I took a week off. After the CHI loss I needed an extra day to calm the emotions. Then the bombshell dropped Monday night. I decided there were more important things to discuss than a football game. There are still things that need to be discussed that are more important than a football game, but there are also things that help heal. For many of us Raider football is one of those things. So here you go...
Hello Mr Screen Pass: Perfectly timed and pretty darn good execution. If you want to nitpick you could say Josh had plenty of blockers to score that. But even so, it sure was good to see we actually have a RB screen in the playbook.
Hello Mr Drake: Finally got a glimpse of what the Raiders wanted when they brought him in. A spark. A change of pace. A big play waiting to happen. Hopefully he can build on this game.
The Offensive Line: I've been as hard as anybody on this unit so far this season. But credit where credit is due. They kept a pretty good defensive line out of the backfield. DEN was credited with 2 sacks, but I'm haivng a hard time remembering them. And perhaps more importantly, they did enough to make the run game effective. Not dominate, but effective. That's a ginormous upgrade.
The Defense: The Dline dominated the DEN Oline. Teddy was shook basically from the beginning. The back 7 tackled and made the most of Teddy's mistakes. They have talked about complimentary defense all season, but this was it. Back 7 made Teddy hold the ball a tick longer, Dline never gave Teddy a clean pocket, DB's capitalized on Teddy making rushed throws.
Mad Maxx: He deserves his own spot in the list. If he wasn't in the DPOY conversation yet, he is now.
Nitpicking: Lost contain on the Javonte long run. Amik didn't build off a good game vs CHI. 3rd&1 false start isn't great. Missed FG sucked.
N/A: I really can't think of anything that was ugly.
Overall a great team win. I feel like we saw the potentiol of the entire team this game. Not the "one side holds up while the other side struggles a bit". But an overall very good game by both sides of the ball.
No crazy stat of the week because I wanted to add an extra section....
The Leadership: From Mayock, to the coaches, to the captains. The leadership kept the team focused. No one expected this team to perform at all given the circumstances. Instead they turn in the best performance of the season.
The Culture: I believe they have a special group of men in the locker room. How many Raider teams in the past folded over something far less than what these guys overcame this week. You hear it from every team every season, how much they like the guys in the locker room. How much they play for each other. I don't think it's lip service with this Raiders team. 1 through 53, I believe they really do care for each other and play for each other. When you get a culture like that in a locker room... lookout.