The Las Vegas Raiders were struck with a ton of adversity this week when head coach Jon Gruden was forced to resign. Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was tasked with taking over as head coach despite not having any experience at the position. Based on Sunday’s performance against the Denver Broncos, it was the best decision the Raiders could’ve made.
The team came out and played strong, winning 34-24 over the AFC West rival. Bisaccia isn’t as colorful as Gruden but he did praise his team for battling through the adversity.
“Extremely excited with the effort we played today,” Bisaccia said after the game.
The Raiders had a good team before Gruden stepped down and that hasn’t changed. At 4-2, they are tied for the lead in the AFC West with the Los Angeles Chargers. This team clearly isn’t going to go down without a fight and are legit contenders. The NFL has been put on notice. The Raiders dominated a Broncos team that started the season 3-0. They aren’t an elite team but it’s no small feat that Las Vegas dominated them. There’s still a lot of season that needs to be played but the Raiders could be one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
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Henry Ruggs Sounds off on Big Win
A big reason the Raiders won is due to the continued growth from wide receiver Henry Ruggs. He’s proving to be much more than just a speed threat with some impressive catches. He finished Sunday’s game with three catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. He kickstarted the Raiders early with a 48-yard touchdown reception on the first drive. Ruggs was happy to give the team a spark.
“We just know what we got to do. Week in and week out, we have to start fast and it hasn’t happened,” Ruggs said. “We just needed somebody to step up give us that spark and luckily that’s what I did.”
It would’ve been very easy for the Raiders to come out flat after the tough week but that wasn’t the case at all. Even without Gruden, Ruggs knows that his team is capable of winning games.
“We’re still the same team, but the biggest thing is the brotherhood,” he said. “We’re all together and we all know the goal and no matter what, we’re all on the same page now. We’re a good football team and we’re going to continue to be a good football team.”
Can Raiders Sustain Success?
Fortunately for Bisaccia, he’s starting his tenure as the Raiders head coach with some winnable games. The team faces the Philadelphia Eagles next week and then the New York Giants the following week. Those two teams have a combined record of 3-9. The Raiders should improve to 6-2 after those games.
However, the team can’t start getting overconfident now. They came out with a lot of focus and determination after their head coach was forced out. It will be difficult to maintain that level of motivation throughout the entire season. If Bisaccia can keep the Raiders focused, the playoffs aren’t out of the question.
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