THE DARK SIDE: "Your Strength Has Returned"

Good Morning, Raider Nation!
Damn, it finally feels good to be a Raider again! "Your Strength Has Returned!"
2023: Despite the new hires, new players and various new plays it just didn’t seem like I was watching my historical team that I grew up with…

Until the last 2 Weeks!!!!

The Raiders of old had great blocking from a nasty line, a mean Running Back, an enthusiastic Linebacker/ Head Coach and Defense that wouldn’t quit.

It may of taken 9 or 10 Weeks, but we are finally seeing a Raider team do "Raider like" things.

Let it be known, the Defense came through again!

The score was 12 to 14 and Zack Wilson was driving his team to score in the final minutes of the 4th Quarter...
That’s when Spillane said enough was enough. A key free-agent signing for a Raiders defense that has made forcing turnovers a priority, the veteran middle linebacker sat back in zone defense while watching the eyes of Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. Just as Wilson threw the ball, Spillane perfectly timed his jump, stepped in front of Allen Lazard and snatched the ball for the interception with 1:14 remaining.

"Our will to win is very strong," said linebacker Robert Spillane, who came up with a huge fourth-quarter interception. "And we’re just gonna keep pushing forward. A lot of unknowns moving forward, but we’re 5-5. We’re in a good place."
For #41, he’s been on a roll with good news in his life. He had given the press even better news after the game. "We get to tell the world tonight that my beautiful wife will have our first baby here in June, so I’m looking forward to it," Spillane told NBC.
Spillane and the defense had to respond one final time after the offense couldn’t muster a first down on the ensuing drive. The Jets drove to the Raiders’ 44-yard line. With five seconds left, Wilson’s long heave nearly fell into the arms of Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs, who was waiting in the end zone, before Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson lunged for the ball and knocked it to the ground.

"Bro, I thought I had a pick," Hobbs said. "I’m backing up thinking I’m fittin’ to end the game. But 17 came out of nowhere."

The Black Hole and the Dark Side were ecstatic! We are voting Robert Spillane for President..maybe Emperor too!

"Spill, he’s just a dog," Hobbs said. "All he do is come to work, do his job, and have an energy to keep playing all day long. He set us up with that W."

It’s starting to become a trend, though, with Amik Robertson coming up with a game-saving interception this season and Maxx Crosby notching a safety to preserve another

"Turnovers change the complexion of a game," Spillane said. "There’s not much difference between a 2-yard gain and a 4-yard gain. It’s very minimal. But when you can get those turnovers, you change the complexion of a football game."

How about that Michael Mayer's TD Catch!?!?! The force is strong with this one!

"I saw Aidan kind of roll out, and it was a beautiful throw," Mayer said. "To be honest, I have to watch it. When I’m out there playing, I’m kind of in the moment and doing my thing."
We need more insight, Rook!!!!
"It was almost a broken play, but we’ve had some instances in practice where we’ve kind of thrown it up and I had to go get it, so it’s something we’ve worked on," he said of his 7-yard fourth-quarter grab in the end zone. "But I was blacked out. I have no idea what happened. I think I like spun the ball and kind of just stared into the crowd. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what happened. I kind of want to watch that to find out."
Many told me Mayer would eventually come through in 2023. We just had to be patient. Past Coaches couldn’t seem to utilize his full potential. It’s a new day...
"It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since the day I got drafted," Mayer said of his first touchdown. "But it’s about the team. It’s about everyone running the route they needed to run, and it’s about Aidan (O’Connell) putting the ball up there for me. That was one of his best balls of the day because he put it where only I could get it. And a good play call, too."

"I think from pretty early on Michael has shown us he’s a special player," Aidan O’Connell said. "Even rookie mini-camp, I remember him being a super tough guy. I remember him having blisters all over his feet and socks full of blood. We knew, I think as an offense and as a team that we had a really good young player there. He did an awesome job making an awesome play, even though I kind of just threw it up and let him be a football player."

"We always talk top-shelf pullback, so he caught it, and you see everybody turned up because he did the top-shelf pullback," running back Josh Jacobs said. "And that’s a testament to him for sure."

Big men beat little men everytime if you throw it in the right spot. Aidan, that was the best throw of the year. We shall watch your career with career with great interest!
"It was kind of to the point (in the game) where you just play your hardest and try to help the team win and then if a play comes your way, you have to make it. That’s why they drafted me. That’s why I’m here. You need to make the play. We have a lot of stuff to fix, in the run game for me especially. But we have a win, and now we go back to work and keep doing what we’ve been doing all season long."

Josh Jacobs even became our beloved work horse again! When the #8 engine is running hard, not many can defeat us.
He racked up 116 yards on one of the toughest Defenses in the NFL. The biggest bulk run came in the 2nd half. He credited some advice from right guard Greg Van Roten.
"Greg told me they want you to bounce outside, so keep it inside and just trust it," Jacobs said. "Literally the next play we hit a big one. That was really him."
"I felt like there were opportunities if he just followed us a little instead of bouncing it," Van Roten said. "I told him, ‘Don’t be afraid of the darkness.’ Literally the next play, I felt him go right by me for 40 yards, so that was awesome"
"I don’t know why (100) is the magic number, but it is and if you hit it you feel good," Van Roten said. "Last week we tried to get him to a hundred and just missed it. So happy for him and feel like it’s been a long time coming to finally get him going. It seems like things are finally turning in that direction."

Jacobs was more concerned with a late fumble that set the Jets up with a chance to win before Robert Spillane intercepted a pass deep in Raiders territory.

"I was just hoping the defense would pick me up on that one," he said. "I didn’t want to be the reason we lost."

No worries, JJ. We all have your back!

Coach AP, how are you feeling?

"It’s just fun being around the guys, man. That’s the reason why I got back into coaching," he said, his smile gleaming as bright as his diamond-studded earrings.

"When you walk in that locker room and to see everybody smiling, to see the celebration, to see all the hard work that we’ve done over the past several days come to fruition — it’s fun."

You’re telling me!!!!

"I feel like everyone is responding to him really well. A.P. can relate on the player level as well as a coach," said defensive end and team captain Maxx Crosby, the victorious locker room smelling again of celebratory cigar smoke.

"He has that different type of energy that everyone feeds into. He believes in us, and he believes in the offense. That’s all you can ask for as a coach."

Raiders Nation, like the players it supports, is rallying around its interim coach, who said during a news conference filled with praise for his players and coaches:

"Our fans, they kept us in the game, their energy, their passion, their support throughout — that’s what energized our guys at the end."

I’ll proudly accept the generous praise! The power of the Dark Side is contagious!

Our loud End Zones and passionate fans were louder than they've ever been! Commander Pierce, we’re not that loud without YOU, sir! We even admire that drip!!!

His preferred coaching outfit: A black Raiders hoodie, black pants and black Nike Air Force 1 shoes that symbolize in popular culture fearless (if not nefarious) intent.

Said Pierce of the shoes: "Raider Nation knows what that means, blacked out, stand up. They speak for themselves."

Said Pierce of the position he’s in: "For however long I’m here as a Raider, as the head coach, we’re going to have a blast."

So, too, are the players. So, too, is.. the RAIDER NATION!

How about them Rooks!! Anyone notice our ’23 class is making more exciting plays??!?

Mayer, a second-round pick out of Notre Dame, has stood out from day one. But as the season has gone on, he has improved as a blocker while expanding his role in the passing game. His veteran teammates are taking notice.

"That dude is good, bro," Jacobs said. "I think people sleep on how good he’s going to be. I don’t think it’s going unnoticed at practice every week, just because of the way he works, how professional he is as a rookie, the way he wants to be in the game, and he wants that moment."

O’Connell, 2-1 as a starter after helping guide the Raiders to two straight wins, is also drawing compliments from teammates

"He’s as cool as the other side of the pillow," wide receiver Davante Adams said. "Dude is not a rookie. By years he is, but by action … that poise he has in those types of situations, you don’t see that often from a rookie quarterback."

Last week, rookie wide receiver Tre Tucker reeled in a 50-yard pass against the Giants, defensive end Tyree Wilson had the best game of his career, and linebacker Amari Burney came up with six tackles in relief of the injured Divine Deablo.

"Just keep naming them. They’re making plays now," interim coach Antonio Pierce said. "They’re making headway. We don’t need them to be the guy making every play. But they’re making headway, and that’s going to help us in the long run."

"If you’re a rookie, you gotta bring your ‘A’ game," Pierce said. "It’s gotta be every day. And they’re getting there. You’ve seen we’ve kind of sprinkled them in here and there. But, as we’re on this stretch, we’ll do what’s best for the team. They understand that. They know their name can be called. Just be ready."

The future looks bright for all of our younger cats…

and respected legendary Vets!

Davante Adams had team-highs with six catches for 86 yards on 13 targets in the win as he extended his streak to 124 straight games with at least one catch, the fourth-longest active streak in the league.

He also had a season-best 42-yard catch in the game and has 31 receptions of at least 40 yards since 2016, the third-most in the league over that span.

Adams also surpassed Jerry Rice for ninth-most receptions in a player’s first 10 seasons with 826.

#17 also still looks like he’s not done breaking records!!!


That’s it for this Week, Raider Nation! Let’s rest our bodies, condition well and lift with purpose before we face one of the best in the AFC; The Miami Dolphins! We need our savage D! We also need a fierce running game, a decent passing game and plenty of energy to defeat this electric team! Tua Tagovailoa must be pressured and hit harder than an Asteroid shower! Tyreek Hill must be contained and watched at all times! Cheetahs can eventually be slowed down with the right kind of Pirate gun! (: Raheem Mostert and De’von Archane are also hard to tackle so let’s stay aggressive and hit large men with purpose!

Let’s keep this streak alive and take on this team THE RAIDER WAY! Go Raiders!

Have a great Week!


Lord of the Sith, Master of all evil