Raiders Win Ugly in Possible Last Game in Oakland but Future Looks Bright

The future looks bright for the Raiders.

Notice I did not say the Oakland Raiders. Because for all we know, there won't be an Oakland Raiders at this point in a year.

But for the franchise—wherever it plays—Thursday's 23-20 overtime win against the San Diego Chargers was a harbinger of better things. A sign.

A sign the team's days as an AFC West punching bag are done.

Mind you, it certainly wasn't a sparkly Christmas Eve victory:

Actually, Nick, that would be Festivus.

This game was the encapsulation of all things Thursday Night Football. The Oakland offense went MIA for much of the second half. Then Derek Carr's three-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion gave the Raiders a 20-17 lead:

But thanks to that turnover-inspired "drive" and a nice drive to start OT—which had its share of naughty too in the form of five Oakland penalties—the Silver and Black gutted out an ugly victory. It was exactly the sort of game good teams push to win, even on an off night.

In other words, it was the sort of game that until very recently the Raiders would have lost, especially with top wideout Amari Cooper spending most of the evening as a spectator because of a balky foot.

Cooper was the Raiders' first-round pick in 2015, the poster boy for the team's new stars.

For the team's elder statesman, this was it at the Black Hole.

Safety Charles Woodson, who recently announced his retirement after 18 (yes, 18) NFL seasons, played in his final home game against the Bolts. Woodson addressed Raider Nation following the game after leading fans in their patented "Rai-ders!" chant, relayed by the San Jose Mercury News:

It's been a joy for me to come back here and play for a second time around. You guys welcomed me back with open arms as if I never left. I just want you to know how much...

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