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.”
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.”