It was not pretty, but the Las Vegas Raiders got the job done.
Perhaps that is the biggest takeaway from their 16-6 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday: that this team can win ugly.
The Raiders averaged 36 points across their three previous wins this season, but on a day where offensive production was scarce, they still manufactured enough to win.
Daniel Carlson kicked three field goals, Derek Carr threw a touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow at the start of the fourth quarter, and Josh Jacobs ran for a career-high 128 yards. They expertly controlled the clock, possessing the ball for 37:43 compared to 22:17 for the Browns.
The much-maligned defense also held strong, limiting the Browns to just 223 yards of offense, and the team responded with a resilient effort in awful conditions to push their record to 4-3.
Wild, Windy Weather
The weather wreaked havoc all afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium, with 35 mph winds affecting all facets of the game. It rained, snowed, and hailed throughout the contest. It was 49 degrees at kickoff with a wind-chill factor that made it feel like 26.
“You thought when you were going one direction you were with the wind,” said Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden. “But the wind was against everybody.”
It was also a statement win for Carr, who came into the contest with a 2-9 record in his career in games where the temperature dropped below 50 degrees. He only completed 15-of-24 passes for 112 yards, but he ran for 41 yards on six attempts and continued to be a shining leader for the team.
“As we took the field, I felt like nothing was stopping us today,” said Carr after the game. “We have to go win a football game in the worst weather I’ve ever played in in my life. It doesn’t matter what it takes, just find a way to win.”
The Raiders were expecting to get starting offensive tackle Trent Brown back for the game, but before kickoff, the team rushed him to a hospital after an IV mishap resulted in air entering his bloodstream. Brown recently came off the COVID-19 reserve list after testing positive for the virus two weeks ago. He remains in the hospital on Monday, and his status for Week 9 is up in the air.
Third-year defensive tackle Maurice Hurst left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Safety Jeff Heath also failed to return to the game after leaving in the first half with a hip injury.
What Lies Ahead
The Raiders will have nicer weather in Week 9 when they head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers. Their AFC West rivals are coming off of a heartbreaking 31-30 loss to the Denver Broncos and now own a 2-5 record on the year. The Raiders won both of their games against the Chargers in 2019.
The NFL’s mid-season trade deadline also takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. ET. It is wholly possible that the Raiders seek to improve their defense for the stretch run with several impact players on the trade market.
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