LONDON – The Raiders arrived in the United Kingdom on Monday morning after a long flight from Indianapolis. It must have been a fun one.
Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts was cause for celebration on its own, but the result itself takes a back seat to revelation that could impact the entire season.
These Raiders can take a punch. They’ve absorbed a flurry since the season started, from Antonio Brown’s exit on through a Week 3 obliteration in Minnesota.
Brown's departure was staggering. The Vikings put them on the canvas, but the Silver and Black popped right back up.
No way in holy heck last year’s Raiders do that. That crew could’ve been felled by a feather.
Sunday’s game tested mettle. That’s why head coach Jon Gruden ranked this win high among his favorites. In starting fast, finishing strong and overcoming mistakes in Indy, these Raiders showed great resolve.
That’s a vital trait for an imperfect roster lacking talent in some areas and depth in most all of them. Look, the Raiders will suffer some on-field setbacks. They’re going to be beat handily at times. That’s just reality for a team in the relatively early stages of a rebuild.
“One thing about this team is that we never quit,” receiver Keelan Doss said. “We have a strong mindset, that every week we can come out here and get the job done.”
The Alameda kid’s pretty perceptive.
Expectations remained high in the locker room, even after AB went nuclear. The leadership core is strong, not afraid to hold others accountable even if things get tense.
The Raiders were able to rebound and play well.
They remain a work in progress, still finding an identity as we hit the quarter turn. We’ll learn more about these Raiders as they work through a brutal road stretch that continues Sunday against Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears here in London.
Entering that game on a three-game losing streak would’ve been disastrous. Now they sit at 2-2, facing the Bears likely without quarterback Mitch Trubisky, armed with the knowledge they can beat a tough team on the road.
That Bears defense is legit. You know Mack’s going to bring the heat against the team, owner and head coach that refused to pay him fair market value. But, make no mistake, that’s a winnable game.
The win over the Colts proved that they can compete, and put some previously automatic Ls back on the table.
“It could be a turning point,” receiver Trevor Davis said. “It’s the end of the first quarter of the season, and it was important we come out of this with a win. It’ll really help as we carry on through this road trip.”
Being away from home provides a prime time for the unit to come together and, despite adverse circumstances, could bring the team together. The Raiders are in the midst of a season-defining stretch and, if they emerge from it around .500, that would be a coup.
Don’t expect the Raiders to win easy. Their talent level doesn’t afford that. Resolve to weather storms, both in games and between them, will be vital to the Silver and Black being competitive and showing progress in Gruden’s second season.
“We’re a young team, with a lot of guys who haven’t played together,” receiver Tyrell Williams said. “To come off a loss like the one we had in Minnesota, and rebound to get a win on the road really says something. It was big for us.”