The Raiders instead went with third-down back Roy Helu as the lead back on the final dive. Helu, who had scored a touchdown and made a few other plays, was stopped on a third-and-2 that forced Oakland to kick a field goal instead of going for a touchdown late in the game. The Raiders ended up losing, 22-20.
The absence of Murray was glaring in the key moment. The Raiders took him out after a rough day. Murray had 49 yards on 16 carries, he lost a fumble in the fourth quarter and he bobbled a pass that was intercepted in Oakland territory.
Still, Oakland coach Jack Del Rio was adamant Monday in saying Murray wasn’t benched. He said the team thought Helu was the best option for that situation.
“I would characterize it us as using the members of our football team in a fashion to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game,” Del Rio said. “We have different plays that we run with different players at different times of the game. So it wasn’t a benching. So that’s not accurate.”
The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Murray remains in Oakland’s mix and Del Rio said he believes he will back bounce back nicely. This may be a teaching tool for the young back as the Raiders also can't afford to give up on him. It could also mean Helu gets a few more snaps and touches going forward and may be a worthwhile own for Murray owners if his mistakes continue.