it hurts we're not the Oakland Raiders forever, but we are still Raider Nation, and I know that they will always have our backs.
Building a 17-0 halftime advantage on Monday, this was the Raiders' biggest advantage this season, with Broncos in the winning formation, facing the black hole, the Raiders could savor the victory instead of falling behind at the last minute.
"There's no better way to win a game than to take a knee three times in the two [final] two minutes to let it take effect," said Receiver Jordy Nelson, who has seven catches for Had 75 yards. " Especially with the environment tonight, and what could that be. "
This, many longtime observers said, was a different mood than the last time the Raiders played a" last "time in Oakland – a disappointing 23-6 defeat to Chicago Bears led by Vince Evans on 13 December 1981.
Victory on Monday night could have hurt the Raiders' place – they moved from number 2 to number 4 – but that's the case for another day and another conversation.
"What a great way to celebrate the holidays and put a good taste in everyone's mouth here at the end of the season," said Lee Smith, "It's great. It is fun. It's a night nobody will forget with a Raiders logo. "