After falling on the road last week in Minneapolis, the Oakland Raiders bounced back in a big way Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium, taking down the Indianapolis Colts 31-24.
With the win, Head Coach Jon Gruden’s group returns to .500, and secures their first road “W” of 2019.
Following the game, the Raiders are set to fly to London in advance of their Week 5 clash with the Chicago Bears, but before the team begins their transcontinental journey abroad, here are six observations from Sunday’s action.
1. The Raiders started fast
Last week, the Raiders were under pressure from the first minute of game action, but that didn’t prove to be the case in their clash against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
After the Colts elected to defer to the second half, Derek Carr and Co., took the ball, and No. 4 marched the offense 75 yards on 10 plays, ultimately finishing the drive with a gorgeous 18-yard touchdown strike to Foster Moreau.
Following the score, Paul Guenther’s defense made sure to keep the good times rolling as they forced the Indianapolis offense into a three-and-out in short order, getting Carr the ball back in no time at all.
As was the theme early in the game, the Raiders took advantage as Trevor Davis – more on him in just a minute – found the end zone, extending the Silver and Black’s lead to 14-0.
It was a lead the Raiders would never surrender, and starting fast is a big reason why they beat a quality Colts team.
2. Speaking of Trevor Davis…
I knew I liked that Trevor Davis, fella.
The Silver and Black traded for the speedy wideout just over a week ago, and after being inactive last week against the Vikings, Davis made his debut in Silver and Black Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium – and what a debut it was.
In addition to handling the punt and kick return duties – a big job in its own right – Davis was also involved in the offensive game plan, finishing his debut as a Raider with two carries for a combined 74 yards.
While his game from whistle to whistle was as dynamic as we expected, arguably his most exciting touch of the afternoon was his first, as he took an end around 60 yards to the house in what looked to my untrained eye as the fastest score of the young season.
Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock brought in Davis to handle the return duties and stretch the field, and I think it’s safe to save both those missions were accomplished in the explosive wide receiver’s first game action as a Raider.
3. The Colts didn’t go quietly
Give the Indianapolis Colts a lot of credit, after being down 14-0 in the blink of an eye at home, the group didn’t waver and really scratched and clawed their way back into contention Sunday afternoon.
It might not have been pretty – the stats surely won’t go down in the record books – but give Jacoby Brissett credit for keeping his team in the ballgame.
Down 21-10 at the half, the Colts – on both sides of the football – fought hard until the end, and Sunday’s game really never felt totally in hand until the final whistle sounded.
Much like the Raiders, the Colts dealt with their fair share of injuries headed into Week 4 but give Frank Reich’s group a ton of credit for hanging tough until the very end.
4. Darren Waller stayed hot
I’m certainly not a “football guy” but I would have thought that headed into Sunday, Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus wanted to make it a priority to take away Darren Waller.
Well, a week after setting a career-high in both receptions and receiving yards, the athletic tight end followed that performance up with another impressive one, hauling in seven catches for a team-high 53 yards.
It has become apparent in the past two weeks that Waller is going to a vital part of Coach Gruden’s offense, and even though I’m sure he received a lot of attention during the game, the athletic tight end made sure he made an imprint on the game.
Waller wasn’t the only tight end to get his against the Colts as Foster Moreau finished his day with three catches for 30 yards and his first career touchdown.
5. The pass rush struggled to get after Jacoby Brissett
For the second week in a row, the Silver and Black’s pass rush struggled to make things difficult for the opposing quarterback.
Now, I know that Jacoby Brissett is a slippery character in the pocket, and that sacks aren’t the ultimate barometer for the health of a defensive line, but nevertheless, for the second week in a row, the Silver and Black were unable to bring down the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.
With one game left before the bye, I’d love to see Brentson Buckner’s group finish next week on a high note in terms of getting after the quarterback.
6. The run game led the way
Headed into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium, we knew that the Colts’ defensive was susceptible to giving up a big day on the ground, and that’s exactly what unfolded during Week 4.
Yes, the Raiders were aided immensely in their quest to run the ball by the early end around from Trevor Davis, but the fact remains, by the time the clock hit triple zeroes, the Silver and Black had amassed a very impressive 188 yards on the ground.
While Derek Carr led the way in the first half, after the halftime break, Josh Jacobs and the ground attack really took over en route to the 31-24 victory.
Coach Gruden wants to run the ball and control the clock, and that’s exactly what his team did Sunday afternoon, and it’s a big reason why the Silver and Black are now flying to England with a win in tow.
Check out photos from the Raiders' regular season matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.