Here are five things we learned from the game:
Crosby leads charge:
Maxx Crosby is simply one of the best defensive players in the NFL. This dude shows up big every freaking week. He had two sacks in the third quarter as the Las Vegas defense took over the game.
Crosby has four sacks on the season. In the past, Crosby’s constant pressure didn’t always translate into sacks, but they’re coming this year. He has a real chance to establish a season-high for sacks. The fourth-year star has 29 career sacks. He had a career-best 10 sacks as a rookie in 2019.
Jacobs has a day:
Raiders’ starting running back Josh Jacobs was terrific all game and helped led a balanced offensive attack. He had 144 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns, including a game sealer late in the game. It was the first time this season Denver has allowed a 100-yard runner this season. The Raiders had 212 yards on the ground (including 42 by quarterback Derek Carr). It was the most yardage the Raiders have had on the ground in a game in nearly six years. It helped Las Vegas keep the ball 10 more minutes more than the Broncos to play a huge role in the victory. Jacobs ran hard all game long and set the tone for a strong day early. He had a great 42-yard run in the third quarter, on a play he could have easily been held for no gain. The Raiders have to ride this plan as much as possible for the rest of the season.
James back in:
The Raiders opened the game by using their eighth offensive line combination of the season as their starting offensive line looked like this: Left tackle Kolton Miller, left guard Alex Bars, center Andre James, right guard Dylan Parham, and right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor. James missed the past two games with a concussion and Parham started for him there. Now with James back, the rookie moved back to guard. Rookie Thayer Munford took snaps from Eluemunor in the second quarter for their ninth look and it stayed that way for the rest of the game and perhaps it will carry over into Week 5 at Kansas City. Former starter, John Simpson, was a healthy inactive Sunday.
Robertson starts and scores:
Third-year cornerback Amik Robertson, the only 2020 Raiders’ draft pick to be active Sunday, started on the outside with Rock Ya-Sin out. Nate Hobbs started on the outside but then moved some to the slot and Javelin Guidry (elevated from the practice squad for the game) also played as well.
Robertson made a huge play with a long touchdown return after catching a fumbled ball caused by a big hit by safety Duron Harmon. It was the Raiders’ first defensive touchdown since 2019 and played a big role in the Raiders’ win Sunday.
Still work to do:
It wasn’t a perfect game by the Raiders. Carr had accuracy problems. The red-zone woes continued and the Raiders were very shaky on special teams. So, there’s things to clean up. But a win is a win, especially when starting 0-3. Getting the first win of the season in a division that appears to be not as strong as we expected is a positive first step.