The Rejuvenated Raiders

The fans in attendance last Sunday night were not disappointed despite the rainfall.

The team recorded its first interception of the season, an end zone pick by NaVorro Bowman (who had fallen to the ground), and three players were ejected from the match, which ended in a 21-14 Raiders victory.

Fortunately, the Raiders were able to overcome a depleted wide receiving corps (Amari Cooper sustained a concussion and a sprained ankle on the same play, and Michael Crabtree was one of the players ejected). The defense played fast, was able to rush the quarterback effectively and fly around the field swarming opposing ball carriers and coming up with the opportunistic plays this team needed to succeed.

The Offensive Gameplan

The Raiders brought it to the Denver defense by running “Beast Mode” at them all day long. Marshawn Lynch arguably had his best game of the season because of it. The run game wasn’t the only successful part of the victory though. Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton stepped up for Derek Carr in a timely manner as well. Holton caught a bomb that put the Raiders ahead for good in the 2nd quarter and Patterson put the Broncos on ice with his over the head catch late in the 4th to seal it. It wasn’t beautiful, but it worked against a usually stout opposition.

The Defensive Gameplan

Defensively, Oakland was sound for the most part. Bowman came away with an interception and was all over the field while wrestling down Broncos players seven times. Reggie Nelson helped hold Denver to 59 yards on the ground while notching six tackles himself. Denico Autry pressured Denver’s quarterbacks constantly piling on with two impressive sacks.

Playoff Push

The Raiders will turn their focus to winning out. The remainder of the schedule is daunting with road games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and the suddenly resurgent Los Angeles Chargers.

To say that Oakland has its work cut out for them is an understatement. With a new outlook on defense, a running game that has found its legs and a sound rhythm, along with a Chiefs team that has dropped off after a 5-0 start, the Raiders might just be right where they want to be when it comes to winning the AFC West or possibly vying for a wild-card spot.

If this team believes it can win out or make the playoffs with a 9-7 record, success in the playoffs will be another story. Nonetheless, a win against a division rival was the first step in finishing the season in a respectable fashion.  Hopefully, the win, while facing much adversity, will lead to a more confident group in the coming weeks. Until then, Ramble On, Raider Nation.

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