4 Raiders takeaways from Week 12 OT win over Cowboys on Thanksgiving
The Las Vegas Raiders looked like they were left for dead after losing their third straight game in Week 11 to the Cincinnati Bengals, 32-13. The hot 5-2 start had dissipated and they suddenly found themselves back to .500.
Controversy had seemingly embroiled the franchise. First, former head coach Jon Gruden resigned amid comments he made that were deemed inappropriate at best. Then, wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was arrested and charged with multiple felonies after killing a woman while driving under the influence. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
Amid all the controversy, it appeared as though the team had packed it in. Anyone who believed that was wrong. The Las Vegas Raiders pulled off a large upset on Thanksgiving, beating the Dallas Cowboys 36-33 in overtime.
— NFL (@NFL) November 26, 2021
Here are the key takeaways for the Raiders from the impressive road win.
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Raiders Takeaways from Week 12 Upset over Cowboys
4. The Raiders are very much alive in the playoff race
With the win Thursday, the Raiders improved to 6-5 on the season. They are only a half game behind the Los Angeles Chargers for the final wild cart spot. But they have their sights set on a bigger prize.
The Raiders are still only one game back of the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West crown. Despite having lost to both the Chargers and Chiefs already this season, if they want to make a run, the opportunity is right in front of them. They will play most of the teams they need to beat to get in.
The Raiders still get to play the Broncos, Chargers and Chiefs once each. Aside from that, they also play the Colts and the Browns. Those two teams are also 6-5 and tied with the Raiders in the current standings. The only non-AFC game remaining is vs the Washington Football Team next week.
So, the road to the playoffs is in front of them.
3. This Raiders team is resilient
After the Jon Gruden resignation in October, it was thought this team might be lost. They answered the bell, winning their next two games. Now that it seemed they had lost all steam and were really to roll over and die, they put forth their most impressive effort of the season in Dallas.
Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and the supporting cast came to play.
2. Las Vegas dodged an injury bullet
Late in the first half, Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller caught a pass over the middle and picked up a chunk play. While being tackled, he knee appeared to buckle underneath him. He lay on the ground visibly in pain as he immediately grabbed at his knee.
— David J. Chao – ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) November 25, 2021
It did not look good for Waller and the Raiders. It was revealed on Friday following an MRI that Waller dodged a bullet. He apparently only suffered a strained IT band in his knee. There is no clear timetable as of yet on when he will return. But the fear of it being season-ending appears to have passed.
That’s great news for Raiders fans and fantasy football fans alike.
1. DeSean Jackson was a great signing
After the Raiders cut Henry Ruggs III following the car accident, it was clear they needed a deep threat. DeSean Jackson had been cut a couple weeks prior by the Los Angeles Rams. He was underutilized and some believed to be over the hill.
Jackson caught a 38-yard pass against the Chiefs in his first game with the Raiders. He was then held catch-less in his 2nd game, but made noise on Thursday.
On their opening possession, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found Jackson on a deep crossing route. Jackson reeled it in, then turned on the after burners and did the rest.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 25, 2021
Jackson finished with three catches for 102 yards receiving and that touchdown. Jackson is not done taking the tops off of defenses in the NFL.
Derek Carr continues to shine and show that he is one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Josh Jacobs is clearly a legit running back. Darren Waller, who received good news on his injury Friday, is an elite tight end. Hunter Renfroe continues to surprise people. The offense is legitimate.
The Raiders defense on the other hand, has looked pretty porous. They could not slow down a Dallas offense without both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Plus, Ezekiel Elliot was hobbled with a knee injury. The Las Vegas offense will have to carry the load if this team has any hopes of making the post season.