Oakland Raiders: Thoughts on the Week 2 upset win

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Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Neiko Thorpe (31) intercepts a pass in the final minute against the Baltimore Ravens as at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders took on the Baltimore Ravens at the O.Co Colliseum this afternoon after a (to put it lightly) embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The feeling following the loss to Andy Dalton and his Bengals was, to say the least, a little gloomy. I myself, even got the feeling of “here we go again, the same old Raiders. All hype, no substance…who are the top prospects in the 2016 draft?”

Head coach, Jack Del Rio, and his core of young offensive playmakers quickly reminded me that even though my faith was tested last week, that this is not the same old Raiders. This is not the team that flounders in the heat of the moment when the game is on the line. This is not a team lead by a coaching staff unable to put their players in a position to win. This is a team that is young, so it will have setbacks, but this is also a team with focus, and a sense of how bright the their future can be if they continue to develop together.

Amari Cooper made his presence felt quickly by burning star cornerback Jimmy Smith on a perfectly executed post route for a 68 yard touchdown reception. What made this catch even more exciting was that Cooper has been (unofficially) credited with dropping the two previous passes thrown his way on the drive. This tells me two very important things about this offense.

One, Derek Carr has complete trust in his receivers.A quarterback isn’t going to keep giving players a chance if he thinks they can’t make the play. Secondly, Cooper is legit. It is a rare trait for an NFL rookie to be able to shake off two consecutive drops and come back with the confidence to reel in the big time play like he did. That shows true composure, and that this young man is more than just a college standout. Burning Patrick Peterson in the preseason is cool and all, but now it’s official…Amari Cooper is legit.

That big strike for the opening touchdown was followed immediately with a forced fumble by second year corner back T.J. Carrie on wide receiver Kamar Aiken that was scooped up by middle linebacker Curtis Lofton to set the Raiders up for a field goal and 10 point lead.

All of this happened within the first two and a half minutes of play of the game. The offense came out swinging, and the defense came out looking for blood.  This is not a new archetype for a Raiders team, this is the type of play that every great Raider team has been composed of. An offense led by a gun slinging quarterback, not afraid to let it loose early and often, partnered with wide receivers who can stretch the field and score at any given moment. Then, complimented by a defense that is opportunistic, and aggressive, looking for any chance to cause a turnover.

The Raiders took the lead and never looked back until the 4th quarter when they lost it briefly due to a Derek Carr interception, only to regain it again with 26 seconds left to play on a beautiful touchdown pass to Seth Roberts to all but seal the victory.

By now, we’ve all either watched the game, seen hilights or read stat lines from the game, so there is no need for me to wax poetic about the following three and a half quarters.  Instead, I’ll just continue by giving my initial thoughts of the game.

Next: Week 2 Thoughts: Derek Carr