After three weeks of struggling to close out games, the Raiders seemed to find continuity on all sides of the ball this week – with the defense showcasing its power containing nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos en route to a 32-23 division win.
Denzel Perryman and Nate Hobbs got the juice flowing early with resounding tackles and a third-down sack by Hobbs on the Broncos' opening drive. As a captain, it's clear Perryman, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury, is a defensive anchor.
But when the linebacker exited with a concussion, the defense brought Perryman's hard-hitting spirit through the rest of the game – especially cornerback Amik Robertson, who has been called on to step up recently as injuries has occurred throughout the secondary.
"Any challenge that Amik gets, he kind of rises to the occasion," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said postgame. "I think just from his stature, he's always kind of had it against him that maybe he's too this or too that. Amik's tough. Amik's fast. Amik, he'll hit ya. He had a couple big hits today."
But the 24-year-old's biggest play, the one that put Allegiant Stadium on its feet, came in the second quarter on a 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown. It was the Raiders' first defensive touchdown since 2019, and Robertson's first career score, just two weeks after he notched his first career interception.
"It's always emotional; it's always a great feeling. ... It was a very great moment for me," Robertson said postgame.
"He went straight Madden mode," Maxx Crosby added. "He just found a way."
Robertson wasn't the only highlight reel on defense, as Crosby recorded two sacks, bringing his total through four weeks to 4.0 – already half of last year's total.
"All we had to do was cover, do our job, and we knew Maxx would get home," Robertson said.
Get home he did. Crosby may have taken pointers from his teammate Chandler Jones, who has sacked Russell Wilson 16.5 times over their parallel 11-year careers. McDaniels noted that Maxx is never lacking in energy and the willingness to grow.
"He's worked so hard in every phase. His leadership has been great, his effort, his presence and then obviously, his play," the head coach said. "These are the situations where your back's against the wall a little bit, and you want to try to come out here and give your best effort, get your first W.
"I thought Maxx had a great attitude all week long and then it carried over today. I thought he made some big stops in the running game, he ran some plays down from behind and then obviously, he got some pressure on the quarterback and got him to the ground a couple of times. That's Maxx. It doesn't surprise that he plays like that, with that kind of energy and effort. He made some really critical plays for us."
But even with maximum defensive effort, the Broncos weren't deterred, cutting the lead to two midway through the fourth quarter. The Raiders offense responded by marching down the field, driven by Josh Jacobs pounding the ground to reach the end zone for the second time.
Now, the defense knew it was time to close it out. At the two-minute warning, the Raiders kept Russell Wilson from completing a pass on three different attempts, sealing the victory for Las Vegas.
"The first couple weeks, I feel like we just weren't gelling as a total team. We've been this close every time," Crosby said. "Today, it still wasn't perfect, but it was better, and we helped each other out. That's really all we can do. I'm just proud of the guys. I know they played their ass off today."
View photos from the Raiders' Week 4 matchup against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium.