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 consecutive games.
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 Sunday.
Oakland (4-8) beat AFC North-leading Cincinnati 20-17 on Nov. 22 and knocked off defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh 27-24 last Sunday.
Both victories came thanks to late comebacks. After the Raiders rallied for 10 points in the final 33 seconds against the Bengals, Bruce Gradkowski(notes) threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter versus the Steelers, including the game-winning 11-yarder to Louis Murphy(notes) 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.
“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(notes) to Robert Meachem(notes) with 1:19 remaining.
The Redskins missed a 58-yard field goal as time expired after Shaun Suisham(notes) 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(notes) fumbled at Washington’s 37-yard line to help set up New Orleans’ winning field goal.
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.”
Clinton Portis(notes) 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 won 16-13 in Washington on Nov. 20, 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.