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'Relentless' Raiders defense delivers standout performance against Broncos





Those are the words Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia used to describe the Raiders defense's performance in an electric 17-13 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

It was one of Gus Bradley & Co.'s best defensive efforts this season, as the Silver and Black allowed just 18 rushing yards to the league's ninth-best rushing attack and held their AFC West rivals to 1-of-10 on third down. The last time the Broncos were held to under 20 rushing yards was back in 2016 by the Tennessee Titans.

Before Sunday, the Raiders defense was ranked 25th in the league against the run and were allowing an average 122.7 yards per game. But today when they stepped on the field, they completely turned it around.

"Our mentality is 1-0. That's what it's been the last couple weeks," Maxx Crosby said postgame. "Just seeing how the guys have been responding has been awesome. On the D-line, we've just been super locked in on not making mistakes.

"Ever since the Kansas City game, we were jumping offsides, having penalties. We just can't have that. We can't be having penalties this time of the year. We've just got to play clean, good football, and that's what we did today."

On top of keeping the run under control, the defensive line burst through multiple times to get to quarterback Drew Lock.

Crosby, on the heels of a Pro Bowl selection, showed why those around the league believe he's one of the best at the position with the pressures, sack and two tackles he notched on the day. Quinton Jefferson also notched a pivotal sack in the fourth quarter that stopped the Broncos on a third-and-10 and gave the Raiders the ball to bring an end to the game and a win to their record.

"He plays like he thinks," Bisaccia said of Crosby. "He practices like he thinks. His meetings are like he thinks. I challenge anyone to find a play this year that he's taken off in a game.

"It certainly speaks to his conditioning, it certainly speaks to his mindset and it certainly speaks to the man that he's become. He's a leader not only by things that he says, but most certainly by the power of example."

The Silver and Black also got a key piece of its defense back in Denzel Perryman – who missed the past two games with an ankle injury – and his impact was felt right away as he made the first tackle of the day and added four more to that throughout the game.

"He's a special cat, man. The way he plays, you can tell it matters to him," Crosby said. "The way he hits people, I would not want to be hit by that man. I don't care how small he is, he puts a dent in everybody. He's just a different type of player. He's relentless, he brings leadership and he's a guy you can trust back there."

However, Perryman wasn't the Raiders' leading tackler for once. That credit went to cornerback Desmond Trufant in his first start for the team among injuries at the position. Trufant totaled seven tackles on the day and stepped up when needed, a common thread in Las Vegas' defense.

"They've done a great job of stopping the run and that's where it starts. It starts from the inside out," Hunter Renfrow said. "It gives you a lot of confidence because you don't have to be perfect. You know that the defense is going to have your back no matter what. Great teams find a way to feed off each other, and our defense has given us that."

While it was an outstanding day to be a player on the Raiders defense, the biggest success Crosby felt they found was the commitment to the game in all phases of the game.

"If you don't play with effort, you're not going to be able to do what you want to do out there."

View photos from the Raiders' Week 16 matchup against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium.

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