DENVER (AP) — Jon Gruden’s red-faced resignation didn’t unravel the Las Vegas Raiders. It galvanized them.
“It for sure brought us closer,” Derek Carr said after the Raiders’ 34-24 thrashing of the bewildered Denver Broncos on Sunday.
“We needed a win bad this week,” Carr said. “Sometimes when you get punched in the gut it’s hard to bounce back, but we were able to do it.”
Carr sliced up the Denver defense for 341 yards and two touchdowns, Maxx Crosby collected three sacks and the Raiders started the post-Gruden era by snapping a two-game skid and moving into a tie atop the AFC West.
The Raiders (4-2) gave longtime special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia a win in his debut as interim head coach and offensive coordinator Greg Olson was masterful in his first play-calling duties for Las Vegas since Carr’s rookie season in 2014.
“The best part for me was to get on the grass,” Bisaccia said. “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,” Bisaccia explained. “Back in the day when I wore a headset set we didn’t have all those buttons.”
The Raiders began by ending an 11-game streak without a score on their opening drive. They never let up, burning the Broncos’ beleaguered secondary over and over.
“Simply put, we got our butts whooped,” Broncos safety Justin Simmons said after Denver allowed seven pass plays of at least 25 yards.
Denver’s deficient offense couldn’t keep pace with the resilient Raiders. Teddy Bridgewater threw a season-high three interceptions and lost a fumble, negating his 334 yards passing and three TDs. He was hit 17 times and sacked five times.
The Broncos (3-3) lost their third consecutive game, but the other defeats came at the hands of Ravens and Steelers and their veteran head coaches John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin.