Nothing good ever happens when you let teams hang around, and that is the mistake that the Denver Broncos made in yesterday's game that allowed the Oakland Raiders to steal this win. There have been so many times where the Raiders were the ones who made that mistake but not yesterday. Yesterday it was their turn to hang around and snatch a win from the jaws of defeat.
Oh what a feeling it was too. After such a ridiculously bad first half the Raiders were very lucky to still be in the game. Their defense bent time and time again in the first half, but they never broke. There were mistakes the Broncos made too that helped them to not break, like QB Brock Osweiler overthrowing a wide open player in the endzone on one of their drives, but the defense was up to the challenge each time the Broncos got into scoring position.
The 2nd half is where the fun started though. Khalil Mack, wow. He tied the Raiders record for sacks in a single game at 5, but all 5 of those sacks came in the 2nd half. I don't remember watching a more dominant half of football ever, this was his superstar moment for the world to see. Raiders fans already knew, now football fans in general understand why we are so excited to have Mack in Oakland.
You also have to give credit to Derek Carr for overcoming his first half awfulness immediately upon the start of the 2nd half. Many teams, even good ones, would not have been able to overcome record futility the way Carr did. Instead of letting the Raiders -12 yards of offense in the first half keep him down, he came out and led a 9 play, 80 yard touchdown drive on the first drive of the 2nd half.
That was a statement drive and it rewarded the defense for not giving up a touchdown in the first half. If the offense came out and still was awful in the 2nd half this game would have gotten out of hand. The defense would have faltered with no help from their offense and the Broncos would have had all the motivation they needed to continue their onslaught.
Instead that touchdown drive made the score 12-7, effectively throwing away any momentum the Broncos had from their dominant first half. It was spectacular and the intestinal fortitude it takes to show that type of calmness from Derek Carr and the offense was something to truly be proud of.
This is a very good Broncos team that the Raiders kept out of the endzone yesterday. The only touchdown that Denver scored on the Raiders this whole season came from their defense in fact, which is quite the accomplishment in itself for this growing Raiders team.
The other player that absolutely needs to be singled out for their absolute awesomeness is punter Marquette King. The list of punters the Raiders have had is a list of all-time greats at the position, and Marquette King is putting himself up there with the best of them. He had 5 punts inside the 20, including a Ray Gay reincarnate coffin corner punt of beauty that led directly to a safety strip sack from Khalil Mack. This guy is going to be the Raiders punter for years to come, he needs his new contract done as soon as possible. Get on it Reggie!
To win this game though, in this fashion. Man, there just are not ever this special of victories for the Oakland Raiders. This is a one of a kind victory that took blood, sweat, and tears to overcome. Jack Del Rio's face throughout this entire game proves the emotional need this team felt in this game.
It was actually really exciting to watch a coach go on the same roller coaster ride that us fans were on for the game. Every time they flashed to Captain Jack there was pure emotion on his face, the type you don't often get to see from coaches in the NFL. It's partly because the Broncos are where he revived his career over the previous three years, but it was more because of how huge of a team building win beating such a good opponent is for his team.
Now Oakland gets another huge statement chance against another very good team in the Packers. They don't get the benefit of the extra motivation involved in a historic rivalry game, but they do get the chance to beat another elite (close to elite is more accurate) team in the NFL after just doing so this past week.
Winning against Green Bay would be an epic two game win streak for the Raiders, there are no if's, and's or but's about it. This would be a great victory, it would keep their basically dead playoff hopes still alive, and it would just be good old fashioned fun.
Being a resident of Green Bay, this game means a ton to me personally. The Raiders haven't played the Packers well in a long time, and my friends, family members, and neighbors know that all too well. This would be such a great victory for me to be able to throw back at them for years of torment during the dark ages of the Raiders.
Let's all hope that we get another huge victory to brag about next week too, because the residents of Green Bay have no idea what could be coming their way. The Raiders are not an easy victory for anybody, and winning this week would be the type of victory this team needs to take the next step forward.