OAKLAND - Raiders quarterback Derek Carr's heroics running and throwing eclipsed Bengals running back Joe Mixon's theatrical return to his hometown when his scrambling three-yard touchdown run on third down with 1:37 left in the half gave the Raiders a 14-7 half-time lead.
Carr avoided tackles by left end Carlos Dunlap and linebacker Nick Vigil to punctuate a half he killed the Bengals on third down. With Carr hitting his first 14 passes for 151 yards, the Raiders converted five of seven third downs.
But Bengals rookie quarterback Ryan Finley nearly stole them three points at the end of the half. After Brandon Wilson's 38-yard kick return, Finley scrambled for 24 yards and then hit wide receiver Auden Tate over the middle for 14 yards as he got drilled in the back. But he had to fight through a hold on left tackle John Jerry and a false start on left guard Billy Price as the play clock ran down. Randy Bullock's streak of 11 straight field goals came to an end on a 53-yarder that was wide left.
After missing some open receivers and getting some pressure on others, Finley finished the half just 8 of 16 for 57 yards.
Mixon finished with just seven carries in the half, but they went for 47 yards as the Bengals couldn't get into a groove, going just one for six on third down. Third down was the difference in the half.
Mixon used a terrific pirouette on a reverse-the-field three-yard touchdown run that gave the Bengals a 7-0 lead and their first rushing touchdown of the season by a back after he dominated the 12-play, 85-yard drive ending with 3:03 left in the half.
Mixon, 43 yards on his first five carries, started the Bengals' lone scoring drive with his longest run of the year on the first snap, a 30-yarder on a pitch right behind the pulling guard and tackle, the same kind of movement that revived the run game last week on Mixon's season-high 114 yards against the Ravens.
Tight end Tyler Eifert kept the drive going when he got open down the middle on fourth-and-three for 18 yards to put the Bengals in the red zone, where they got a 10-yard burst from running back Giovani Bernard over the left side and holding penalty drawn by wide receiver Tyler Boyd in the end zone to set up Mixon's scoring run.
But the Bengals didn't convert another third down while their defense doled them out from that point.
The Raiders tied it on the next drive, a galling 91-play touchdown drive that saw Carr barely escape two sacks on third-and-six by stepping up and hitting wide receiver Tyrell Williams under a zone for 20 yards and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow getting away from everybody for 27 yards with cornerback William Jackson III the nearest to him. Then Carr, who hit his first 11 passes for 117 yards, killed them one final time on third down when he lofted a two-yard touchdown pass to tight Foster Moreau, the only guy on the left side of the end zone after Carr hit them with a play-action fake.
The Bengals couldn't match it. Finley couldn't hit Mixon on a screen pass that the Raiders had sniffed out pretty well and he got time to hit Boyd on third down for a first down, but cornerback Daryl Worley was velcroed to him and knocked the ball out of Boyd's hands as he tucked it away.
That gave Carr a fresh set of downs and that was deadly. He started it off with a 24-yard pass over the middle to Williams and running back Josh Jacobs (73 yards on 12 carries) did the rest until Carr got close. Carr hitting his first 14 passes conjured up memories of Lamar Jackson hitting his first ten lat week.
They traded turnovers early. Finley suffered his second second career fumble on the first series of his start. He was facing a third-and-10 after two quick throws to Boyd netted a no gain and rookie defensive end Clelin Ferrell's fifth deflection of the season. The other end, Maxx Crosby, then beat Jerry right from the jump for a blind-side sack where Finley had no shot as he was throwing and the ball came out at the Bengals 28.
Check out the game action photos from the Bengals' Week 11 game against the Oakland Raiders.
Jacobs returned the favor on a huge play for the Bengals defense at their 15. Tackle Josh Tupou punched the ball out and Vigil recovered.
The Bengals staged a Double A gap blitz on third-and-six on the first series of the game and Dunlap was the beneficiary with his first sack in two months and second of the season.