The Las Vegas Raiders went to Denver to take on the Broncos in an AFC West battle, and came out on top, dominating in a statement victory.
The Las Vegas Raiders knew they needed to get out to a fast start against Denver, this after a whirlwind of a week that saw Jon Gruden resign on Monday. Get off to a fast start they did, as Derek Carr orchestrated the team’s first opening drive touchdown since Week 11 of last season.
In a season that has seen the Raiders fall down early on, they did not trail at all in the first half, as Carr connected to Ruggs for a 48-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Denver responded with a touchdown drive of their own, but from there, Las Vegas scored ten straight, including an absolute dime by Carr to Kenyan Drake right before halftime.
While Drake was not used much with Gruden calling the plays, Greg Olson dialed his number a few times in the first half, and he certainly responded.
In the second half, the Raiders controlled the tempo as well, thanks to some timely passing from Carr. Going into the third quarter up 17-7, Las Vegas forced a three-and-out to kick off the second half, and it took only four plays to find the end zone.
Carr made a nice throw to Josh Jacobs under pressure, a play that went for nearly 30 yards, and the drive was capped off by fellow running back, Drake, scoring on the ground. A Brandon McManus field goal would cut the lead to two scores, but Carr once again took over, hitting Ruggs for another huge gainer, setting up a three-yard touchdown run by Jacobs.
Up 31-10 going into the fourth, it was only a matter of time before the fans began to leave the stands, and they started when Carr hit Bryan Edwards down the sideline on a crucial third down. They would kick a field goal to go up 34-17, and with the win, they made a statement that their season is far from over.
Maxx Crosby led the Raiders defense with three sacks, and he and the defensive line played tough without Johnathan Hankins and Darius Philon available. Solomon Thomas had a huge forced fumble, as the Silver and Black finally got some turnovers on that side of the ball.
Raiders move their record to 4-2 on the season
With the win, Las Vegas goes into their Week 7 matchup against Philadelphia with a 4-2 record, and in a virtual tie with the Los Angeles Chargers for first place in the AFC West. Of course, the Chargers have the tiebreaker after beating the Silver and Black two weeks ago, but this looked like a completely different Raiders team on Sunday.
The Las Vegas Raiders still have issues in terms of the roster, and these three players could be traded during the 2021 trade deadline.
Carr looked comfortable, the defense was flying all over the field, and despite a number of injures, the Raiders played their most complete game of the season. If they play this way, they are going to be fine, but as we saw against Denver, getting out to a quick start, and pressuring the quarterback is going to be key for this team in Week 7 and beyond.