Don’t look now, Raider Nation; the Las Vegas Raiders are 3-3, and Josh McDaniels enters Week 7 with a golden opportunity to get the Silver and Black over the .500 mark.
‘The student’ Josh McDaniels has squared off against ‘the teacher’ Bill Belichick three times as an opposing head coach. With a Week 6 victory against the New England Patriots, McDaniels advanced to 3-0 when battling the coach he spent 13 years directly under. More importantly, this win gave the Raiders their first winning streak of the season.
For the second straight year, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers took to Allegiant Stadium to play in a contest that featured the Raiders and Patriots. In 2022, as a member of New England’s team, Meyers attempted a lateral on the last play of a tied game. His lateral was intercepted and taken the other way for six, giving Las Vegas a victory courtesy of Jakobi himself.
Heading into the week, Meyers was on a mission to once again help the Raiders get a win – this time as a Sin City resident.
Against his former club, the 26-year-old caught five passes for 61 yards, including Las Vegas’ only touchdown of the game. Meyers has now played in four contests with Jimmy Garoppolo this season. In three of those four games, he’s found the end zone at least once.
Rookie tight end Michael Mayer also enjoyed a career-day, tying Meyers with a team-high five catches and leading all Raiders players with 75 receiving yards. Prior to Sunday’s duel with New England, the second-round pick had three catches for 41 yards on the year.
Josh Jacobs stands as another notable performer, totaling a season-high 77 rushing yards.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders advance to 3-3 with win over New England Patriots
The Silver and Black earned a win at home in Week 6, but it came at the cost of losing their QB1. Mid-way through the third quarter, Jimmy Garoppolo exited the game with a back injury. Veteran signal-caller Brian Hoyer stepped in and finished the contest in Jimmy G’s absence.
Las Vegas’ offense immediately changed.
On third down, Hoyer threw a 48-yard bomb to rookie receiver Tre Tucker. This was not only the Raiders’ longest offensive play of the season, but it’s the team’s only completion over 32 yards. Suddenly, an opposing defense was forced to respect the possibility of a deep ball – Josh Jacobs took immediate advantage of this by notching a 17-yard run on the next play.
The offense didn’t win this game, though; not by a long shot. In fact, with a turnover and a flat-out embarrassing one-for-six touchdown rate in the red zone, Las Vegas’ offense did themselves little favors.
For yet another week, the Raiders’ defense shines as the driving force of the team.
A defense that demands respect
When’s the last time the Raiders had a defense that won football games? This isn’t a unit that’s getting the ball back for their offense – instead, they’re the ones sealing the deal. It’s now been back-to-back weeks that the defense in Sin City has ended a contest.
Last week it was Amik Robertson securing a victory by intercepting Jordan Love in the end zone. This week, the battle was decided by a Bilal Nichols, Maxx Crosby safety that Adam Butler was also involved in.
Crosby being a force of nature shouldn’t surprise anybody. The defensive tackle unit wrecking havoc through four quarters, however, is a bit more unexpected.
Three defensive tackles were credited with a sack, each earning their sack on a separate play. Adam Butler got things started with the first quarterback takedown of the day for the Raiders, and John Jenkins soon followed suit with a sack of his own. With the game on the line, Bilal Nichols took Mac Jones to the ground for a safety. Crosby might be getting all the credit for the safety via highlights, but make no mistake – Nichols began slamming Jones down before Maxx had arrived.
You’ve been asking for interior pressure, Raider Nation, and you’ve finally got it.
Altogether, Las Vegas’ defense totaled one interception, four sacks, and three tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Third-year safety Tre’von Moehrig was responsible for Mac Jones’ lone interception. Amik Robertson, who grabbed the game-sealing turnover last week, showed his versatility by bringing the quarterback down. Cornerback Tyler Hall didn’t get a sack himself, but his pressure allowed Jenkins to hit home and clean up the play.
For the third consecutive week, the Raiders’ defense makes sure their opponent doesn’t surpass 200 passing yards.