Another wild and woolly division rumble, another tale of two halves. On the one hand, the Raiders ended up with -12 offensive yards for the first half; on the other hand, they rebounded well in the second half, thanks to some much-needed help from special teams and Khalil Mack.
Mack has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with, and paired up perfectly with Aldon Smith earlier in the season. But Mack proved he can do it by himself just fine, sacking Brock Osweiler five times, plowing through Denver’s offensive line with ease.
This matchup turned out to be another one of those where one side of the team — in this case, the defense — performed well, while the offense mucked it up most of the day. In this case, that’s understandable, as Denver’s top-rated defense is turning out to be one of the all-time great lineups. And Amari Cooper’s mini-slump continues, in the midst of a season where he is still a legitimate contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year. But the bottom line is that this team is finally on the right track, that they’re not letting a lousy first half undermine them in the second half, that they can compete with any other team and play a full 60.
Each of the final three games (Green Bay, San Diego, and Kansas City) presents opportunities for the Raiders to show up in all facets, and prove that they can be an elite team in the coming seasons. They still need another solid free agency period and draft in the coming off-season, but Oakland continues to show that they’re moving in the right direction.