Let Jack Del Rio temper things.
“Yeah, for three quarters, it was pretty good”, the Oakland Raiders head coach said referring to his team’s defensive effort in last Sunday’s win against the Denver Broncos.
Granted, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator John Pagano had the Raiders defense playing much faster and flying around. Yet, it was crystal clear the new defensive boss did not grab quarterback Trevor Siemian by the throat and squeeze as he did against inexperienced Paxton Lynch.
Tasked with stopping Lynch, the Raiders defense aggressively attacked whoever had the ball.
“I talk about it all the time, the keys to sacks are the combination of rush and coverage going hand in hand,” Del Rio noted. “If you’re getting the rush you want, and the coverage is tight, then the quarterback doesn’t have anywhere to go safely with the ball and then you’re going to be able to get him on the ground. We got that done five good times, and we spread it around a little bit. Denico [Autry] got involved a little bit. Obviously, Bruce [Irvin] got a couple and Khalil [Mack], who is always going to show up. It was good to see a mix of guys.”
However, with a sizable 21-0 lead in hand and Siemian taking over for the injured Lynch, Oakland played the same wait-and-see ball previous defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. deployed. (Honestly, nno one could really say it was a Norton or even Pagano defense. Not with defensive-minded Del Rio as head coach).
“I think we had a good, solid week of preparation and I think we had a good, solid outing. It’s shared. It is never about one person. It’s a shared product that you saw, players and coaches coming together and getting a win we had to have.”
Nonetheless, the Raiders got a much-needed victory. Still, that does not dismiss the fact Siemian was the defibrillator to the flatlined Broncos offense and got the game to 21-14 — the eventual final score.
0 — Interceptions thrown by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Oakland’s franchise signal-caller had thrown picks in three consecutive games before Sunday’s donut.
1 — Interception by Oakland. The Raiders are no longer pick-less and the takeaway occurred in wild fashion as linebacker NaVorro Bowman snatched the ball as he lay on the end zone grass.
1 — Defensive snap from rookie safety Obi Melifonwu. He played 26 defensive snaps against the New England Patriots the week before, all at cornerback.
5 — Sacks by the Raiders defense. Denico Autry and Bruce Irvin led the way with two apiece with Khalil Mack accounting for the other QB takedown.
9 — Different receivers found by Carr. He had no choice but to spread the wealth after losing his top two wideouts Michael Crabtree (ejected) and Amari Cooper (injury).
9 — Completions by Lynch. Scatter-armed is a good word. Denver’s young QB misfired on a would-be long touchdown when a wide receiver Cody Latimer burned cornerback Dexter McDonald (safety Karl Joseph bit hard on an inside route ).
11 — Passes caught from Siemian. Coming off the bench, Siemian took advantage of the Raiders soft zone throwing two touchdowns and 149 yards.
17 — Denver rush attempts. The Broncos, rendered one-dimensional by a furious Raiders defense as Denver churned out 59 yards. In addition, the defense stuffed them on a goal line carry from the one-yard line.
18 — Completions by Carr. The QB fired 24 passes and two touchdowns. He had a total of 253 yards while being sacked twice.
26 — Season-high carries for running back Marshawn Lynch. While his per carry average suffered (2.6 yards), Beast Mode grinded for 67 total yards and a score. He added 44 more on three catches.
34 — Longest catch of the afternoon by a Bronco — tight end Austin Traylor.
47 — Amount of yards the ball traveled on Carr’s bomb to wideout Johnny Holton.
54 — Yards Cordarrelle Patterson rumbled to on his game sealing catch just before the two-minute warning. CP spun out of tackles and laid a vicious stiff arm to Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall to put a stamp on the play.
54 — Total yards allowed by Raiders defense in the first half. The Raiders surrendered 165 yards in the second half.
69 — Penalty yards on the Raiders. The team netted seven infractions.
75 — Total yards on penalties for the Broncos from nine flags.
219 — Denver’s yardage on 57 plays.
348 — Total output by the Raiders offense on 68 plays.
In reality, the Raiders needed this win in the worst way. Although, the game will not win a beauty contest, the Oakland Raiders won. Now, a win versus the Giants starts momentum. With December upon us, wins, not excuses are necessary. All things considered, Oakland could rip off a winning streak.