After the first three weeks of the regular season ended in disappointment with poor second-half performances, the Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden finally notched their first win of the season scoring 31 of their 45 points in the second half and overtime.
Derek Carr did have two interceptions but lit up the Cleveland Browns’s secondary with 437 yards and four touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch had 130 yards along with Amari Cooper and Jared Cook each eclipsing the century mark.
On defense, the unit allowed too many points against a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield and gave up big plays to Nick Chubb, however, made up for it with two sacks, four turnovers and a touchdown.
It was an exciting day for Raider Nation to see the offense clicking against a very good Cleveland defense and the Oakland defense forcing turnovers. But the Raiders came awfully close to losing the game as Carr looked to have fumbled the game away if not for the refs blowing the whistle prematurely.
Rightfully so, Gruden wants to pump the breaks after the season’s first victory.
“We have a long way to go,” Gruden said after the game. “Obviously there are things we have to do better. Its fun to win, we felt that we had a couple of victories slip away, but to close out the first quarter of the season with a win. At least we got paid, at least we made something. We have a long way to go though. We have to get back to work.”
The Raiders have played good football during stretches in all four games. Just because the result was different doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done.
“We haven’t fixed anything yet,” Gruden said. “We have a lot of things we have to get better at. I think it is pretty obvious. We played some good football for stints. We played good football in Miami. We played some good football against the Rams. We had some really good tape against Denver, but we have tape that needs to be fixed. That’s the same thing that I think we will see today. We have some guys that are really eager to work, we have good leadership and we going to continue to do it. It was really fun to score and win a game and to get that monkey off our back.”
Despite putting up 45 points, the offensive execution wasn’t close to perfect. For example, the miscommunication near the end of the fourth quarter between Carr and Cooper could have easily cost the team the game.
“[I] want to throw up because that’s always on me,” Carr said. “I just got to be better for Coop. You just feel sick that it didn’t work out. You just go to the sideline and pray that you get the ball back. I think our stadium emptied out about half way after that. The people that stayed got a fun show.”
The offense also had six drops including this one by Martavis Bryant which cost the team an easy touchdown.
Martavis Bryant WIDE OPEN Touchdown NOT. A big Drop of sure 6 points. pic.twitter.com/TFy7zQZpL7— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) September 30, 2018
Jordy Nelson, who was sure-handed unlike Bryant securing a two-point conversion to force overtime, was excited about the win, but knows the team needs to get back to work and get ready for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“We’ll still come in, correct the things that we need to correct, be proud of the things that we did well, and then go to work on Wednesday because Sunday will be right around the corner again,” Nelson said. “It’s week by week and this win will be fun tonight, but it’s not going to do anything for us next week.”
On Monday, Gruden’s message remained the same; there is a lot of work to be done and the celebration is short lived with the Raiders headed for Los Angeles to face a tough Chargers team next Sunday.
“You start seeing the Chargers, you see Philip Rivers,” Gruden said. “It’s hard to rejoice in your victories for very long. We have a real challenge. [Melvin] Ingram is unbelievable. Derwin James is a good player. [Joey] Bosa they tell me is coming back, so we have work to do.”
The win on Sunday was nice, but it won’t mean a thing if the Raiders don’t stack another one on top Sunday. Gruden is right, on to the Chargers.