The Raiders' Week 11 win over the Denver Broncos should have bolstered the team's confidence in making a late-season turnaround. The momentum created from the come-from-behind victory should restore the team's confidence in Josh McDaniels' philosophy and how the team must prepare and perform to win games.
Given some time to review and reflect on the team's win in Denver, here are some thoughts and observations from a former NFL scout…
Simplicity pays off
To end a three-game losing streak, Josh McDaniels put the ball in the hands of his best players and let them go to work to help the Raiders overcome a late-game deficit on the road. Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams put the offense on their backs as the leaders of a unit that flashes explosive potential. Jacobs and Adams, in particular, combined for 300-plus scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on 34 total touches.
Although it is sensible to put the ball in the hands of the team's best players to win games, it is hard to resist the urge to make the call sheet about play designs that showcase a playcaller's creativity and ingenuity. McDaniels put any of that on the backburner by making it a priority to build the game plan around No. 28 and No. 17.
With "take over the game" capabilities, Jacobs and Adams are blue-chip players who command attention but also deliver in key moments. By entrusting the duo to put the offense on their backs, McDaniels simplified the game by putting the pressure on his best players to deliver in the clutch. While he had a few clever tactics to put his stars in prime positions to make plays, the goal was to put the ball in the hands of his best players to give them a chance to make a significant impact on the game.
The Raiders could continue to follow this simplistic premise to enable their blue chips to make a bigger mark on the game.
Davante Adams is still No. 1
It has been trendy to anoint the hottest pass catcher of the week as the undisputed WR1 of the league, but it is hard to take Adams' crown as the top wideout in the game. The perennial All-Pro topped the 100-yard mark for the third straight game (and the sixth time this season) while going up against one of the best defenses in football.
Despite facing an elite cornerback (Patrick Surtain II) and a variety of double coverage tactics, Adams finished with seven catches, 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 35-yard walk-off score on an electrifying corner route that left his defender spinning.
From his superb route-running skills to his sticky hands and exceptional ball skills, the veteran remains an unstoppable force on the perimeter as a No. 1 receiver. Adams gets open against any coverage or defensive tactic and shows no signs of slowing down as a playmaker.
Maxx Crosby steps up his game again
It is not a secret that No. 98 is the Raiders' top defender and one of the best ballers in the league, but the fourth-year pro issued a reminder to the football world with his spectacular performance against the Broncos.
Crosby notched six tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and blocked a field goal attempt while displaying his trademark energy, enthusiasm and effort. The veteran defender kept the Raiders in the game with a back-to-back sequence of disruptive plays that held the game within three points heading into halftime.
Crosby punched the ball out of Melvin Gordon's hands at the one-yard line (recovered by the Broncos at the seven-yard line) and followed it up with a block on a 25-yard field goal attempt. The block is the third of his career and the latest highlight for a player who brings his best every week.
As a pass rusher, Crosby came up with a pair of second-half sacks to keep the game within striking distance on the road. The veteran flashed the ability to win with strength and power utilizing a push-pull maneuver to sack Russell Wilson on a third-down sack. And later notched a sack on an electric spin move that overwhelmed the heavy-footed right tackle Cameron Fleming.
With Crosby producing a handful of splash plays that ended drives and squashed scoring opportunities, the veteran defender helped the team snap a three-game losing streak.
View the best photos from the Raiders' Week 11 victory against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.