For the first time since 2002, the Oakland Raiders could end the season at or above .500. They went to Super Bowl XXXVII that season, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Already this season they have a better record than the previous two seasons. They’ve doubled the number of wins from last year. After their win Sunday against the Broncos, in Denver, the Raiders are now 6-7. Not a winning record yet, but a big improvement from where the Raiders have been the past 12 years.
You know this was a big win for the Raiders, beating the division leaders at their home, on their grass. It was so big, quarterback Derek Carr presented the game ball to head coach Jack Del Rio. He has been the main reason for Oakland’s turnaround from the past few seasons.
At half time, when the Broncos were winning, 12-0 and the Raiders had negative offensive yardage (-11), Del Rio told his team, “We came here to play a full 60 minutes, so let’s make sure we give them a full 60 minutes.”
The Raiders defense had played very well in that first half, holding the division leading Broncos to just four field goals, keeping Oakland in the game.
Then in the second half the Raiders kept the Broncos scoreless and in return Derek Carr and the offense put Raiders on the board with a touchdown pass to Seth Roberts.
Later, after an Oakland punt, Khalil Mack stripped the ball from Denver QB Brock Osweiler in the end zone. Oakland defensive end Benson Mayowa and Denver center Max Garcia both dove for the ball. Garcia recovered it for a safety, putting Oakland just three points behind Denver. Although Mayowa missed scoring a touchdown, he was credited with a tackle.
At the start of the fourth quarter Carr threw a 16-yard pass to Mychel Rivera for a touchdown, putting Oakland ahead for the first time in the game. They tried for a two-point conversion to force the Broncos into scoring a touchdown to win, instead of a field goal to tie, but the effort failed.
That left a lot of time on the clock for Denver to score and win, but the Raider defense held. The big defensive effort for the Raiders came from Khalil Mack, who had five sacks in the second half. The big stat for the day: they kept the division leaders from scoring an offensive touchdown for the second time this season.
The Oakland defense was very good, but the offense couldn’t match their success. Carr had only135 yards passing and the Oakland running game, led by Latavius Murray, only got 27 yards on the ground, averaging just 1.2 yards per carry.
The had some bad miscues, like a bad snap for a field goal that cost them three points and field position. Having negative offensive yards in the first half. Carr said, “That’s not the recipe for success for us. It doesn’t matter what the situation is; I’m just going to compete. That’s what I try to get out of everybody else. I’ve been through a lot of bad things in life — not just football — a lot of good times, and all you do is you just keep pushing and trust what you believe in. I’m just glad that it turned out a little bit better in the second half.”
Next Sunday the Raiders face the Green Bay Packers at home and they will need to score more than 15 points to beat the Packers.
Their defense will have to stiffen against a running game that had 230 yards on the ground against the Dallas Cowboys. There is quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. He only threw for 218 yards against the Cowboys, in the rain, but with the Green Bay running game working so well he didn’t need to fling the ball very much.
On paper the Oakland offense looks better than the Green Bay defense, but the Packers held the Cowboys to just seven points. Jack Del Rio will have their hands full with the Packers, but then that’s what everyone said in the week leading up to their game with the Denver Broncos.
After the game Carr talked about the second half, “We just came out and said, ‘Look, man, we just have to execute the way we know how.’ They’re the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL, we knew they were going to make plays — when you play them, you know they’re going to make plays. But at the same time, we believe in what we do, also. We’ve seen it work against some of the best talent in the NFL.”
They could do that again next Sunday against the 9-4 Packers.
L.A. Post-Examiner Staff contributed to this story.
Top photo screen shot from YouTube video showing the safety scored against the Broncos in Sunday’s game.
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.