After a controversial week in Las Vegas, the Raiders were able to pull themselves together on the road and convincingly beat the Denver Broncos, 34-24. Just days removed from former head coach Jon Gruden’s resignation, the Raiders played free, as if there had been a huge burden taken off their shoulders.
Derek Carr looked like a new man on the field, throwing downfield multiple without hesitation. Carr only completed 18 passes but still racked up 341 yards and 2 TDs. There have been so many rumors over the past few years regarding the relationship between Gruden and Carr. Whether he liked Carr or he didn’t, was Gruden going to trade Carr at some point and so on. Now Carr can go out and just focus on football, and that’s what he did Sunday in Denver.
No longer will Carr and the Raiders have to deal with the apparent toxic culture Gruden had built within the organization. Gruden’s arrogance was always in plain sight as he presented himself as the most brilliant football guy in the room. Now we’re finding out his narcissism was more profound than anyone outside the organization could have imagined.
After a scandal like this, most teams would have come out the next game and laid an egg. These Raiders, including the remaining coaching staff, deserve a ton of credit for being able to bounce back and handle their business on the field with so much going on around them.
This victory is even more impressive for the Raiders when you dig a little deeper. By most metrics, this is a game the Raiders probably should have lost. Time of possession went in favor of Denver by nearly 10 minutes. Las Vegas had just 16 first downs to 25 for the Broncos, and the Raiders converted only 36 percent on third down. Total yards for each team were nearly equal on Sunday.
The Raiders were able to control and win this game with turnovers. They forced Denver into four turnovers in the game while committing zero themselves. Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater accounted for three of his team’s four turnovers. With all Carr and the offense accomplished, the Raiders dominated this game because the defense repeatedly put them in great position.
Right now, it looks like no Gruden, no problem for the Raiders. They’d lost back-to-back games leading up to Gruden’s resignation, and it felt like the beginning of another mid-season collapse similar to what we’ve seen from these Raiders in recent years. With a 4-2 record now the Raiders seem to be back on track and look like they’re ready to make a postseason run at the end of the year.