INDIANAPOLIS -- The Raiders showed gumption, heart and resolve Sunday in a 31-24 road win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
They put some elbow grease into this one before heading to London for a clash with the Chicago Bears. They didn’t go in the tank, or crash and burn when the Colts pulled within one score. Josh Jacobs pin-balled through Indy's defense in a flash, sealing the victory with some hard runs. They got contributions from all over, including some unheralded folks, in what truly was a team win.
Let’s grade out the Raiders in this week's report card:
Jacobs is legit. That’s not exactly breaking news, but the first-round draft pick again proved his mettle, with 79 yards on 17 carries, including the final two required to get a late first down and secure victory.
The Alabama product is super confident and consistent, showing he could be a top-tier running back. The interior line deserves some kudos as well for creating seams large enough to spring Jacobs forward.
Overall, the Raiders had 188 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries, good for 5.9 yards per carry. Gruden dialed up a great play call with Trevor Davis' sweep, which went 60 yards for a touchdown. He only got there because of excellent downfield blocking from Kolton Miller and Darren Waller.
A fumbled exchange was the day’s only mishap in the run game. Overall, that’s excellent work from the entire operation.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had a ho-hum day at the office, completing 21 of 31 passes for 189 yards and two TDs. It should've been three, but Tyrell Williams had a case of the drops and let an easy TD catch hit the turf.
Pass protection was solid, with only one sack allowed and time for Carr to work. He spread the ball to eight different targets, including a TD strike to Foster Moreau that required significant trust in the fourth-round pick.
Williams wasn’t the only receiver lacking sure hands, and Carr misfired a few times, but he kept the ball out of harm's way and did everything required to get the win.
This unit was gashed by Dalvin Cook last week in Minnesota, but corralled Colts rusher Marlon Mack for most of the day. The Colts averaged 3.5 yards per carry, and Mack had just 39 yards on 11 carries, with most of that sum coming on an 18-yard run.
The Raiders were able to function well even after Vontaze Burfict’s ejection. That’s a good thing, considering a suspension might be on the way for the Raiders' captain.
P.J. Hall was solid working inside, and the defensive front was disciplined. That effort rebounded well after last week’s disaster.
Erik Harris had a key pick-six late in his first start of the season after taking over for Curtis Riley. Harris was upset he gave up a late touchdown to keep it close, and he’ll have to avoid such critical mistakes in his next start.
Lamarcus Joyner rarely left the field, and made several big plays on the ball. The pass rush still is lacking, through Maxx Crosby had a solid day. The rookie had two batted passes, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit.
The Raiders were fortunate that Colts tight end Eric Ebron couldn’t hold on to the ball. Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw for three TDs, but he wasn't efficient, and he never looked off his target on Harris' pick six.
The Raiders' secondary fared well, but the pass rush has to pick it up.
The Raiders finally won the field-position battle after being awful in that area in their three previous games.
A.J. Cole put three of his five punts inside the 20-yard line, and the Colts' returns weren’t impactful. The Raiders' return game clearly misses Dwayne Harris, even though Davis has sprinter’s speed.
Daniel Carlson hit his only field-goal attempt, and it was important after he was mercilessly booed in Minnesota, where his misses are well-remembered.
Gruden had his Raiders playing hard. They took control early and held on through the finish, showing real toughness down the stretch. This was a big win, a character-builder for a Raiders team still finding itself after all the Antonio Brown drama and a series of key injuries.
The Raiders were ready to play and stopped a two-game slide. Gruden’s staff deserves a gold star for this one.