Oh snap! Josh McDaniels’ offense can actually look imposing when the Las Vegas Raiders execute.
Who woulda thunk it?
All jest aside, the broken-*ss record that both Raiders coaches and players spewed since Week 1’s loss up until Sunday’s 32-23 win over the Denver Broncos harped on execution. If only the Raiders executed the plays that were called, the results would speak for themselves. The response before the Silver and Black lassoed the visiting horsemen to execution was the Stone Cold Steve Austin “What!?” chant. After the Raiders’ first win, the response is Jim Ross’ “Baw Gawd! He’s broken in half.”
Even when Denver cut Las Vegas’s lead to 25-23 late in the fourth quarter, McDaniels’ offense stayed strong. It didn’t go quietly into the night, it didn’t p*ssyfoot. The Raiders’ offense met the Broncos face-to-face, executed, and slapped the soul out of the horsemen.
Raiders QB Derek Carr talks about McDaniels, the offense, and finally getting a W.
“Josh (McDaniels) called us up and he reminded us. He said to the offense and defense in a team meeting, he told us, ‘You should want the burden to finish the game.’ Not hoping that someone else does their thing, or they fix the problem, whatever. Just like, ‘Hey, whatever the game asked for, if it’s our turn, do our job,'” Carr said of the team’s mindset when the lead was trimmed to two points. “And so, the fact that he talked about it, he called us up beforehand to remind us, and then when we went out there, we were able to go get points, feels good.”
“And I know it feels good for Josh because that’s what he’s preaching to us. I guarantee when we turn on (the film), you’re going to see 11 guys all doing their job and doing it the right way. That’s only going to help us going forward if we can keep that mindset.”
Raiders Blog: Allegiant Stadium witnessed a well-oiled offensive machine
What the NFL-viewing world saw within the confines of Allegiant Stadium in that put-away drive was the Raiders offense rolling like a well-oiled machine. Play calling blended beautifully with player execution, and the Broncos couldn’t stop it.
One play in particular captured the difference between the ragamuffin Raiders and the high-and-mighty Broncos. Take a gander:
ðŸ“º: CBS pic.twitter.com/fEtCTJBSpm
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 2, 2022
Now that’s a play that requires execution from every moving part of the Raiders’ offense. Las Vegas has run a similar play beforeâ€”with Josh Jacobs as the fullback and Zamir White as the running backâ€”and in that instance, it was a fullback dive. This time around, the Raiders pitch it back to White, who out-sprints the defense for a big 22-yard gain. Look closely; everyone is doing their job on that 3rd-and-1.
What happened to the Denver Broncos’ defense?
Denver’s highly-touted defense was left in tatters on Sunday. The numbers speak for themselves: Las Vegas tailback Josh Jacobs ran roughshod over the Denver defense to the tune of 144 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. Jacobsâ€”sporting the Philippine flag stick on the back of his helmetâ€”trampled the Broncos for a robust 5.1 yards per average with a long of 43 yards. That gallop encompassed Denver’s entire day trying to corral Jacobsâ€”it wasn’t going to happen. In total, Las Vegas ran all over Denver to the tune of 212 yards.
“Yeah, I mean, whenever you run the ball for over 200 yards, it’s obviously never just one guy’s responsibility,” McDaniels said in his postgame media session. “I think that group is really fighting. They’re getting better. It was good to have Andre (James) back out there. He’s obviously a calming influence and played a lot of football for us. I think we’re making progress. We’re heading in the right direction, relative to trying to get to the point where we don’t have to do as much of that. We’ll continue to stress the competition, though. I think that’s made them all better.”
The Raiders did have lapses in execution, though.
The Raiders had lapses of execution — namely when Denver overcame a 1st-and-30 and scored a touchdown just three plays after — a Russell Wilson three-yard scoring scramble. But when time came to answer the bell, the Raiders marched out of their corner like prime Mike Tyson and bullied the Broncos.
Perhaps no other Raider — beyond Jacobs and Maxx Crosby (two sacks) –embodied the FOH energy quite like cornerback Amik Robertson. The diminutive defenderâ€”5-foot-8â€”played much bigger than his physical stature as he had timely tackles along with a 68-yard scoop and a score on a fumble — the Raiders’ first defensive touchdown since 2019. All this came about when Robertson fell to the grass, covering Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, and JJ did a “too short” hand gesture at the corner. That clearly lit a fire under Robertson.
— ðŸŽ™ (@bigcory00) October 3, 2022
“I could tell it made him mad when he did it,” Carr said of the taunting gesture Jeudy made towards Robertson. “And (Amik) was like, ‘Alright, we’re going to keep playing.’ It was good to see him compete that way, especially with all the injuries we had going on in the secondary. I was happy for him because he’s such a good kid.”
Looking ahead to Monday Night Football
For one Sunday, the Raiders could truly be happy. But have the 1-3 desert marauders turned the corner? If Las Vegas doesn’t put together back-to-back games where execution is more present than mistakes, then the answer is a resounding no. And any mistake, no matter how little, can truly be compounded by the Silver and Black’s next opponent: the Kansas City Chiefs (3-1).
That AFC West showdown is on prime-time television, tooâ€”Monday Night Football. Thus, if the Raiders want to prove the win over the Broncos was no fluke and it’s a sign of what the team can truly do when everything clicks, October 10th is the night to do it.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images