The Raiders enjoyed their first "Victory Friday" of the season today after notching their first win of 2014 last night in a 24-20 effort over the Kanas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.
Following the game, after Interim Head Coach Tony Sparano was done addressing the team, LT Donald Penn presented Coach Sparano a game ball after his first win as the leader of the Silver and Black.
"This is a great win to get for Tony [Sparano]," said G Austin Howard. "Seeing him excited and able to get that first win as the head coach really meant a lot to us, especially as an O-line."
Coach Sparano said that although he's received game balls throughout his career, last night's may be the most special.
"I have gotten some game balls before, but quite honestly, probably none more meaningful than that one," he said. "I say that because of what this team has been through and how far we've had to come. How much the guys have stayed together in that locker room. I really appreciated it last night. It was nice, but really they're the ones that deserve the game balls and our owner [Mark Davis], and our GM [Reggie McKenzie], those people and all those fans that were out there last night."
In a thrilling win like Thursday night's it's easy to focus on the players like Derek Carr and Justin Tuck who made big plays to seal the victory, but Coach Sparano made sure to mention some of the unsung heroes from the game that had a positive impact on the outcome, in particular Larry Asante and Brandian Ross.
Asante finished the game with seven combined tackles and a forced fumble, and Coach Sparano was happy with the effort he has brought since his return to the team.
"Larry, really; I can't say enough good things about Larry," Coach Sparano said. "He made a lot of critical tackles and I think he brings a lot of physicalness, a little bit more physicalness back there, but he made some really big plays, open-field plays that could have went for bigger plays in the game and he showed up and did a good job there."
Brandian Ross, with his five combined tackles and one pass defensed, provided solid coverage in the slot and was another player who drew the praise of Coach Sparano on Friday.
"I thought Brandian Ross was outstanding yesterday," he said. "For the amount of work that he took in the slot during the week, and again, it wasn't a fast-paced week, it was a slow week that way as far as practice goes, the amount of work he had to take in the slot and the way he played last night was really, really good."
After playing three games in 15 days, the Raiders will now have the weekend off to recover before they return to work on Monday to begin their on-field preparation for their Week 13 match-up with the St. Louis Rams.