Whether you began the season as a believer or cynic, one thing remains clear: The Oakland Raiders look like a playoff team. Despite a defense that fluctuates between worrisome and undisciplined, the Raiders defeated the Bengals 17-10. With the win, Oakland climbs to 6-4. More importantly, the team inches closer to the playoffs, for the first time three years.
Although he threw an interception, a diving play by Bengals safety Jessie Bates, Derek Carr connected on 72.5 percent of his passes. Plus, he averages ten yards per attempt. Once again, Carr attacked vertically with patience and just enough aggression to keep the Bengals on their heels. When the team moves to Vegas, it appears like the Gruden-Carr experience will continue.
Regardless of the success of Carr, the Bengals dropped Carr three games. While no fumbles forced, the line did not have the best of day. If not for his quick release, this could have been worse.
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Before Maxx Crosby found his way to Oakland, FPC Raiders interviewed him. Last winter, Crosby felt like his motor and technical acumen would lead him to a worthy team. In all honesty, the rest of the NFL and the fanbase know what we have for the better part of nine months. From the first snap, Crosby harassed Bengals rookie Ryan Finley all day. Crosby tallied four sacks, five tackles and one forced fumble. Granted, many thought the Raiders would see these results from Clelin Ferrell. Yet, the rusher from the school that few heard of, now has 6.5 sacks with six games to play.
This game showed the grit that fans hoped Gruden would instill. Now, a seven-point win isn’t great. However, by one or thirty-one, a win is a win. The Oakland Raiders made plays when they needed to. Good teams find ways to win ugly games. Jon Gruden’s offense looks crisp. While the defense plays inconsistent, it works, for now. Yet, with six games until the playoffs, this team can go on a serious run to secure a payoff spot.