The Raiders continue to hold their heads high following back-to-back home wins.
The team followed up an exceptional showing against the Giants with a tough, hard-fought victory over the New York Jets. It was a defensive juggernaut between the both teams, with three turnovers and five sacks combined on the night. The Silver and Black found a way to play complementary football – with two rookies, physical blocking and smart defense paving the way.
Let's break down three key plays, all in the last 16 minutes of regulation, that led the Raiders to another primetime victory.
Game tied 9-9
Third quarter, 42 seconds
LV 2-and-10 at the LV 47
You can thank Greg Van Roten for his role in the most explosive run play of the game.
While the Raiders offense had their difficulties combatting a stout Jets front seven, Josh Jacobs got things rolling in the second half. In what had been a tough, gritty game to that point, the defense forced a punt on five straight Jets possessions and the offense was in dire need of getting in scoring position.
The Silver and Black put the ball in the hands of their All-Pro running back to create plays as the intensity in the game increased. His biggest play of the day came with 42 seconds left in the third quarter.
Jacobs came off the line of scrimmage appearing as if he was going to run outside off right tackle Thayer Munford Jr. However, he countered the run back inside, finding a gap between Munford and Greg Van Roten. The two offensive linemen double-teamed Jets' Tanzel Smart on a down block. Van Roten used some big boy speed to come off the block and get a hold of linebacker C.J. Mosley, giving Jacobs nothing but open field.
"We were in the huddle early there, Greg told me – he said, 'Man, look, they want you to bounce outside, keep it inside. Just trust it,'" Jacobs said. "I went, 'OK, I've got you.' Literally, that next play, we hit a big one. So, that was really him."
Munford and Van Roten received the team's two highest offensive grades from Pro Football Focus – a 85.8 run blocking grade for Munford and an 86.8 pass blocking grade for Van Roten. This rush also set the Raiders up for the next key play to occur.
Raiders go up 16-9
Fourth quarter, 14:17
LV 3rd-and-4 at the NYJ 7
Standing at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Michael Mayer was bound to "Moss" somebody at some point.
He came up big when the Raiders needed it the most, entering the final stages of the game. Neither team had scored a touchdown yet. In the red zone for the first time that day, the Silver and Black didn't want to settle for another three points.
On this third-down play in Jets territory, the poise and awareness of Aidan O'Connell was on full display. After the snap, he faked a hand-off to Jacobs, who became blanketed in coverage by Quincy Williams. O'Connell scanned the field from left to right looking for an open receiver to no avail.
"It was almost a little bit of a broken play," said Mayer. "I went under Jakobi [Meyers], I was supposed to over Jakobi. A little bit of a mixup there."
O'Connell flushed out of the pocket to the right and found Mayer running "a pylon route" to the back of the end zone. While the rookie tight end had a shimmer of space breaking open, safety Jordan Whitehead was still toe-for-toe with him. The rookie quarterback placed the ball right where it needed to be for Mayer to jump over a 5-foot-10 Whitehead for his first NFL career touchdown.
"He did an awesome job making an awesome play," O'Connell said. "I kind of just threw it up and let him be a football player and he made an awesome play. It was great protection again by the offensive line too. I held onto the ball there even still a little bit too long, and so kudos to the guys around me for making plays."
The chemistry between O'Connell and Mayer has been something brewing since arriving to rookie minicamp. On the only touchdown play of the game, No. 87 was elated to see the all the practice reps with his quarterback come to fruition on the national stage.
"[W]e practice fades, we practice high balls, we practice going up to get the ball and high pointing it all the time," said Mayer. "We talk about it all the time too. ... I saw Aidan, he kind of rolled out a little bit. It was a beautiful throw."
Raiders lead 16-12
Fourth quarter, 1:22
NYJ 2nd-and-8 at the LV 20
The Raiders' starting linebackers helped seal the deal in clutch time.
Following a rare Josh Jacobs fumble, the Jets offense was driving down the field in hopes of regaining the lead late in regulation. Aside from fumbling on a Malcolm Koonce sack, quarterback Zach Wilson had played a fairly clean football game. Not to mention he was his team's rushing yard leader for the day.
As the Jets entered the red zone, Wilson went 8-of-10 for 56 passing yards on the drive. In shotgun formation, Wilson scanned the middle of the field looking for a first down. It seemed Allen Lazard was his first read on the play, expecting him to run a curl route. Divine Deablo misdirected Lazard on his route, throwing off Wilson's timing on the throw. Robert Spillane had clear vision of the ball coming in their general direction. He made a break on the ball in perfect timing, coming away with his third interception of the season and keeping points off the board.
"I saw Zach Wilson drop back, saw a little route concept into the boundary," said Spillane. "Divine Deablo did a great job making them double-pump on the throw, which gave me time to get there. Just good team defense."
While Spillane gave credit to Deablo for helping him make the play, Deablo downplayed his contribution in order to praise his teammate.
"In practice, we really focus on re-routing receivers," Deablo said. "All I did was re-route [Lazard], threw the timing off a little bit and Spill made the play. I think it's awesome, the whole team is energetic – the defense for sure. We knew we had to win the game at the end and we did. I'm really proud of the guys."
Former linebackers coach turned Interim Head Coach Antonio Pierce also gave his flowers to Spillane for the role he played in the win and on the team as a leader.
"[Obviously that was a hell of a play by him," Pierce said Monday morning. "That's film study. That's something we've been talking about even before I got this position. Matt Feeney did an excellent job, who's stepped in as a linebacker coach and just kept preaching that and prepping that for us in practice."
"But you have your superstars in the Maxx Crosbys of the world, but then you have that lunch pail guy. And this guy just loves ball, man." Pierce added of Spillane. "You can see it on his face. You can see the energy and excitement he brings to our team."
View the best photos from the Raiders' Week 10 matchup against the New York Jets at Allegiant Stadium.