Just win indeed.
Now I don't think I'm exactly stating the observation of the century when I call that an ugly game. Our red zone offense was pretty terrible until the fourth quarter, we struggled to take advantage of the opportunities our defense gave us, our offensive line badly regressed from last week (I would hope that someone ensures that Jared V in particular doesn't read his own press from now), the D itself once again showed that you can break it with a big play, Pillow once again went to prevent so many times in the second half I was dangerously close to spazzing out like the guy in The Shining and writing "All prevent and no D makes Pillow a bad DC" in a frenzy all over the walls...and yet, somehow, we won.
Which, as far as I'm concerned, is all that matters. But there's more.
For the second week in a row, we managed to win a game that we shouldn't have - to use common parlance, we "won ugly." One of my old rugby coaches used to always tell us that anyone can win pretty when everything goes well. It takes a good team to win ugly. And the Raiders have shown this season that they can win ugly. From the Houston game in Week 5 (a game which I'm convinced we won on pure emotion), to the Cleveland game the following week (a win even though we had Boller at QB for three quarters), to the last two games, we've managed to find a way to win games. That's what good teams do.
Of course, we haven't quite reached the level of a great team yet. Great teams are those that can impose their will on any game and play to that top standard every game. The Packers can do this, the Patriots can do it from time to time...and that's about it. And the scary thing for other teams is that we have the potential to join those teams before long. Not quite there yet, but the Jets and Chargers games showed that in time, once we get some consistency and a competent defensive coordinator, it's not beyond the realm of possibility.
Miami next week will be a test. They've showed a lot of fight and a fair bit of talent in the past few weeks - they're not sucking for Luck any more. (Seeing what Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin and Landry Jones can do has surely helped there - while I still think Luck is the best QB in this draft I don't think the gulf is as wide as we'd once believed). Reggie Bush is the kind of elusive back who can gash us for big gains, especially in the passing game (although Death Ro was great in this aspect most of today against Forte), they have a very underrated defense (especially their pass rush) and Matt Moore has been making plays. We can't treat this one as an easy win at all, although one would hope the emotion of losing to Dallas on a last gasp field goal on Thanksgiving will sap them a bit for this week even with the extra turnaround.
As might be obvious, I am a little drunk as per usual. In a break for me, it's not vodka - today I'm drinking Jamesons and soda. I'm sure after SOB is done critiquing this post in his inimitable way he'll have an appropriately biting retort for my philistine taste in spirits. But since I have to work tonight, I shall leave everyone here.