Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio
On DE Khalil Mack and the defense's performance:
Head Coach Del Rio:"Well, he was unbelievable. He's just getting better and better, and he's a great young man. I didn't realize he actually had five sacks on the day. I knew he was awesome. I knew he made a big play for the safety, and I knew he went back there. I thought three maybe four, but I didn't realize it was five, so really tremendous effort by Khalil. Defense overall, forcing field goals and allowing us a chance to hang around in that game, and then us as a team coming out in the second half and getting it done. We're really proud of our guys."
On the message at halftime:
Head Coach Del Rio:"The message was, 'I believe. We believe. Let's go out and show that we believe with our effort. We came here to play a full 60 minutes, so let's make sure we give them a full 60 minutes.' And I thought we did that."
On beating the Broncos on the road:
Head Coach Del Rio:"It's very sweet, and it's a victory we needed. The sweetest thing is over this last month of the season, we get everybody in our division, and we want to play our best 60 minutes each week out. So there's a lot of room for improvement, but this is a heck of a win."
On how Mack was able to find success:
Head Coach Del Rio:"Well, any time pass defensive works, there's got to be some kind of coverage that allows the quarterback to hold the ball. If there's somebody that's running free all the time, the ball comes out, he can't get there. Rush and coverage always go hand-in-hand. Whenever somebody's getting sacks it typically means that he's done a good job beating his man and there's been some coverage for the quarterback to have to hold it."
On rushing three at the end of the game:
Head Coach Del Rio:"We felt like we could generate the pressure that we needed and not allow them to get into the throws they wanted to get into."
On attempting the two-point conversion because [LS] Jon Condo was injured:
Head Coach Del Rio:"Yeah, we thought about [using the backup snapper]. We elected to go for two at that time, but things like that come up during the game, and you make a snap judgement. That was our choice to do."
On needing to answer for the decision to go for two:
Head Coach Del Rio:"No, not at all. Anybody that was in the position would understand. You've got to do what you think is best for your football team. In that situation, the advice I was given from our special teams coaches was it would really be best; we have a higher percentage of making it if we go for two. When that's the case, you have to use the information that occurs to you right there for the team."
On if the missed field goal was due to a bad snap:
Head Coach Del Rio:"I'm not worried about it. You guys can look at it any way you want. I can't tell you because I didn't see all the mechanics of the snap-hold-kick that we track. I'll have a better idea tomorrow. But you guys saw instant replay. You have a better idea than I do at this point."
On what changed the momentum in the second half:
Head Coach Del Rio:"No, I think all of it was part of the effort. Those are two huge moments in the game. To go out after halftime, make some adjustments, come out with some fire and go down the field and score; that gave us a huge lift obviously. And then defensively, to really shut it down in the second half and continue to give us opportunities, and for us to be able to possess the ball. Then that big safety and other sacks to close door. It was about effort."
On the offensive play in the first half:
Head Coach Del Rio:"They were playing well, and we weren't playing well offensively at that point."
On the offensive changes made:
Head Coach Del Rio:"We made some adjustments. We always do. We've got a group of guys who work hard, come in and talk through some things, and went out and put together a big drive to get us jumpstarted in the second half."
On holding Denver to four field goals in the first half:
Head Coach Del Rio:"Well, that was huge for us to not allow them in by forcing them to kick field goals down there four different times in the first half. It gave us an opportunity. We come out, start the second half and get a touchdown, and now it's a one-score game. One thing I did talk about, we talked about at halftime, let's play a whole 60 minutes with inspired effort. I thought we did."
On P Marquette King's performance:
Head Coach Del Rio:"Yeah, it was excellent, excellent. Punting was important. Field position is so important in a game that turns into a defensive struggle, so really happy with the way he kicked the ball today."
On Mack's five sacks:
Head Coach Del Rio: **"I can't take credit for what Khalil just did. It wasn't magic words that I gave Khalil. We put him in position, we played good enough coverage to give him a chance to do his thing. Like I said, rush and coverage go hand-in-hand when you play a good pass defense."
On if he was able to limit Broncos QB Brock Osweiler because of familiarity:
Head Coach Del Rio:"I wouldn't look at it that way. I wouldn't say that. He's a good young player, and he's had a great opportunity to step in and lead a good football team. I think he's done a pretty solid job."
On if he said anything to QB Derek Carr after having one completion in the first half:
Head Coach Del Rio:"We'll keep working. We've got a good group of guys. We'll keep working."
Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr
On the Raiders offense compiling -11 yards in the first half: Carr:"That's not the recipe for success for us. It doesn't matter what the situation is; I'm just going to compete. That's what I try to get out of everybody else. I've been through a lot of bad things in life—not just football—a lot of good times, and all you do is you just keep pushing and trust what you believe in. I'm just glad that it turned out a little bit better in the second half."
On if Oakland made adjustments at halftime:
Carr:"Nothing. We just came out and said, 'Look, man, we just have to execute the way we know how.' They're the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL, we knew they were going to make plays— when you play them, you know they're going to make plays. But at the same time, we believe in what we do, also. We've seen it work against some of the best talent in the NFL. We just said, 'Man, we've just got to go out and do what we do. Let's just make sure we don't do that again.' Everyone just came out fired up. There was a lot of energy, which is good. It wasn't flat at halftime in the locker room, and then when we went out onto the field, you still felt that buzz on the sideline, which is a good thing. It means guys believe that we can come back and win."
On Raiders OLB Khalil Mack's five sacks:
Carr:"I'm glad he's on my team, glad they picked him first. I'll take being a second round pick as long as that guy's on my team, that's for sure. I love the guy; he's one of my closest friends ever since we got here together. We believed in one another, we believed that we could help be a small part of turning around our organization. To see him do that, I'm so happy for him because he works his tail off. He really deserves it."
On S Charles Woodson motivating Mack to continue to improve:
Carr:"Oh yeah, Wood's really good at challenging you, as I know. I do see it in Khalil. I remember a couple weeks ago in practice, I looked at him—and we always are hard on each other— so I said jokingly, 'Hey, I guarantee you don't get a sack this period.' The next pass rush I saw was unbelievable. I won't go into the details about what happened, but what he did was just unreal. Everyone knows he has it in him, and he did it against one of the best teams today."
On going for two points following LS Jon Condo's injury:
Carr:"I didn't even know that Condo got hurt. It happened, and then we were going in (to the sideline), so I didn't know. So when we went for two, I was just like, 'Okay, let's just execute this play.' I wish I could give you more, but I didn't even know that he was hurt."
On utilizing his tight ends:
Carr:"You've got (Bronco CBs Chris) Harris (Jr.), (Bradley) Roby and (Aqib) Talib, those guys are three of the best corners in the whole NFL, and they're all on the same team. You're going to have chances to go at them, take shots at them, but you've got to be smart about it. This is my fourth time playing all those guys, so you just know. Coach [Offensive Coordinator Bill] Musgrave did a great job of designing plays to get the tight ends involved and things like that. I thought that he did a great job at that."
On the go-ahead touchdown:
Carr:"(The Broncos) are good players. It's not going to be a 500-yard day when you play these guys. When you can see thing—Coach Musgrave is so smart that he just saw that. A couple of times in certain areas and certain personnels and all these kinds of things where they were playing a certain way, to call that play, have the trust on third down and for us to hit it, that was huge. I'm thankful that he trusted us to do that."
On scoring on the first drive of the second half:
Carr:"It was very important because of how ugly the first half was. And that's what it was. We all agree with that. It didn't look like who we can be and who we are. It was very, very important for us to come down and keep that energy that I was talking about when we were in halftime and when we came out on the sideline—keep that energy up for our team. I think that our tight ends and receivers were all making such big plays, it kind of sparked everyone else."
On the defense keeping the offense in the game:
Carr:"It's a team game. We're going to rely on them heavily. They're going to rely on us heavily for the next however many years we're all together. You can't win these games on one side of the ball. You can't do it. You can't win championships on one side of the ball. At some point we're all going to rely on each other, and they came up big holding them to field goals in the first half. That was huge for us. They deserve all the credit. They came up huge for us today."
**On snapping an eight-game losing streak to Denver:
Carr:"I didn't know that. Any time you can beat a division opponent, it means a lot, especially these guys because they're so good. They're one of the best teams in the AFC, let alone one of the best teams in the NFL. It meant a lot to us, and I'm really just happy to see all the smiles in our locker room because it could have been the other way."
Raiders Defensive End Khalil Mack
On his performance:
Mack:"God is good. I pray for grace and mercy and protection and for him to use me. That was the outcome."
On if he felt he had a matchup advantage:
Mack:"I mean, you feel like you got a pretty good advantage, but at the same time, it was just team defense. Guys [were] working in the back, rushing coverage, working together and that's what you saw."
On his strip-sack of Broncos QB Brock Osweiler for the safety: Mack:"That's what you call determined. Getting the ball, especially back there—when you get it back there, you want to keep it back. We got to take advantage of that field position. To get the ball was big."
On the problems Osweiler presents a defense:
Mack:"He was mobile. He could move out of the pocket. They use him on boots, they use him to get out. I believe there was a third down and short and they stretched him outside, and that was big for them. That would be the difference coming in. As far as holding the ball, he held the ball a lot longer than [Broncos QB] Peyton [Manning] did."
On beating the Broncos: Mack:"I mean, it's the Broncos. You're playing against a great team, great defense, great offense. We were able to steal this one and leave their home with a win. It's big."
On holding Denver to field goals in the first half:
Mack:"We knew that we didn't want them to score. That was what we preached all week, but they were able to get some things over the top, and we wanted to make them pay for it in the second half."
On not allowing an offensive touchdown to Denver in two games this year:
Mack:"That's great. But you want to win these games; that's what it was all about. By any means, we wanted to win this one. This was big for us."
On what Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio locker said during the halftime break: ** Mack:"During the halftime break, he knew we could make that push in the second half. He believed in us. Coach Jack doesn't really let too much get to him. He keeps us calm, keeps us poised. He has a swagger about him, and he knew and believed in us. And knowing that he believed in us pushed us and [drove] us to go out and get it by any means we could."
On his sack totals increasing in recent weeks:
Mack:"You talk about rush and coverage working together. Defensively, it's all about playing team defense. We got [Raiders CB] David Amerson back there covering, [Raiders CB] we got Neiko Thorpe, C-Wood, the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) covering and [Raiders DE] Mario Edwards Jr. in penetration. [Raiders DL] Denico Autry getting penetration. [Raiders DE] Benson Mayowa on the other edge. It's all about team defense and working together, and that's what you saw."
On his performance and improving: Mack:"I mean, I'm trying to get better every week. What you see statistically, it doesn't really determine whether you think is better or not, but at the same time, I'm going to keep working to get better."
On compliments from teammate Charles Woodson:
Mack:"C-Wood is the G.O.A.T., man. We talk often about different things as far as me stepping up in that feature role, and so it's good because you have him and he's the best player I've ever played with, arguably one of the best safeties of all time. It's big when you hear that coming from him. He wants me to step up into that role."
Raiders Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
On the team's first down struggles: Cooper:"We really couldn't move the ball, but they're a great defense and that's a testament to their defense. A bigger testament is our team coming out in the second half and not giving up."
On how it feels to win this game:
Cooper:"It feels great. Coach [Jack Del Rio] came in here at halftime and told us to believe, and I feel like that's what we all did. We believed that we could go out there and score, and that's what we did."
Raiders Long Snapper Jon Condo
On the Raiders' second half performance: Condo:"You look at the tale of the tape, you look at the first half, the time of possession is like 18 to six [minutes] or something like that. I came in and I was telling people: 'Hey, a tale of two halves right now. We're going to come out strongly.' Our offense got the ball, first go, we scored a touchdown right there. ... Our defense played great in the first half – four times, I think in the red zone, four field goals, and I think that gave our defense a lot of life.
On snapping an eight-game losing streak to the Broncos: Condo: **"It's always great to go on the road and win but to win in your division – especially here in Denver with the type of caliber team they have – it's a great team victory. We're just taking it one game at a time, sticking together, playing for one another and trying to win games."
Raiders Linebacker Ben Heeney
On his forced fumble of Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas:
Heeney:"I just went over there, tackled him and knocked the ball out. That's really all it was. It was just a tackle turned into a strip."
On he was trying to force Thomas to fumble on that play:
Heeney:"No, I didn't even really try on that one. I just went up there, made the tackle and I got blessed that the ball came out."
On the play of linebacker Khalil Mack:
Heeney:"We all heard it was six [sacks] so I don't know for sure how many he had [five]. That's crazy. When you have a guy on your team with that kind of productivity in a game, it's going to be hard to lose. As a whole team it was a good win."
Raiders Tight End Mychal Rivera
On the different play fakes during the game:
Rivera:"Once you fake something and they think you're going to do it, they just bite on it just like a fish. Give them the hook and watch it sink."
On the momentum shift from the first to the second half:
Rivera:"That's what they have halftime for. Halftime is to come in as a team, regroup, figure out the mistakes you made and go out in the second half even stronger than you came out in the first."
**On only having one yard of total offense at halftime:
Rivera:"Coming into halftime, we knew that wasn't characteristic of us and that's not who we are. We were confident. [Raiders Head] Coach [Jack] Del Rio had a smile on his face at halftime because he knew what was going to come and he knew we were much better than what we displayed. That's what we did—we came out and answered."
Raiders Tight End Clive Walford
On difference of play in first and second halves: Walford:"Just in the first half, we couldn't really get it together. We were stumbling over ourselves a little bit. But when we came in at halftime, the coaches made some adjustments and executed."
On defeating the first-place Broncos: Walford:"It just tells us, as a team, to continue to believe. We know what we're capable of every time we got out and play. We've just got to find ways to execute and win those close games."
On defense stepping up: Walford:"Football is a game of swings, and when the defense goes out and continues to stop the opposing offense several times like that, that motivates us to go out and keep them off the field, and that's what we did."
On DE Khalil Mack's performance: Walford:"I can't even really put words on it because I played Khalil in high school and I know what kind of player he is. It was awesome."
Raiders Safety Charles Woodson
On the Raiders' first half performance: Woodson:"It was looking rough, but the positive about it was, defensively, we kept them out of the end zone [and] limited those guys to field goals in the first half. Halftime, we came in and [head coach] Jack [Del Rio], he really came in upbeat, he came in smiling and he just asked the team: Did we believe in one another, and everybody screamed out: 'Yeah.' That second half, we really came out and played like we believed in one another, each phase of the game, and each phase made a play to get the win. This team is showing growth. It was fun to be a part of that game today. That was a lot of fun."
On teammate Khalil Mack's performance: Woodson:"For a young guy like him that's just kind of really coming into his own, you're just seeing flashes of what he's going to be. Today is an awesome game, but this guy, throughout his career [if he] stays healthy, the sky is the limit to what he's going to be able to accomplish in this league."
On what great NFL defenders Mack reminds Woodson of: Woodson: **"The way he can get around the corner and bend and get low to the ground – those sort of things – it kind of reminds you of Derrick Thomas. I remember playing Derrick Thomas my first game in the NFL against the Chiefs and he had six sacks against us. Today, Khalil kind of reminded me of that."
On snapping an eight-game losing streak vs. Broncos: Woodson:"It feels great. I was watching the news this morning and I was watching one of the sportscasters saying that this would be an easy win, and it was so smug about it. So it felt good to come in and get a win against the Broncos when I don't believe anybody gave us a shot."
On where this win ranks in his career: Woodson:"This is a big win. We haven't beaten the Broncos in a long time. So to come down today after a tough loss last week with Kansas City and to just battle – we were down 12-0, I believe going into halftime, came out and didn't allow them to score another point in the game. That's a just hats off to everybody on the team for going out and continuing to grind and getting this win."
On the importance of beating the Broncos for head coach Jack Del Rio: Woodson:"I don't care who you are – player or coach – if you've been somewhere for a while and you come back and play them, you want it just a little bit more. He hasn't said anything that I've heard that I can pinpoint, but I know he wanted it."
On approach to Broncos QB Brock Osweiler: Woodson:"We tried to throw as many looks as we could but still keep it simple in what we do. We threw in some different looks and some of it worked, some of it didn't."
On this win sending a message to the AFC West: Woodson:"Well I think we've really been sending a message all year. We've been in games. Last week, we were winning the game in the fourth quarter. I don't think there's anybody out there that doesn't take this team seriously. So, the message has been sent. Now we put this one behind us and we'll get ready for a game next week."