This time, it was the Las Vegas Raiders doing the shellacking.
With a new interim head coach in tow, the Silver & Black took to heart Antonio Pierce’s new day, new chapter approach playing inspired complementary football and the Raiders walloped the visiting New York Giants 30-6 in front of a boisterous crowd at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday.
After weeks of looking disjointed and disinterested at times under the helm of former head honcho Josh McDaniels, the energy was palpable in Week 9 after Raiders owner Mark Davis made the decision to wax McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler, and offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi.
“Hella energy, that’s all we had,” cornerback Nate Hobbs, who had an interception in the win, said. “All we did was replicate what we’ve been doing all week, we had energy all week. We had love for each other. We had each other’s backs all week and we went out there and played as a team and stayed as a unit. That was the product.”
Las Vegas oozed with so much machismo, it took all of one half for Pierce’s Raiders to surpass the high water mark McDaniels’ version of the desert marauders could muster as the Silver & Black surged to a 24-0 halftime lead.
It took McDaniels’ orchestrated Raiders six games to score 21 points (the previous season high). Pierce and interim offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree (promoted from quarterbacks coach) eclipsed that as the Raiders and Giants headed to the locker rooms at halftime. That was due in large part to coaches dialing up the plays, players executing, and the complementary football resulting in an aggressive effort from Las Vegas.
“Yeah, we talked about being more aggressive, letting it go. I mean, you don’t want to call the game scared,” Pierce said in the postgame press conference. “Not myself as a head coach, nor did I want the OC or the quarterback to feel like I didn’t believe in them. So, we felt good about something, we were going to let it roll and you saw the shot there with (Tre) Tucker; you have a guy that can run-run, and he was run-running. And he caught that ball, and it was a great throw by Aidan (O’Connell). But more importantly, look at the protection, that we had time to get there and throw that ball 50-plus yards.”
That bomb was a result of a sudden change possession as Raiders cornerback Amik Robertson intercepted a deep pass from Giants backup quarterback Tommy DeVito (starter Daniel Jones left with a knee injury). After Robertson’s 40-yard return, Hardegree dialed up the deep pass with the offensive line, O’Connell and Tucker all executing and making it happen. Three plays later, running back Josh Jacobs powered in from one-yard out for his second touchdown of the day, 21-0 Raiders.
The ensuing series, the Las Vegas defense intercepted DeVito again — this time cornerback Nate Hobbs snared a deflection by Marcus Peters. That set up the Raiders on the Giants’ 25-yard line, and despite the offense not getting into the end zone that drive, Daniel Carlson’s 24-yard boot made it 24-0.
Hardegree and the Raiders offense would net two more field goals in the second half, but with the defense terrorizing DeVito and crew, that’s all the team needed to get the victory and improve to 4-5 overall.
“Like I said, when we’re playing like that — not even just as a defense, but as a team, offense and defense, cohesive, we are hard to beat,” Hobbs said of the offense giving the defense a 14-0 advantage. “It’s a great thing.”
There was no visibly upset Davante Adams on the Raiders’ sideline against the G-Men. Despite his meager four-catch, 34-yard stat line (he was targeted seven times), Adams spoke glowingly of the team’s performance, even though he rightfully wanted more passes and production.
“We got a new leader right now and it’s somebody that we can get behind and somebody that played the game, so it makes it a lot easier for us to connect with him because he understands the mind of a player. And he’s done a really good job just making sure we understand that it’s not about him, it’s about this team. It’s about us figuring it out and getting behind him obviously, and I feel like that’s what everybody did. That’s why it looked that way today.”
Let’s hit the quick slants as fast as Pierce and Hardegree asserted themselves in Sunday’s win.
—Jacobs looked like the 2022 version of himself running with conviction as he galloped to 98 yards and two scores on 26 carries. The Raiders would do well to get their bell cow tailback involved early and often.
—One area the Raiders need to shore up defensively is defending the run. Giants running back Saquon Barkley churned out 90 yards on 16 carries and may have had more if New York didn’t find itself trailing early.
—Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby remains a man possessed with three sacks, eight tota tackles, and three stops for loss. He led the charge as Tre’Von Moehrig, Malcolm Koonce, Adam Bulter, and Bilal Nichols each had a sack with Robert Spillane and Tyree Wilson each sharing half a sack.
—O’Connell was efficient going 16 of 25 for 209 yards. He wasn’t sacked once and had the where with all and awareness to check in and out of plays depending on the look the Giants defense provided pre snap.
—Pierce’s clock management on Sunday was already superior to his predecessor. He used timeouts well and bled the clock when needed and kept the team on schedule for much of the game.
—Raiders punter AJ Cole III entered the league record books setting a single-game league mark with an impressive 63.6 yards per punt average on Sunday. The elite punter continues to be one of the game’s best.
Quote of Note:
“I think it’s the best we played as a team, collectively, all season. But yeah, definitely the offensive line man. I can see it in their faces; they were hungry to go out there and get a win. They knew they had a big challenge with Dexter Lawrence on the other side. I mean, he’s been killing dudes this year, and they met that challenge. So, it’s been fun.” -Raiders running back Josh Jacobs