INDIANAPOLIS -- The Raiders are headed for London with a smile.
The Silver and Black snapped a two-game losing streak with Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil as essential a win as one can have in Week 4.
The Raiders face Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears next week in the United Kingdom, and entering that game in that place -- the Raiders have been terrible in two previous London games -- with a string of defeats would’ve been bad news.
Now they come in confident after beating a solid Colts team at their place, making it to .500 at the quarter pole.
Here are three takeaways from an important victory on a grueling five-game stretch playing away from home:
Raiders find a way to rally
The Raiders got dismantled last week by the Minnesota Vikings. Dis-man-tled. It was the type of humbling, beat-in-every-phase loss that can stick in your teeth, making a team feel less than while working through this extended time away from home.
Tahir Whitehead and Josh Mauro said after that Vikings loss that players would apply peer pressure and hold each other accountable during the practice week and respond well from disappointment.
That certainly happened. The Raiders started hot and held strong despite a late charge from the Colts that made it a one-score game in the waning moments.
Erik Harris secured victory with a pick-six on the Colts’ formal comeback attempt, putting a solid stamp on a game the Raiders desperately needed.
This was a big moment for Jon Gruden’s crew and certainly helps foster chemistry and confidence after weathering adversity. Last year’s team would’ve lost this game. This one rebounded well. That’s important in the grand scope.
Good things happen with Jacobs involved
The Raiders took an early, multiple score lead in this game, creating an ideal environment to run the football and keep Josh Jacobs involved.
As you’d expect, feeding him worked out well. The team’s best skill player was productive on the ground and as a receiver. He wasn’t excellent, but he steadily produced with 79 yards on 17 carries. He also had two receptions for 29 yards, his first touch in the passing game since Week 1.
DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard rotated in to keep Jacobs fresh, and that trio proved an effective, valuable part of the offense that was underused in the previous two games.
All told, the backs had 152 yards of total offense and diversified the offense. That took focus from Darren Waller and Tyrell Williams, players the Colts were clearly looking to take away.
Solid starting script
The Raiders had started fast several times in the Jon Gruden era. They don’t always end well, but the offensive play caller’s first 15 or so plays generally run smooth.
They couldn’t have gone better Sunday, when the Raiders built a two-score lead on a Foster Moreay touchdown pass and a 60-yard jet sweep by Trevor Davis keyed by blocks from Darren Waller and Kolton Miller.
The Raiders were up big in a flash, and the defense held strong until the end of the first quarter. The Silver and Black are far better playing with a lead, able to keep the offense balanced.
The lead probably should’ve been bigger, but a few key miscues kept it relatively close in the first half. The Raiders were up 21-10 at the half and expanded the lead with a solid third-quarter field goal drive that lasted nine minutes, 42 seconds.
The solid early start set the tone, and gave the offense a lift after it looked listless last week against Minnesota. It was a positive and sure sign the Raiders rallied after a disappointing Week 3 defeat.