MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Rarely can a recreation be actually thought-about “must-win” in Week 9, however that’s the place the Oakland Raiders discovered themselves heading into Sunday’s recreation in opposition to the Dolphins.
And whereas it was hardly a complete effort, the Raiders did precisely what they wanted to do Sunday — they received.
Their reward for surviving and advancing one other week?
Seven extra weeks of those self same sorts of do-or-die stakes.
Like our Oakland Raiders Facebook web page for extra Raiders information, commentary and dialog.
The Raiders’ path to make the playoffs is treacherous — they’ve video games in opposition to the Patriots, Cowboys, Eagles, and their three division opponents down the stretch with subsequent to no margin for error — however at Four-5, the Raiders are 1.5 video games out of a Wild Card spot and two video games again within the AFC West. And in the event that they get to 9 or 10 wins in opposition to that hellacious schedule, they’ll have definitely earned a playoff spot.
While Sunday evening’s recreation in opposition to the Dolphins was hardly an instance of the Raiders enjoying at their finest, the Raiders, once more, bought the job achieved. Perhaps the need to win — the truth that Sunday’s recreation was a bonafide must-win contest — factored into the outcome.
Perhaps this group that’s made underachievement the hallmark of its season wanted a little bit of desperation to unlock its potential.
Maybe a little bit of concern is what this group wanted all alongside.
Derek Carr appears to suppose so.
“It actually comes right down to Wednesdays and Thursdays, the way in which we follow. Those are our full-speed days. You must convey it, you must be intense, you must get after one another, a bit of bit. It needs to be a bit of uncomfortable.
“Guys were a little chippy this week, myself included. A little edgy. It wasn’t in a bad way — if it was, coach would tell us, and sure enough, he came up to me a few times,” Carr stated. “We’ve seen what we did this week, when practice worked. We need to keep that up, that same intensity, that same locked-in mindset.”
We can argue why it took the Raiders eight weeks to determine that they wanted to up their depth stage in follow, and problem downfield with their “mismatch creator” tight finish (one thing they stated within the preseason they had been so excited to do however have didn’t actualize for a lot of the 12 months), and really decide to the run recreation to put on down an opposing protection.
And we are able to debate if the Raiders can maintain any of the nice issues they did Sunday, or if any of these issues Oakland did in opposition to Miami will really work in opposition to competent NFL groups (the Dolphins are a group clearly in a tailspin).
The reality of the matter is that they did the job Sunday, and regardless of how sloppy or ugly the win over the Dolphins may need been, model factors don’t present up within the standings.
And in these standings, the Raiders are in placing distance of a playoff spot.
Even with all the things that’s gone flawed this season, all the things the Raiders need continues to be in entrance of them.
And now this group is aware of — proper or flawed — that it may well win a must-win highway recreation in opposition to a playoff-caliber group (it’s clearly a low bar this 12 months). It is aware of it may well attain a bit deeper and discover an additional half-gear to shut out a contest. It discovered its “mojo”.
It’s that “mojo”, that perception, that might show to be a catalyst for the following seven video games, as long as the group additionally spends its bye week correcting the prodigious errors it displayed Sunday.
(Deep down, everyone knows Tom Brady will tear aside this Raiders’ secondary in the event that they don’t discover a new plan of badault over the following 13 days.)
For full Oakland Raiders protection comply with us on Flipboard.
Just because it’s rather a lot simpler to play arduous when it’s a do-or-die recreation, it’s rather a lot simpler to repair your faults once you’re in temper.
The Raiders aren’t the group we thought they’d be within the preseason — this offense isn’t as prolific as so many anticipated and this bend-but-don’t-break protection isn’t proving to be all that pliable — however there’s worth in untapped potential.
This Raiders squad might nonetheless turn out to be the high-flying, double-digit win group so many anticipated them to be. The finest would possibly — simply would possibly — be but to return for the Raiders within the 2017 season.