The Las Vegas Raiders put on an absolutely dominant performance last Thursday night when they obliterated the Los Angeles Chargers 63-21. Perhaps most impressive about the performance was that the team did not let up in the second half despite a 42-0 lead at the break. And that was due to the message of interim head coach Antonio Pierce.
Pierce has done an excellent job in changing the energy surrounding this team and getting everyone to buy into what he is doing. He didn’t want the Raiders to ease up just because of a big lead, and he made sure they didn’t at halftime of that game.
Star defensive end Maxx Crosby spoke on this in a recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, revealing the message Pierce gave to the Raiders about keeping their foot on the gas:
“His main message was just don’t let off, keep your foot on the gas. And that was what everyone was preaching because it was 42-0 at the half which is nuts, but at the same time, it was only one half of football.
“And for us even a couple weeks ago we played the Chiefs, we’re up 14-0 and then we don’t finish the game well and we end up losing. And then you got the Dolphins game where we lose by a touchdown and we didn’t finish the game the way we wanted to. So regardless of the scoreboard we wanted to just be at our best from start to finish, and I feel like we did that for the most part.”
As Crosby noted, the team has let some games slip away after strong starts, and Pierce is determined not to make that a habit. Finishing games is of the utmost importance, and even though there was no way the Raiders would blow a 42-point lead, it was about building strong habits and playing hard through the end.
Pierce is making a strong case to remain on as the head coach after this season, and it is stories like this, from those inside the locker room that go a long way towards potentially making that happen. Players like Crosby and Davante Adams have had nothing but praise for the job Pierce has done and their words should not be taken lightly.
As Pierce continues to preach the importance of finishing games strong, it could be a Raiders strong finish to the season that could lead to the dropping of the interim tag at the end of the year.