October 17, 2021 - 8:05 pm
DENVER — Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise how Maxx Crosby tuned out the noise of one of the craziest weeks in Raiders history to deliver the most commanding performance of his career.
In a game in which all of the Raiders’ key players made major contributions in a 34-24 win Sunday over the Broncos, Crosby was particularly dominant with three sacks, six tackles, a tipped pass and one tackle for loss.
That it came in a week in which controversy swirled around the Raiders is not all that astounding given who Crosby is and everything he’s seen in three NFL seasons.
Especially as it relates to the Raiders.
“In this business, there’s always crazy things going on, especially with the Raiders,” said Crosby, laughing. “There’s no mistake about it, ever since I got here, there’s always things going on.”
The reality of that has emboldened Crosby in a way that left him far less shocked at the lightning bolt of coach Jon Gruden abruptly resigning last week.
Crosby and Gruden were close, make no mistake. And certainly, he was disappointed with the events that unfolded that cost Gruden his job.
But he’s also been around long enough to know to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches.
“At the end of the day, it’s a crazy league,” Crosby said.
Crosby’s play set the tone for the defense.
Tackle Quinton Jefferson had a sack, and tackle Damion Square assisted linebacker Cory Littleton on another. The Raiders had 17 quarterback hits on Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.
Crosby and fellow defensive end Yannick Ngakoue are forcing pressure off the edge, which helps the interior defensive line also get a push.
“If you’ve ever seen Maxx and Yannick, it’s like a constant competition about who’s going to get back there first,” Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia. “They do it throughout the game. They do it throughout practice.”
The difference between Sunday and the two losses over the last two weeks was effort paying off with results. Crosby had gone three straight games without a sack.
“I feel like we’ve been rushing really well; we just haven’t finished,” Crosby said. “Today, we finished. We got to the quarterback consistently. I can’t say enough about Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas, Yannick — all those guys played a big part in me getting to the quarterback.”
Crosby’s three sacks tied a career high, and he has five this season.
“I feel like the rush and the coverage met — we married it up,” he said. “We consistently got after the quarterback from the start of the game. Once we knock out the run, we knew they had to pass.”