Head Coach Jack Del Rio
The wait is over.
After a 14-year wait the Oakland Raiders will be returning to the playoffs once again in 2016. At 11-3, the Silver and Black officially clinched a spot in the playoffs after defeating the San Diego Chargers 19-16.
Throughout the course of the game the Raiders were able to unleash some big plays offensively via quarterback Derek Carr and running back Latavius Murray.
The defense contributed as well and did a nice job of limiting the Chargers from getting much of anything going on offense in the second half. The team was able to pressure quarterback Philip Rivers in the pocket for a majority of the afternoon and prevent the Bolts from capitalizing on third down conversions. At a crucial point in the game, the Raiders defense was also able to force a fumble and recover it, which resulted in a game-tying field goal.
Following a Sebastian Janikowski field goal to give the Silver and Black a three-point lead, the Raiders were able to close out the game with an interception off of Rivers courtesy of veteran safety Reggie Nelson.
Prior to the start of the 2016 campaign, NFL analysts and critics around the league viewed the Raiders as a promising young team on the rise, and in just his second season as a Raider, Head Coach Jack Del Rio has led the Silver and Black back to the postseason.
In his second year as the team's commander-in-chief, Del Rio has preached the "Return to Greatness" and has helped the team transition from a talented bunch of individuals understanding how to compete to a united group of men learning how to win. The Raiders are focused on growing and maturing one day at a time, but let's take a look at some notable stats from the team's post season history.
In the playoffs, the Raiders have an all-time record of 25-18 and have made the playoffs in 21 years of the team's existence. The Silver and Black have made the journey to the Super Bowl five times (Super Bowls II, XI, XV, XVIII, and XXXVII), with an overall record of 3-2 and are the only team to win the Super Bowl as a Wild Card (1980).
It's clear that this team is determined to win, and while the ultimate goal is to eventually make it to a Super Bowl, the Raiders are still focused on trying to win the AFC West although they've already secured a playoff spot. Del Rio has emphasized the team's goal of winning the division and will continue to take things a week at a time.
The remaining games on the schedule feature a Christmas Eve matchup with the Indianapolis Colts at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and a road game against division rival Denver Broncos on New Year's Day. The team is certainly excited about returning to the playoffs, but has the big picture in mind and will continue to improve as a unit.
Meanwhile, get excited Raider Nation because for the first time in 14 years the Oakland Raiders are back in the playoffs.