Man, there's no place like home; just ask the Oakland Raiders.
After not playing a true home game for over a month, the Silver and Black returned to the friendly confines of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Sunday afternoon, taking care of business, beating the Denver Broncos 21-14.
With the win, Head Coach Jack Del Rio's squad improves to 5-6, and once again find themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. Sunday was a good day to wear Silver and Black, so here are four, quick observations from the big, Week 12 win.
1. We had some early fireworks
Well, how about that start?
On the Raiders second offensive series of the afternoon, following a rather routine handoff to Marshawn Lynch, things went off the rails, in a hurry.
During said play, Michael Crabtree squared up with Aqib Talib, blocking the Broncos cornerback, eventually taking him to the ground. Talib took objection to the play, and from there, things escalated quickly, with both players exchanging punches, and then both squads getting involved in a team-wide tussle.
By the time the dust had settled, both Crabtree and Talib were ejected from the game, as was the Raiders starting right guard Gabe Jackson.
You never like to see players get tossed, or punches thrown, but that brawl – and subsequent ejections – was a pivotal point in the Week 12 clash between AFC West rivals.
2. The defense enjoyed a strong start to the game
Whether it was the John Pagano effect, the adrenaline pumping through the veins after the aforementioned tussle, or something else altogether, the Raiders defense was a group possessed Sunday afternoon at the OACC.
At the end of the first quarter, the group had allowed just 37 total yards, and when the first half of Sunday's game came to a close, the Oakland defense had surrendered only 54 yards, the fewest a Raiders defense had allowed since December of 2012.
Not only did Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and Co., deliver arguably their best performance of 2017, they did so with big, impact plays all afternoon.
At day's end, the defense tallied four sacks of Lynch, one of Trevor Siemian, as well as one, very crucial interception.
And yes, you read that right, an interception.
3. The streak is over
Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in 2017, the Oakland Raiders have secured an interception.
Not only did NaVorro Bowman's second quarter interception end the streak that had become the subject of so much conversation, but the Raiders offense was able to take advantage of the gift, subsequently scoring on the following possession.
All season, the Silver and Black had been looking for a spark from the defense, and Sunday afternoon, en route to a much-needed win for the Raiders, they got just that.
Like we said above though, that defensive output wasn't a flash in the pan either; John Pagano's group was outstanding all afternoon, and their effort is a big reason why the Silver and Black earned their fifth win of 2017.
4. Todd Downing fed The Beast
Headed into Sunday's big win over the Denver Broncos, there was an argument to be made that Marshawn Lynch was in the midst of his best stretch as an Oakland Raider, and No. 24's Week 12 performance certainly didn't do anything to dispel that idea.
Not only did Lynch once again handle the bulk of the rushing duties – running at a nice clip all day – he also proved to be an asset in the receiving game too, hauling in three passes for 44 yards.
Now, I'm sure that Lynch's busy day had just a little bit to do with the Raiders offense being without its top two targets in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, but regardless, "Beast Mode" answered the call, and his play was a big reason Todd Downing's group found success Sunday afternoon.