Oakland Raiders: Monday Morning Reaction (Week 3)

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Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) stiff arms Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Tank Carder (59) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Raiders won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

What a beautiful day to be a Raiders fan! I don’t think I’ve ever shared my typical Sunday experience as a fan of the Oakland Raiders and the NFL as a whole while living in the greater Seattle area. I don’t watch the games in my home, I don’t watch the games at a friend’s place, I walk down to a local sports bar in a suburb of Seattle near my home and watch the games there. I enjoy the atmosphere of sharing the experience with other football fans, hearing what people think of this team and that team. My inquisitive ears are always quick to perk up when I hear anyone talking about the Raiders.

Sunday morning around 9:30 a.m. this particular bar begins to fill with football fans. There is a local chapter of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan club who meet up here, a few Bears fans, and a hodgepodge of other people come in. Most of them are there to grab a good seat before the Seahawks game kicks off.

Me, I’m there to watch the Raiders. I get there, say hello the to people working, ask them if they’ll put the Raiders game on the TV near my regular seat and I get ready for the ride. I order a Guinness, and take my first taste at the opening kickoff and watch the game (I have one per half, if anyone is interested.)

This is a tradition I’ve come to enjoy. The past few weeks have seen the arrival of a few other Raiders fans, we always seem to find one another and talk about the history of the franchise, and the excitement surrounding the team these days. It’s Derek Carr this, Amari Cooper that…the usual banter between fans of a team.

This week was a bit different, though. This week, a flag-waving fan of the Cleveland Browns was there. I have seen him around in the past, but didn’t pay much attention to him because he is typically watching Browns’ games. He saw I was there to watch the same game he was, and he pulled a seat up next to me. He was a bit older me, probably in his mid to late 50’s, and he is a lifelong, die-hard Browns fan.

Prior to my first sip of Guinness, while I was enjoying a cup of coffee; he and I spoke about the future of our two favorite franchises. We talked about the potential that each team has, and we both admitted a mutual respect for one another’s favorite team. I couldn’t honestly care one way or the other if the Browns are a successful franchise, but they are a team in a similar situation as my beloved Raiders. They are a team with a lot of young talent, just missing a few pieces in order to be properly successful in the NFL.

Then…kick off. From the first drive, it just felt like the Raiders were in control of this game. The other Raiders fans and myself were cautious about getting too excited because we’ve seen leads blown before. The Browns fan to our left was miserable, complaining about his franchise from top to bottom, and in the background I could other patrons whispering about the Raiders and how they are looking like a respectable team. A few of the Steelers faithful came over to talk about Derek Carr. This day was starting to get interesting.

Fast forward a few hours later, the Raiders had emerged victorious after an exciting fourth quarter comeback by the Browns fell short. The defense had softened in the later parts of the 4th quarter and the Browns cut the lead to 27-20. The victory was sealed by an outstanding play by none other than number 24, Charles Woodson.

By now, we’ve all seen the game, read the stat lines or seen the highlights of the game, so I won’t bother doing a full recap of the entire game, but I do want to talk about what we’ve learned about this team. Following are my Monday morning reactions to the Raiders first road win of the 2015 season.

Next: Monday Morning Reaction: Raiders Offense is for Real