CARSON, Calif. -- Hunter Renfrow was stunned.
No, not from his first 100-yard receiving game (yes, even counting high school, Clemson and his rookie season with the Oakland Raiders). But by the Raiders, who ended a four-game losing streak with Sunday's 24-17 defeat of the Los Angeles Chargers to improve to 7-8, still being mathematically alive for a playoff spot.
"I mean, I can't believe we're still in it," Renfrow said after grabbing a career-best seven passes for a career-high 107 yards, including a 56-yard catch-and-run TD on a slant pass from the left slot.
"I'm thrilled. It's unbelievable, really, if you think about it. I mean, we were talking before -- we don't have a great chance, but we got a chance. It's kind of like [playing] poker and you've got the pocket 8s. So, we're excited, but it means nothing if we don't go take care of business next week."
That business would be in Denver. But before a defeat of the Broncos punches the Raiders' playoff ticket as the AFC's No. 6 seed, Oakland would need a few other things to happen -- the Colts beating the Jaguars, the Texans beating the Titans and the Ravens beating the Steelers. All of those games will be played simultaneously to the Raiders-Broncos matchup at 1:25 p.m. PT.
As FPI noted, the Raiders' playoff chances rose from 0.4% entering Sunday to 12.0% with Sunday's results.
Not that it helped the mood of still-salty Raiders coach Jon Gruden. And, perhaps, rightfully so, after the NFL apologized for blowing a call in last week's painful Oakland finale loss to Jacksonville, with Derek Carr being ruled out of bounds when he clearly gave himself up and slid inside the white lines.
If the Raiders close out last week's game, they are sitting pretty right now.
"I'm really happy the referees didn't screw up the clock again at the end of the game," Gruden said in his opening statement.
And how did Gruden close his presser?
"It makes me really upset about the call at the end of last week," he said of this week's, well, win. "It really does. I'm not going to let that go. The Tuck Rule and that call last week ..."
Yes, he mentioned the Tuck Rule and DC Out of Bounds in the same breath.
And still, the Raiders' postseason hopes are breathing, even they do need the occasional chest compression.
"It's crazy," rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby said.
As Carr sees it, playing a meaningful football game in late December is what it is all about for these rebuilding Raiders, who have had more than enough ups and downs, heartaches and celebrations this season to, as Carr has suggested, write a book.
"Let's not sugarcoat it -- we've been through a lot of crap, and it is what it is," Carr said. "Nobody cares at the end of the day, but ... it's unbelievable. That's really a good thing because I've been on teams in the past where we've been in those moments where we lose a couple games in a row and we're like, 'Oh, no.'
"This team never did that, To come here and beat [the Chargers] twice this year, that's not easy ... let's be honest -- no one thought we'd play Week 17 for the playoffs. Let's be real."