The story of the Raiders offense this season had been its slow starts, having not scored a touchdown in the first quarter through five games.
But on Sunday against the AFC West rival Denver Broncos, the Silver and Black flipped the script. Derek Carr and his weapons turned on the heat, scored a touchdown on their opening drive and didn't look back the rest of the game on their way to a statement wire-to-wire 34-24 win.
"Week in and week out, we know we have to start fast. It hasn't happened, but we just needed somebody to step up and give us that spark," Henry Ruggs said, "And luckily, that's what I did."
The spark came amid a week when Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia took the helm and offensive coordinator Greg Olson called plays for the first time in five years. Bisaccia made it clear though that there hasn't been a lack of effort — just trouble getting going early. He also expressed how excited he was to see the effort from both sides of the ball to get to W.
"Great continuity on offensive staff, great continuity on defensive staff. ... They just came together today and put it all together," Bisaccia said postgame. "We were plus four in the turnovers; we had good field position in the kicking game and thought we did a great job with drives."
Like they did throughout practice this week, the Raiders tuned out the noise and focused on the field. A first drive of the second half ending in a touchdown, much like the opening drive, helped Las Vegas keep the tempo high on their way to accumulating over 400 yards of total offense.
And for a run game that has been stifled, Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake broke out for a rushing touchdown a piece, with Drake added another through the air. Jacobs ended the day with 53 rushing yards and Drake with 34.
Drake came to the Raiders as a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals, where he nearly notched a 1,000 yard season in 2020. Notably, the six-year running back had been quiet since donning the Silver and Black, and today he came alive.
"I came here to make plays, so that's what I hope to continue to do as the season goes on," Drake said.
"I've just got a nose for the end zone. I get there, I'm hungry for it. I'm starving for it. ... It was a great set up by Oly [Greg Olson], Derek threw a great pass, and I just had to do my part," he added.
The offensive line also turned in an impressive performance after intermittent struggles this season, holding strong against the third-best defense in the league and allowed just two sacks on quarterback Derek Carr, who went 18-of-27 for 341 yards and two touchdowns.
"I thought they did a great job. I think we had two sacks, but I think they were my fault for running [for] zero yards; it wasn't on them," Carr said. "Especially against that front – Von Miller is God's gift to earth of pass rushing. ... It's impressive that [the O-line was] able to do what they did this week. We keep that up, hopefully we can build on what they were able to do this week and if we can do that, hopefully have more success."
With the first win under Bisaccia's belt, he and the 4-2 Raiders will look to keep the momentum – and brotherhood – going.
"We know what we have to do, and we're going to accomplish it," Ruggs said.
"It's really not about anybody else but us," he added. "As long as we're together – we've got to go on the field 11 at a time. As long as everybody in our locker room is together and on the same page, no matter what we can make some things happen."