Three takeaways from the Raiders’ 34-24 victory over the Broncos on Sunday in Denver.
1. Raiders focused
Teams that go through an emotional week similar to what the Raiders just experienced can either go in the tank or rise to the occasion. It was clear from the beginning Sunday that the Raiders were handling the adversity the right way after coach Jon Gruden resigned Monday after a series of controversial emails were made public.
The Raiders drove the length of the field on the first drive to score a touchdown and ended the first half with another TD to send the message they were rallying around each other and behind interim coach Rich Bisaccia.
It was a message that needed to be sent if the Raiders are going to reach their season goals.
2. Defense delivers
After the Broncos went the distance for a touchdown on the first drive, it appeared as if it would be a long day for the Raiders’ defense.
That was far from the case.
The Raiders’ front went after Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater throughout with five sacks and 17 QB hits. Maxx Crosby had three sacks and five hits by himself.
Bridgewater also was intercepted three times by a Raiders’ secondary that has suffered its share of injuries.
And as the Broncos were trying to rally late in the third quarter, Solomon Thomas forced a fumble that Denzel Perryman recovered.
3. Drake emerges
The offseason signing of running back Kenyan Drake was largely criticized, and until Sunday, it was more than justified.
Now Drake, signed because of his ability to catch as well as run, might be changing that narrative.
He caught a 31-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left in the first half to put the Raiders up 17-7. Then he rushed for an 18-yard TD early in the third quarter to give the Raiders a three-possession advantage.
Those two touchdowns put the Raiders fully in control.