Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) September 24, 2014
When the Raiders left on this ‘road trip' to New England and then across to the original version, the outlook was bleak. They weren't stopping much on defense and they were gaining much on offense. But on the first leg of their long journey across the globe, they picked up some confidence along the way. Confidence they hope to harness and carry through into Wembley Stadium Sunday.
"I definitely believe in momentum," said Antonio Smith. "I think that it gives you confidence and without confidence in this game you dead in the water and I think that's exactly what we needed and it gave us a little juice, a little confidence to know that hey we can do this if we can just go out there and play like we're supposed to play. So, I think the momentum from last game is going to be tremendous for us this week in this game."
Justin Tuck, who had arguably his best game since joining the Raiders, shared the optimism as well.
"I think last week can be a building point for us," said Justin Tuck. "And we could have played a lot better than we did then. But this (Dolphins) offense is very similar to ... They do a lot of things similar to what the Patriots did, so the familiarity is there. Hopefully we can go out there and have that enthusiastic play like we did last week and build off of it."
The way these guys are talking, it would appear as if they won last week. But they didn't. And are still winless. What the defense was able to do was give this entire team reason for hope they won't have a goose egg in the win column after this week. They held the Patriots to 16 points and mostly kept Tom Brady in check. And for that, the defense has a new outlook on life.
After the first two weeks, this team didn't have any sort of momentum, let alone confidence of any kind based on their performances against the Jets and Texans. Cornerback, Carlos Rogers, says he saw the team go from ‘terrible' to ‘celebrating' and he thinks that will result in wins.
"Just the way we played compared to the first two weeks," said Carlos Rogers. "Teams just ran on us, they passed on us, we didn't get off the field on third down, offensively they didn't stay on the field, they were on the sideline, didn't move the ball. You seen last week they were moving the ball, we were getting off the field, guys were running around happy, celebrating, and I think if we continue to play like that, we're gonna win a lot of games. The first two performances were just terrible overall."
Carrying the positive feeling - at least on one side of the ball - into the following week and trying to recapture it is one thing. Taking that feeling and turning it into an actual win is another. They had their moral victory. An actual win is the only thing that can keep the momentum going.
"This game is all about momentum and confidence," said Dennis Allen. "That's what winning does, it builds momentum and builds confidence. That's what our primary focus is. That's what we're trying to do. We'll put a good game plan together. Hopefully we'll go out and perform as well as we can and hopefully we will get that win this week."
The defense seems to have figured out how they tick. The way the Raiders go about winning now would be for the offense to have the same awakening.