Las Vegas Raiders HC Antonio Pierce, Bo Hardegree, Aidan O'Connell

Knee-Jerk Reactions to Raiders’ Bounce-Back Win Over the Giants

Let’s go! The Raiders are officially back after a huge blowout win over the Giants. It is amazing what can happen in just a few days. Las Vegas played what was by far its best game of the year. Remember, this is essentially the same roster from Monday night’s debacle — outside of the quarterback position. All that happened was a few coaching and front office changes. Yet, somehow…

The Raiders Look Like a Completely Different Team

I mean, wow. What was that? Yes, it was against a hapless Giants team, but Las Vegas had something special going on in Week 9. The defense was absolutely dominant. They held New York to just six points and picked off quarterback Tommy DeVito twice. As great as it was, the real story was the offense.

The Raiders offense had not scored more than 19 points in a game all season heading into this week. On Sunday, the Silver and Black scored 24 points in the first half. It was like a whole new group on that side of the ball. Josh Jacobs looked like his old self, while players other than Jakobi Meyers and Davante Adams got involved in the passing game. The offense just generally looked like it had more imagination to it.

The way the Raiders played this week was so refreshing, not only for the locker room but also for the fan base. It was hard to even dream of them playing this well before the overturn up top. It really makes you wonder…

What in the World Was Josh McDaniels Doing?!

It is infuriating to think that the Raiders could have looked like this the whole time. Josh McDaniels must truly be the most un-motivative head coach of all time. Also, his reputation as some sort of “offensive genius” has been irreparably tarnished.

For the first time in 2023, the Raiders offense actually performed the way it should. You’d think anyone could draw up plays for a unit with a top-three running back, a top-three wide receiver, and several other dynamic playmakers. It is truly mind-blowing to think about how ineffective McDaniels’ offense was, given the weapons that were at his disposal.

A lot of the struggles can be blamed on his insistence to start Jimmy Garoppolo whenever he was available. Rookie Aidan O’Connell seems to bring a whole new dimension to the offense. However, it is worth noting that when Garoppolo was in San Francisco, he did much more with far less than he had in Vegas. It is abundantly clear that McDaniels was holding everyone back, including the entire quarterback room.

Aidan O’Connell Has Potential to Lead the Raiders Beyond 2023

The rookie out of Purdue looked great in this one. It is a shame that this wasn’t his first start, as a rocky debut vs. the Chargers came back in Week 4. Regardless, this felt completely different from his showing against the Bolts. There was a clear game plan, and O’Connell executed it about as well as he could.

He was not asked to do a whole lot. Jacobs was the focal point of the offense. However, the first-year signal-caller made enough plays to keep the defense honest. O’Connell’s management of the game was the most impressive part of his performance, but he also made several tough throws. He may not have lit up the stat sheet, but the former Boilermaker was impressive, nonetheless.

Heading into the battle with the Giants, O’Connell wasn’t viewed as the long-term answer behind center — at least, not by the consensus. However, following his winning performance in Week 9, the Raiders should at least play him and find out.

AOC4 showed this week that he can, at the very least, be a competent starter in this league. Will he ever become an elite quarterback? Probably not. For now, the floor is high enough that the Raiders could keep him around until they decide if his ceiling is worth betting on. O’Connell’s emergence should give Raider Nation some much-needed hope.

*Top Photo: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

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