Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' 30-20 win over Broncos
A lot to be happy about
The Raiders are 7-2 heading into their bye week. Ponder that for a second. The long-suffering Silver and Black are two victories away from their first winning season since 2002 following Sunday night’s 30-20 beatdown of the Denver Broncos. That milestone, however, is not the ultimate goal. The Raiders believe they can contend in the AFC. No NFL team has more wins right now, and yet head coach Jack Del Rio continues to say his charges can play much better. They played pretty well in a Sunday night showdown with Denver and now sit atop a talented AFC West...
5. Murray still lead back
The Raiders will continue to use a by-committee approach to their run game. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Latavius Murray made it clear on Sunday night that he is the lead dog of this pack, capable of taking over games with a combination of speed and power evident against the Broncos. He had 20 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns in a huge win, showing he’s capable of shouldering the load. Murray doesn’t mind that he isn’t doing it all alone. The carry split with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard has worked well thus far, allowing everyone to stay fresh for the stretch run.
4. Playing old school football
The Raiders have relied heavily on quarterback Derek Carr to lead dramatic comebacks and move the ball downfield, but the Raiders beat Denver the old fashioned way, with rushing, defense and field position. Head coach Jack Del Rio loves that kind of football, and his team won the turnover battle, made key stops on third down and were solid in kick coverage. It showed the Raiders aren’t completely reliant on Carr to win games, a positive that gives the rest of the team confidence.
3. Mack changes the game
The Raiders played solid team defense for the second straight week, but some star power helped in big moments. Khalil Mack was a menace against Denver, and made a big play when it mattered most. His strip sack and recovery of a fumble he forced set up a touchdown that put the Raiders up 17 points midway through the fourth quarter. Mack had two sacks on Sunday, has seven total and has six in his last four games. The Raiders defense is its best with Mack leading the charge.
2. Raiders don’t wilt
The Silver and Black were a trendy national topic heading into Sunday night’s nationally televised game, with many billing it as the biggest game in Oakland in a dozen years. The Raiders seemed impervious to the hype and pressure and great expectations in this showcase, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering how well they’ve played on the road and under duress. They stepped up yet again, and have come to expect success in big moments. That should help as the season closes and wins become imperative to clinch the division or a playoff spot.
1. Expensive line pays off
The Raiders invested heavily in their offensive line, with big-money contracts given to Austin Howard, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson. Donald Penn isn’t playing for free, and Gabe Jackson cost a third-round pick. That group has proven invaluable this season, acting as the offensive centerpiece that allows skill players to produce well. The offensive line was dominant against Denver, allowing backs to run wild and control the clock. Derek Carr had time to throw, and made some nice plays in key spots. This group, led by Penn and Osemele on the left side, turned in its best game of the season and proved that success truly starts up front.