The Las Vegas Raiders finally put together a complete effort in both halves of the game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. That resulted in their first win of the season, a 32-23 victory over their visiting division rival. There were many reasons the Raiders earned this victory, but who stepped up the most and who should have just stayed home?
Winners From Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos in Week 4
Today was a career day for the Raiders’ top running back, as he rushed 28 times for 144 yards and two scores, a 5.1 yard per carry average. He also added five catches for 31 yards. Denver has one of the best secondaries in football, and passing was always going to be a chore, so if the Raiders were to win this game, they would have to rely on the running game. Jacobs put the team on his back and wore down the Broncos’ formidable front seven. Looking back, he was able to peel off massive runs near the end of the game.
This was easily one of the best games of Jacobs’ career, and more efforts like this could possibly earn him a new contract from Las Vegas after the team declined his fifth-year option in the offseason. This season, Jacobs leads the league in rushing yards on inside runs with 230 yards, 110 of which were earned against the Broncos.
Crosby was his usual disruptive self against a Bronco offensive line missing both starters on the right side. He racked up four tackles for loss, four tackles total, two sacks, and two QB hits, along with a batted pass near the goal line. He absolutely terrorized Russell Wilson. Needless to say, he’ll surely be seeing Crosby in his nightmares for the rest of the week. Chandler Jones was incredibly disruptive as well, but he didn’t get any sacks due to the Broncos blatantly holding him. This level of performance is what the Raiders are paying for.
With Rock Ya-Sin out for this game, Amik Robertson was thrust into a prominent role. He had some issues in coverage early on, until Jerry Jeudy decided to run his mouth and tell Amik that he was too small. A “regular” Robertson is a replacement-level player, but a p*ssed-off Robertson is an All-Pro. When Melvin Gordon fumbled the ball in the second quarter, Robertson snatched it out of the air and ran it all the way back for a 68-yard touchdown. Robertson had three tackles, two solo, and perhaps this performance will give him more confidence going forward.
Sunday marked Josh McDaniels’ first win as a head coach since November of 2010. Fans may be frustrated with the team’s lack of execution in the red zone and continued reliance on field goals, but the fact is the Raiders’ defense was playing exceptionally well and there was absolutely zero reason to take unnecessary risks. McDaniels did a good job in this game. The team was able to seal a win and put up 32 points against an elite defense. The Raiders ran 76 offensive plays to the Broncos’ 46, and Las Vegas had a run/pass ratio of 38/34. When McDaniels saw the run was working, he went with it, and the Broncos had no answer. This is an effort the Raiders can build off of.
Losers From Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos in Week 4
Everybody and their mother knew that the Broncos hired Hackett for one reason and one reason only, and that was to try to convince Aaron Rodgers to come play in Denver. That didn’t work. So, Denver is left with Adam Gase 2.0 to try to coach a team with inconsistent receivers, a shoddy offensive line, and a quarterback who has the uncanny ability to make everyone around him hate him. Hackett had all those things in Green Bay as well, but now he’s the head coach, so he’s responsible for them. On Sunday, he got outcoached by McDaniels, which is like being outcooked by Craig from the Waffle House at 3 am after his fifth smoke break of the day.
As soon as the Broncos traded for Wilson this offseason, countless people jumped on the Denver bandwagon. Surely the Broncos, with their awesome defense, just needed a great quarterback to succeed! Those people clearly had not watched Wilson play for the last two years. He’s more washed up than a nickel you find in the dryer. Today, Wilson not only was outplayed by Zach Wilson, Kenny Pickett, Daniel Jones, and Jacoby Brissett, but also by Bailey Zappe and his replacement in Seattle, Geno Smith. Cope, Denver fans, you got fleeced by Pete Carroll.
Denver’s running game
The Broncos had a tough time running the ball against the Raiders, rushing 20 times for 85 yards. The only Denver player to score a rushing TD was Wilson. The Broncos’ top two running backs had 13 carries for a combined 36 yards. Gordon had a costly fumble and was benched, while Javonte Williams suffered what may have been a serious knee injury. He’s one of the bright young stars in the game, so hope for a speedy recovery, but Denver’s running backs were an abject failure in this game.
Both teams’ special teams were subpar at best. The Raiders botched an onside kick, consistently gave up big returns, had costly penalties, and also missed an extra point. The Broncos returned the favor and missed an extra point as well. Luckily for the Raiders, Daniel Carlson continues to never miss field goals. Even so, the coverage units have to improve because Denver’s biggest successes came on short fields.
*Top Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports