A basketball hoop in the locker room.
Leaked drama between the fired head coach and his interim replacement.
Fans chanting “Thank you, Mark” to the Las Vegas Raiders’ owner for making the late Halloween night change.
Post-game locker room cigar puffing.
Honestly, have we ever seen a team, staff and fan base celebrate the firing of a coach like what has happened this week when the Raiders fired Josh McDaniels and replaced him with linebackers coach Antonio Pierce? But ol’ Joshy was that type of a special disaster.
Sunday, was an all-out party at Allegiant Stadium as the Raiders crushed the awful Giants 30-6 to improve 4-5 and to push life into their once listless season.
Let’s look at the key aspects of the festivities:
Fun with a new coach:
Pierce, a former Super Bowl-winning linebacker, has preached having fun and belief to his team. In just his second NFL season as a coach, Pierce has his players believing in him (and themselves) and that’s what you want in an interim coach (see Rich Bisaccia). According to ESPN Stats and Information, the 24 points the Raiders scored in the first half was the most in a coach’s debut since 2017. Davis said during the week Pierce could keep the job next year and Sunday did nothing to end that thought.
In their first game under Antonio Pierce, the Raiders:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 6, 2023
Scored 30 points
Rushed for 125 yards
Had zero turnovers https://t.co/dab3kQw3RV
Offense comes alive:
We all know the gory details of the carnage McDaniels left behind. The Raiders’ offense was the only team not to score more than 19 points in a game in the first eight games. They scored 24 points by halftime. In his first game as an offensive coordinator (and play caller) former quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree called an impressive game had the run (and long pass) setup the passing game. The offense has weapons and it showed Sunday. What a damning indictment on McDaniels, who came to Las Vegas last year as a supposed offensive wizard. Please.
QB Aidan O'Connell has completed 9-of-10 passes (90%) in the first half. He is one of only 7 QBs in the NFL this season to complete more than 90.0% of their passes in the first half of a game(min. 10 attempts) - joining Brock Purdy, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, Sam Howell,…— Raiders PR (@RAIDERS_PR) November 5, 2023
Perfect O’Connell game:
Part of the big changes in Las Vegas during the week as insertion of rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell as the starting quarterback, replacing free-agent addition Jimmy Garoppolo. The fourth-round pick from Purdue was extremely efficient as he looked comfortable as he completed 16 of 25 passes for 209 yards with no turnovers. He had better protection that when he did against the Chargers in Week 4 and thus, he kept good care of the ball. is O’Connell the long-term answer in Las Vegas? Well, like Pierce, time will tell, but he had a nice day and he will surely continue to play and have the opportunity to further impress.
The plan was to get starting running back Josh Jacobs more involved in with this new coaching leadership and that was the case. He had a strong game as he finished with 98 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. He surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time. but he lost yards on his final carry. Tough break. Expect the Raiders to continue this plan to try to recreate his success from last season.
Down goes Daniel Jones:
Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones played Sunday after missing a month with a neck injury. Yet, he went down with a non-contact knee injury in the second quarter and was replaced by Tommy DeVito who has been the Giants’ third-string quarterback most of the season. He was ineffective as expected. The Raiders have played many low-level quarterbacks this season and that continues next week against the New York Jets and Zach Wilson.
Damn.. no contact injury to Daniel Jones. Rookie Tommy Devito in for the team.pic.twitter.com/RV8LYdbHzM— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 5, 2023
The Raiders couldn’t have hand-picked Sunday’s opponent to start this reboot better than facing than the Giants. They are one of the NFL’s worst teams at 2-7. The offense is the worst ranked unit in the NFL as it came into the game averaging just 11 points a game and it didn’t help that they were playing without former Raiders’ Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller and they were stuck with DeVito again. Yes, the Raiders have lost to bad teams before, so, at least, they took care of business.
Yes, the Giants’ offense is bad, but the Raiders made big plays with two interceptions and Maxx Crosby added three more sacks to give him 9.5 on the season. The Raiders had eight sacks including one by first-round pick Tyree Wilson.
#Raiders have 8+ sacks and 2+ INTs in same game since they had 10 sacks and 2 INTs in 31-0 win vs Jets 9/8/1985— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) November 6, 2023
It was their highest sack total in 13 seasons. Their defensive-minded head coach was smiling.
Adams, Renfrow not big part of offense:
The Raiders still need to get wide receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow involved more. O’Connell started to target Adams in the third quarter. Adams finish with four catches for 34 yards and has just 18 catches for 1756 yards in the past five games. Renfrow had two catches for 32 yards and has 12 catches for 124 yards in nine games. You can’t fix everything in one week, and that’s OK.
The Raiders have a chance to climb to .500 next week at home against the New York Jets, who are 4-3 heading into Monday night’s game at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Jets are very beatable. if Pierce can lead the Raiders to a win, they will start thinking about fighting for a playoff berth with tough games against the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs to end November play.