Mexico City — Derek Carr made more big plays for Oakland, questionable calls by the officials peeved the Texans and an unexpected laser show from the stands took both teams off guard.
The NFL’s second regular season game in Mexico City featured a little bit of everything.
Carr threw two of his three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and the Raiders capitalized on two disputed spots that thwarted a potential scoring drive for Houston to beat the Texans 27-20 on Monday night.
“It wasn’t maybe one of our cleaner games in terms of execution but we showed tremendous grit,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “We got an opportunity late in the game to seize control and we did.”
The Raiders (8-2) got a little help as well on the way to their first four-game winning streak since their last playoff season in 2002. The most notable breaks came midway through the fourth quarter when the Texans (6-4) were driving for a potential go-ahead score after Oakland had tied the game on Carr’s 75-yard pass to Jamize Olawale .
On a third-and-2 from the Oakland 16, Lamar Miller ran wide and appeared to get the first down before being tackled by Malcolm Smith. But the officials spotted it short of the marker and coach Bill O’Brien opted not to challenge.
O’Brien then went for it on fourth-and-inches instead of kicking the go-ahead field goal. Akeem Hunt ran up the middle and the Texans thought he got the first down, only to have it marked about an inch short . O’Brien challenged this time but with no clear angle, the play was not overturned.
“I felt like we needed a touchdown there and obviously we did,” O’Brien said. “And so we went for it. Thought we had it, looked like it was clear that we had it, so I challenged it and they said we didn’t have it. They said the call on the field stands, so I don’t know.”
Five plays later, Carr connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper that gave the Raiders (8-2) a 27-20 lead and sent them to their fourth straight win.
The most memorable image of the NFL’s first game in Mexico City since 2005 might have been the green laser that frequently shined in Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler’s direction as a potential distraction used more commonly in soccer games here.
“Yeah, that was kind of weird,” Raiders pass rusher Khalil Mack said. “I saw that and I thought I was in the Twilight Zone.”