It wasn’t easy, but the Oakland Raiders are now 5-4 after they defeated the division rival Los Angeles Chargers 26-24 Thursday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
On the shoulders of an absolutely dominant outing from Erik Harris, and some timely offense from Derek Carr and the boys, the Silver and Black are now over .500, and will have over a week to get healthy before welcoming in the Cincinnati Bengals on November 17.
“Victory Friday” will be in full swing tomorrow, but before we start the celebration, let’s look back at six observations from the team’s big Thursday night.
1. Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown were back
After all the speculation the past several days, both Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown strapped on the pads and went to work against the Bolts on primetime.
And while their return ironically coincided with a rough first half for the Raider’s offense – more on that in a bit – it was an up and down outing for the Raiders’ offensive line, as they surrendered three sacks to an ultra-talented Los Angeles defensive line.
We’ve waited and waited to see the Raiders’ offensive line at full strength, and while the offense didn’t get rocking until later in the ballgame, it was a welcome sight to see the big fellas go to work together.
2. Erik “primetime” Harris
I don’t even think the phrase “have a day” does justice to what Erik Harris did against the Chargers Thursday night.
Not only did he pick off Philip Rivers on the first two series of the evening, he took one of those picks back to the house, securing second pick-six of 2019, and to be fair, he should have had a third takeaway.
Now with three interceptions on the year, Harris has eclipsed his previous career-high of two, and while picking off any quarterback twice in a ballgame is an impressive feat, throw in the fact that No. 25 did it against a top-tier quarterback like Rivers, and it becomes all the more worthy of accolades.
Following Harris’ two picks, the Silver and Black owned a 10-0 lead, and while the Bolts eventually surged back to take the lead, Derek Carr led a masterful game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to seal the team's fifth win of 2019.
3. Philip Rivers did Philip Rivers things
Something about seeing the Silver and Black must stuck in the craw of the Chargers’ starting quarterback, because, man, No. 17 is a constant thorn in the side of the Raiders.
Much like the Oakland offense, Rivers didn’t really find a rhythm until later in the ballgame, but he showed that no matter what the score is, a team led by the eight-time Pro Bowler is a team that can never be counted out.
That said, Paul Guenther’s defense more than appreciated Rivers’ two interceptions, so as they say, Philip giveth, and Philip also taketh away.
In total, Rivers finished with 207 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.
4. Maxx Crosby was mad
The team’s fourth-round pick in this year’s draft has been an absolute revelation in his first year in Silver and Black.
Not only has Crosby played in all nine games in his rookie campaign, he’s gotten better week after week, and has slowly but surely become one of the Raiders’ best edge rushers.
Crosby was wound up from the first whistle, as he was an absolute menace to Philip Rivers, not only sacking him on the first series of the evening but getting another good lick on No. 17 later in said series.
In total, Crosby finished his evening with a half sack and three tackles.
Crosby might have started his career as a pro under the radar, but after what he’s done the past couple of weeks, that will certainly no longer be the case.
The former Eastern Michigan Eagle is doing exactly what you want any rookie to do – he’s getting better and better each week, and the man is turning himself into a legitimate threat coming off the edge.
5. The Raiders offense struggled to get rolling early
I’ll say this, it’s a good thing that Erik Harris decided to channel the spirit of Deion Sanders, because the Silver and Black’s offense took a while to get cooking.
Blame it on the short week, the fact that they didn’t see a ton of action through the first quarter and change, but Derek Carr and Co., didn’t really get cooking until closer to halftime.
Think about this; over the past few weeks, the Raiders dominating the line of scrimmage has become the norm, but it took a while for the group to really find their footing Thursday night against LA.
But, that said, even though it wasn’t the prettiest effort the offense put together in ’19, Car and his pals did enough to go home with a win.
Also, big shoutout to Tyrell Williams for having a few nice receptions against his old team, as well as Josh Jacobs for the game-winning score.
6. Melvin Gordon got his
It’s been quite an interesting year for Mr. Gordon, but now that he’s firmly back in the mix on the Chargers’ offense, the Pro Bowl back looks good…. Really good.
To say that Gordon was a problem for the Silver and Black Thursday evening would be a bit of an understatement; before all was said and done, Gordon had gone over 100 yards rushing, and also had a big reception under his belt as well.
Entering Thursday’s action, Guenther’s defense had by and large done a really nice job of limiting the opposition’s ground attack, but that wasn’t the case Thursday against the Chargers.
Give credit where it’s due though; Gordon is a beast, and he showed as much on Thursday Night Football.
Take a look at photos from the Raiders' Week 10 home game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.