EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Derek Carr threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III with five seconds left, lifting the Las Vegas Raiders to a wild 31-28 victory over the still-winless Jets on Sunday.
The Jets took a 28-24 lead with 5:34 remaining on Ty Johnson’s 1-yard touchdown and the defense came up with a big fourth-down stop that appeared to end the Jets’ agonizing wait for its first win of the season.
But the Jets went three-and-out with a chance to seal it — and Carr and the Raiders had 35 seconds left to try for what appeared an unlikely comeback. Four plays later, Carr found Ruggs streaking downfield — beating rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson — and delivered the ball perfectly for the winning score.
The Raiders (7-5) celebrated wildly, and the deflated Jets (0-12) could only imagine what could — and maybe should — have been.
After a squib kick by Las Vegas, the Jets had one final chance but Sam Darnold’s Hail Mary throw was batted down in front of the end zone.
Carr finished with three touchdown passes, including two to Darren Waller, and ran for another score. Waller had 13 catches for 200 yards, becoming the 12th tight end since the 1970 merger with 150 or more yards receiving and two or more touchdown catches in a game.
Clelin Ferrell had two strip-sacks in his return from the Covid-19 list as Las Vegas bounced back from a blowout loss to Atlanta last week to stay in the middle of the A.F.C. playoff hunt.
On the drive before the winning possession, it appeared the Raiders had the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down when Hunter Renfrow caught a pass in the end zone — but the teams had offsetting penalties. Given one more chance, Carr’s pass to Nelson Agholor fell just short in the end zone and the defense raced off the field, arms raised in celebration.
But it was only momentary jubilation.
The lowly Jets lost their 12th straight and tied the team mark for longest overall skid, which spanned the 1995 and 1996 seasons under Rich Kotite. New York remains on pace to join the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns as the only N.F.L. teams to go 0-16.
Darnold ran it in from four yards to cap a run-heavy — eight of nine plays — 96-yard touchdown drive that began the Jets’ fourth-quarter comeback. A pass-interference penalty gave the Jets another chance at a two-point conversion, and Darnold threw to Denzel Mims to get the Jets within 24-21 with 10:22 left.
The Jets got the ball right back three plays later when Javelin Guidry forced the ball out of Ruggs’ hands after a 12-yard catch and Marcus Maye recovered.
The Jets took advantage with an 18-yard catch by Griffin sandwiched by a few runs — and a personal foul on Ferrell — to put the ball at the 1-yard line. Johnson pushed his way up the middle for the go-ahead score, tossing the ball into the air after giving the Jets a 28-24 lead with 5:34 left.
Darnold had led the Jets on an impressive opening possession, capping the 12-play, 74-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown toss to Jamison Crowder. It was the struggling quarterback’s first touchdown pass since Week 3 — which also spanned two two-game stints on the sideline with shoulder injuries — a span of 19 quarters.
It also marked the sixth straight game the Jets have scored on their opening drive. That’s the longest active streak in the N.F.L., with Kansas City having a chance to tie that in its game against Denver on Sunday night.
Darnold put the Jets back on top early in the second quarter with another touchdown toss to Crowder, this time from six yards out. It was the first time Darnold had at least two touchdown passes in a game since Dec. 12, 2019, against Baltimore.