LAS VEGAS (AP) — On a night when Josh Jacobs finally ended his 100-yard dry spell, he couldn’t quite forget the fumble that gave the New York Jets life late in the game.
“I didn’t want to be the reason why we lost,” he said.
Jacobs was just thankful the Las Vegas Raiders’ defense came through — twice.
Robert Spillane intercepted Zach Wilson’s pass at the Las Vegas 15 with 1:14 left and, after the Raiders punted, Wilson’s heave to the end zone fell incomplete on the final play to preserve the 16-12 victory Sunday night.
“There’s not too much difference between a 2-yard gain and a 4-yard gain, but when you get turnovers, you change the complexion of the game,” Spillane said.
The Raiders (5-5) improved to 2-0 under interim coach Antonio Pierce, who replaced Josh McDaniels.
“I had fun when I got in the locker room,” Pierce said. “When I was out there on the grass, that was stressful.”
Jacobs rushed for 116 yards on 27 attempts to end a 14-game streak without a 100-yard performance. The league’s reigning rushing champion came close the week before against the New York Giants, passing that mark before a 3-yard loss dropped him to 98 yards.
Aidan O’Connell who passed for 153 yards and connected with fellow rookie Michael Mayer for the game’s only touchdown and became the second Raiders rookie quarterback to win two of his first three starts. Mike Rae, in 1976, was the other.
“He’s not a rookie,” said Davante Adams, who led the Raiders with six catches for 86 yards. “By years he is, but by actions and the poise in those types of situations, you don’t see that often by a rookie quarterback. The way he commands the huddle, the way he talks to us, the communication, the confidence … I’m glad he’s our guy.”
The score was 9-9, with each team having made three field goals, when O’Connell scrambled and found Mayer for a 7-yard touchdown strike early in the fourth quarter to put the Raiders in front for good at 16-9. Mayer outjumped safety Jordan Whitehead for his first career TD catch.
“Many, many more to come, hopefully,” Mayer said. “It’s a really special thing to be able to do that for my teammates, do that for my coaches. This organization’s been through a lot the past couple of weeks.”
On the other side, Zach Wilson passed for 263 yards, and Garrett Wilson caught nine passes for 93 yards, but the Jets (4-5) have gone 36 consecutive drives without a touchdown.
Greg Zuerlein connected on field goals of 47, 53, 30 and 45 yards for New York, which led 9-3 after his third field goal early in the second quarter. Zuerlein has made at least one field goal in 26 consecutive games, extending the NFL’s longest active streak.
New York had opportunities to take a bigger lead early, but had all three scoring drives interrupted by penalties. The Jets entered the game last in the league in converting red-zone opportunities in touchdowns at 23.8%, though only one of those drives got inside the Raiders 20.
“We’re generating offense, we’re moving the ball, but we’re not finishing our drives the way we need to,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said.
Daniel Carlson made his second field goal, a 54-yarder on the final play of the first half, to get the Raiders to 9-6. Late in the third quarter, DeAndre Carter returned a punt 32 yards to the Jets 45. The Raiders converted a fourth-and-1 before the drive stalled, and Carlson booted a 40-yard field goal to tie it.
After Mayer put the Raiders ahead with the first TD catch of his career, the Jets responded with a 35-yard catch-and-run by Breece Hall. But that drive only resulted in another field goal.
O’Connell fumbled a snap and threw an interception on consecutive plays late in the first quarter. Pierce tried to challenge the spot of the pick, but wasn’t allowed to because all turnovers are automatically reviewed. The aborted challenge cost him a timeout.
Jets: LB C.J. Mosley went into the blue medical tent with an undisclosed injury late in the fourth quarter, but Saleh said he would have come back in if needed. … LB Sam Eguavoen (hip) was injured and did not return.
Raiders: LT Kolton Miller didn’t play because of a shoulder injury. Jermaine Eluemunor moved from the right spot to play that position and Thayer Munford started at RT. … CB Marcus Peters (knee) played after being listed as questionable. CB Amik Robertson suffered a concussion early in the second quarter trying to tackle Hall.
Jets: At Buffalo on Sunday in an AFC East matchup.
Raiders: At Miami on Sunday, their only road game in a six-week span.
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