By Zane Miller
The 2019 season saw the Raiders look to be on the path to a winning record initially, taking a 6-4 record through the first 10 games. However, the season began to collapse after a three-game losing streak, all of which were lost by at least three possessions, setting themselves up at 6-7 coming into their contest against Jacksonville.
The Jaguars were in a similar position as Oakland, after having a respectable start to the year, a five-game losing skid saw Jacksonville fall out of postseason contention, taking a 4-9 record across the country as they looked to finish the season on a positive note.
Starting at quarterback for the Raiders would be veteran Derek Carr, as he started every game for the Raiders during the 2019 season and had not missed a start since October 8th, 2017 against the Baltimore Ravens, in which EJ Manuel filled in at quarterback with Carr out due to a back injury. Despite having a losing record, Carr produced 18 touchdown passes coming into the home finale.
While Oakland’s quarterback situation was solidified for years, the Jaguars’ scenario in 2019 was the opposite. After signing Nick Foles as starter in the offseason, the plan changed quickly with Foles breaking his collarbone in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. This led to sixth-round draft pick Gardner Minshew taking the majority of the starts for the Jaguars, claiming a 4-5 record at this point in the year, going along with 15 touchdown passes. However, Minshew would be the one to lead a fourth quarter comeback to end the Raiders’ time in Oakland on a sour note.
With Oakland leading 16-6 with just over five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, it looked as though the Raiders would be able to hang on despite missing opportunities to put the Jaguars away for good, as they settled for three field goals from inside the red zone while the defense held Jacksonville to just three points in the first half.
While Minshew found ex-Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley for a six-yard score to make it a 16-13 game, the Jaguars would need to rely on their defense for a chance to get the ball back and complete the comeback. Jacksonville had good reason to trust their defense, as along with holding when backed up into the red zone throughout the afternoon, star defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had racked up a pair of sacks while fellow end Josh Allen and linebacker Austin Calitro earned one apiece.
The ensuing drive for the Raiders would see a methodical march down the field, with the key play coming in the form of a 12-yard scramble by Carr, although they would sacrifice a significant amount of time on the clock with less than two minutes to go as Oakland got into field goal range. Kicker Daniel Carlson, who had been perfect at three-for-three on field goal attempts, missed his 45-yard kick to keep it at a three-point game.
It wouldn’t take long for the connection of Minshew and Conley to strike again, as a 21-yd pass set the Jaguars up in the red zone with less than a minute to go, followed by the final touchdown in the history of RingCentral Coliseum as Conley had his second of the game to put the Jaguars ahead for the first time on the afternoon with just 31 seconds remaining, as they would hold on to take the 20-16 victory to advance to 5-9, while the Raiders fell to 6-8.
While both teams finished the year with losing records, as the Raiders went 7-9 while the Jaguars finished at 6-10, the 2020 season would see vastly different results between the two clubs. The Jaguars fell apart after an ugly dispute between the team and Ngakoue led to a trade and set the tone for the rest of the season, with Jacksonville going 1-15. Meanwhile, the Raiders improved and remained in playoff contention for most of 2020, taking an 8-8 record. However, the Raiders would accomplish this away from Oakland, as the team completed their move to Las Vegas. While RingCentral Coliseum is still in operation as of this writing as home stadium of the MLB’s Oakland Athletics, the chances of it hosting an NFL game again remains unlikely.