When Duron Harmon picked off Texans QB Davis Mills in the fourth quarter and ran 73 yards to the end zone, he wasn't thinking about sealing the Week 7 win.
His mind, instead, was on his family.
"They're the reason why I'm able to put as much into football as I do," the 31-year-old safety said postgame. "My wife is tremendous. I wanted to give her some love because when I play football during the season, a lot of my time is dedicated to football. She does everything that I need for the family. So, I wanted to find them and let them know, this play was for them as well."
And as for the ball from his first career touchdown?
"That'll go to my mama," he said with a smile. "She had me. That's the first pick-six I got, and I'm thankful for her."
It was also the Raiders' first pick-six since 2019 and served as the cherry on top of a 38-20 victory over the Texans.
"Scoring on defense, obviously when you do that, that can really go a long way," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. "Proud of our guys,"
It wasn't pretty in the first half, as the Raiders defense struggled against a Texans team that jumped out to a 10-3 lead, fueled by rookie running back Dameon Pierce, who the Raiders couldn't seem to find an answer for.
However, the Silver and Black came back out of the locker room focused on the task at hand: limiting big plays. And they did just that, holding the Texans to just a field goal on their first drive of the third quarter and a total of 44 rushing yards in the second half.
The 20 total points scored by the Texans is the least amount of points allowed so far by the Silver and Black on the season.
"You can't always control what happens at the beginning of the game. Only thing we can do is finish strong," Harmon said, "and that's what we did today."
Playing a complete, balanced game has been top of mind for the Raiders since the start of their season, as multiple losses have come down to the last minute. With a new coaching staff getting to know new player, McDaniels noted that the team has been working cohesively on forging an identity in being a "tough" and "physical."
"There's no shortcut to that. You have to do the hard things," the head coach said. "You've got to practice in pads. You've got to do the drill work that's required of you to improve in those areas. You've got to double-team each other. You've got to work hard at it. You can't just say, we're going to be a tough team, and all of a sudden it happens. That's all about work, and you earn that.
"You earn the right to be a tough team with what you do during the week. I think our guys have not flinched at all from the time we started Training Camp and really started talking about that identity and see if we could develop that on our team."