The Las Vegas Raiders may have undergone some massive changes last week, but that didn’t stop them from putting on probably their most inspired performance in Week 9.
The Raiders blew out the New York Giants 30-6 and improved to 4-5, washing away some of the bad taste that was in their mouth after the previous couple of weeks. It was quite the head coaching debut for Antonio Pierce, who took over after Las Vegas decided to part ways with Josh McDaniels.
It was a spirited effort on both ends for the Raiders as they ran the ball well and defensively shut down Daniel Jones and Tommy Devito. The defense had a field day once Devito subbed in for Jones, forcing multiple turnovers to keep the game far out of reach.
Maxx Crosby looked more amped than usual on the field, and he explained that he and the rest of the team were playing with confidence via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN:
“Everybody knows I’m sober, but I love my cigars, so I wanted the guys to have some fun after the game,” Crosby said after racking up three sacks for his third career three-sack game, tied with Anthony Smith for fourth most in franchise history since sacks became an official NFL stat in 1982. Only Hall of Famer Howie Long, franchise sack leader Greg Townsend and Bill Pickel have more three-sack games with four each.
“That’s the confidence you have to have in this league,” Crosby added. “You have to go out there with … the intention to go win. If you have any doubt that you’re going to go out there and succeed, you’re already a step behind. So yeah, we had a lot of confidence, we were ready to go. And you just felt it in the building.”
Crosby found himself a frequent visitor in the Giant’s backfield as he was able to generate pressure and force their opponents into tough situations. Las Vegas has been up and down throughout the 2023 season, but the game they had against New York is a reminder that this team has some legitimate talent to work with.
A playoff spot still feels like a stretch, but it feels like the organization is rallying around Pierce, which could make the silver and black an intriguing team to watch the rest of the way.