Why Jon Gruden considers Raiders' win over Colts one of his favorites

Why Jon Gruden considers Raiders' win over Colts one of his favorites

INDIANAPOLIS -- Raiders coach Jon Gruden was beaming after Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts. His team started fast, finished strong and mined contributions from every phase.

The Silver and Black responded well after getting bashed by the Minnesota Vikings last week, showing heart and resolve in their ability to rebound.

“I’m as proud of this win as any one I’ve ever had before,” Gruden said after the win.

Gruden has coached 196 games in his career. He has a Super Bowl ring and several big-time victories among that number. He still rates Sunday’s game among the very best, and he was candid explaining why this win in particular meant so much.

“I think it’s a tough schedule that we have, honestly,” Gruden said. “There are a lot of difficult things that we’ve gone through. You show up here today, and the guy you’re counting on to play the Z-position doesn’t play, your middle backer gets thrown out. There are plenty of reasons to -- your right guard goes in, your right tackle goes in -- there are a lot of reasons to fold your tent. There are a lot of reasons to start making excuses, but our guys were really resilient and tough mentally, and those are components that I think that are going to serve us well as we continue to build our team. I’m really proud of these guys.”

The veteran coach made some good points. They easily could’ve let last week’s loss to the Vikings bleed into Sunday’s performance. It didn’t. The Raiders had an excellent practice week and stopped a two-game losing skid. Going to London with on a three-game losing streak heading into the Khalil Mack reunion would’ve been unwelcome to say the least.

The team’s long flight to London got a little better after a big win on the road. It certainly showed this team’s toughness after a legitimate gut check in Week 3 and late in this game as a two-score lead slipped.

“Going over there with a loss would have been terrible,” rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “So, you know getting a win definitely helps. ... [We] are going to celebrate today and get back to work tomorrow.”

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Gruden was thrilled with this result, and reiterated that point several times without prompting before heading to the United Kingdom.

“I’d just like to say once again that I’m really proud of our team,” Gruden said. “We came to play and we finished and beat a good team.”

Raiders QB Derek Carr 'exhausted that play' before 4th-and-goal throwaway


Raiders QB Derek Carr 'exhausted that play' before 4th-and-goal throwaway

OAKLAND – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hung in the pocket one second after another surveying and surveying and surveying some more, waiting in vain for someone to come free. He moved slightly to his left and then rolled back right, with Derek Carrier and Zay Jones running parallel with him. Neither guy was open, so Carr eventually elected to throw it away.

That’s when the boos came. It was to be expected, considering the concession came on fourth-and-goal from the 1. That wasn’t a major moment. The Raiders were down three scores late in the game. That play’s outcome wouldn’t have mattered much either way.

It was, however, essentially still a tap out. Ultimately, however, head coach Jon Gruden wasn’t upset over that play’s result.

“I think he kept the play alive for like 12 seconds. It wasn’t like he just aborted the ball,” Gruden said. “He exhausted that play for what it was. I’m not going to stand here and say that was a turning point in the game.”

Carr didn’t have anybody open and bought time but didn’t try to force it anywhere when nobody was open and he ran out of real estate heading toward the sideline.

“They put us into a scramble drill,” Carr said. “I tried to extend the play in the pocket, like we’ve been working on. I tried to find somebody in the pocket and then as soon as they got close I tried to extend it outside the pocket. I promise you I wrung out the whole [towel] on that one.

“There were seven defensive backs looking at me, waiting for the ball. It is what it is.”

NFL playoff picture: Raiders' postseason chances dead after Titans loss


NFL playoff picture: Raiders' postseason chances dead after Titans loss

OAKLAND -- It was fun for the Raiders to talk about the playoffs while it lasted. 

That conversation is no more. 

The Silver and Black entered their Week 14 game against the Titans needing a win to jump back into the playoff periphery. The Raiders never got off the bus, though, as Tennessee blitzed Oakland 42-21 at the Coliseum. With the loss, the Raiders' third straight L, Jon Gruden's team falls to 6-7 and now is in ninth place in the AFC.

The Chiefs clinched the AFC West crown with their 23-16 win over the Patriots. They now are 9-4 and in third place in the AFC, one game behind the Patriots for a first-round bye. The Ravens (11-2) won again and are in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed. 

The Texans and Titans both are 8-5, but Houston currently holds the tiebreaker and is slotted as the No. 4 seed, while Tennessee sits in the No. 7 spot, just out of the playoff picture. The Titans and Texans will play two times in the final three weeks to decide the AFC South title. 

Despite the Bills' loss to the Ravens, Buffalo (9-4) still is the No. 5 seed and the top wild-card team, while the Steelers (8-5) are the six seed and the second wild-card team. 

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The Raiders' playoff hopes are all but extinguished now as the Silver and Black would need to win their final three games and hope Tennessee and Pittsburgh lose out.  

Three weeks ago, the Raiders were 6-4 and firmly in the playoff discussion. After three straight blow out losses, those playoff hopes are all but dead.