At the end of a week to forget, the Las Vegas Raiders remembered how to win.
Derek Carr passed for 341 yards and two touchdowns, running back Kenyan Drake scored twice, while the defense contributed four turnovers and five sacks in a 34-24 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Empower Field Mile High in Denver.
Rich Bisaccia, promoted from special teams coordinator last Monday after Coach Jon Gruden resigned after his controversial emails were made public, earned the win in his first game ever as a head coach.
“Extremely excited with the effort we played with today,” Bisaccia said after the game. “Great continuity on the offensive staff. Great continuity on the defensive staff. We haven’t had a problem with effort at all. They just came together today, they put it all together. We were plus four on turnovers and good position in the kicking game. I thought we did a great job with drives. First drive of the first half. First drive of the second half.
“The best part for me was to get on the grass. The worst part for me was figuring out the headset. Oh, there’s a button on there and I have to press it if I want to talk. Back in the day when I wore a headset set we didn’t have all those buttons.”
The Raiders (4-2) broke a two-game losing streak and moved back into a tie for the AFC West lead with the Los Angeles Chargers (4-2), who were routed, 34-6, by the Baltimore Ravens, a team the Silver and Black beat earlier this season.
After both teams scored on their initial possessions for the first time this season, the score was tied, 7-7; the Raiders took charge by outscoring the Broncos (3-3) by 24-3 and held a 31-10 after three quarters.
Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 35-of-49 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns. He threw three interceptions, hit scoring passes of 12 yards to wide receiver Courtland Sutton and four yards to tight end Noah Fant in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders were playing soft on defense with the game all but decided, as they held Bridgewater to 12-of-17 for 99 yards in the first half.
Carr completed 13-of-19 for 210 yards in the first two quarters, including touchdown passes of 48 yards to Henry Ruggs to open the scoring and 31 yards to Drake, who added an 18-yard scoring run in the third quarter to make it 24-7.
“Proud of where we’re at and glad for our organization to get a win,” Carr said. “We needed a win badly this week. Sometimes when you get punched in the gut it’s hard to bounce back but we were able to do it.
“Maxx (Crosby) is still here. Alec (Ingold), Darren (Waller), Josh (Jacobs), better stop before I forget, but still have our room of guys, our leaders, right? More now than ever we had to step up and be a voice.
“Obviously we had our things going on. Again there will be a time for the emotions and all of that but now is not the time. If anything, what it did was for sure brought us closer.”
Daniel Carlson, who had made 27 consecutive field goals inside the 50 but missed from 43 when the ball hit the right upright and bounced away, did make kicks of 50 and 30 yards. Josh Jacobs added a three-yard touchdown run as the Raiders built their lead to a virtually insurmountable 34-17 with 7:57 left in the game.
The Raiders also provided Carr and the passing game with a bit of a ground attack, as Jacobs gained 53 yards on 16 carries and Drake had 34 yards on four attempts, with both running for touchdowns. Drake also caught two passes for 39 yards, and Jacobs had a 29-yard reception.
Tight end Darren Waller led the Raiders with five catches for 59 yards, while Ruggs had three catches for 97, including a 40-yarder to the Denver four-yard-line to set up Jacobs’ touchdown, Hunter Renfrow had three catches for 36 yards. Bryan Edwards added two for 67, including a 51-yarder to set up Carlson’s field goal in the fourth quarter.
Linebacker Cory Littleton and linebacker Denzel Perryman led the Raiders with 11 combined tackles apiece. Cornerback Nate Hobbs added 10, safety Johnathan Abram had nine, and defensive end Maxx Crosby collected six tackles, three sacks, and five quarterback hits.
“In this business there’s always crazy things going on, especially with the Raiders,” Crosby said. “There’s no mistake about it. Ever since I got here there’s always things going on. These guys we have in this building are resilient, from the coaching staff to the players to the trainers, everybody has a positive outlook on this organization.
“Everyone’s talking, ‘What are the Raiders going to do? Is the season over?’ We’ve heard all of it. For us to have a great week of practice and go out there and play good football, it’s a testament to all these guys in the locker room.”
In his second game with the Raiders, Abram, safety Tre’von Moehrig and cornerback Brandon Facyson, while Perryman also recovered a fumble.
Punter A.J. Cole kept the Broncos starting deep in their territory by averaging 57.0 yards on four punts, including a career-long 71-yarder.
The Raiders hope to keep it going under Bisaccia when they return home next Sunday to play the Philadelphia Eagles at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in the final game before their bye week.
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