The Oakland Raiders have shown a certain resiliency on the roster and an ability to fight back. In a few contests this season, the team has been trailing entering the second half or fourth quarter and slowly fight their way back into the game.
Head coach Jack Del Rio has the team thinking in the right capacity, as there is no cockiness on this team. The Raiders have assembled a group of players that want to instill a winning culture to a team that desperately needs it.
During their Week 13 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, the Raiders trailed by a score of 24-9 in the third quarter. The momentum was in favor of the Bills, as the defense was unable to produce a stop.
However, the last 24 minutes of the game saw a complete turn in the chain of events. The Raiders would go on to score 29 unanswered points, while the Raiders’ defense didn’t allow the Bills to score. Del Rio was asked about the fight that this team has and he stated the Raiders play for one another, via Raiders.com:
“We’re going to give each other 60 minutes worth or more if it need be. We’re committed to that for each other. Every player in that room, every coach in that room. That’s what we’re going to give. We’re going to give great effort. Go out there and play a full game and know that we believe as long as we can stay together and give that kind of effort, we can have happy endings and have a big smile. Of course that’s what we’re all about, finding a way to win, somehow, some way and then have a big smile when we go home.”
The Raiders have now won nine of their last 10 games, with a 10-2 record to go along with first place in their division and the conference. Upon their first winning record in over 13 seasons, Del Rio has the team focused on the main goal at hand.
The team has yet to ease up on the gas pedal, as they continue to improve their schemes and play-making abilities. On Sunday, the defense recorded four sacks on Tyrod Taylor, including James Cowser’s first career sack after being promoted from the practice squad.
This season, the Raiders haven’t had strong starts to the second half. The third quarter remains the only period the Raiders have been outscored in, which has dug some holes for them to come out of.
Del Rio was asked about the ability to take control of the game and stated it came with a resilient, yet persistent approach:
“They gave us all we could handle early. Even early in the third quarter. Then I felt like all three phases kind of clicked and started coming together. We pulled away and took control of the game. Really good team effort. I think everybody contributed. We’ve been really good about staying the course and staying in the fight and finding a way. Today was another example of that.”
The Raiders have a quick turnaround this week, as they prepare for a Thursday night showdown at Arrowhead stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs.
With first place in the AFC West on the line, this contest could prove once and for all that the Raiders are a legit Super Bowl contender this season.