“It’s the biggest story in the game right now, and that’s what we talk about,” Carr said. “You turn on the TV, that’s on. Personally, I have to keep my mind as focused as I can.”
He tried to focus on football throughout the day – Mayock said he discussed adding a new player with positional coaches, as he normally does. But Mayok said he and Dwayne Joseph, the Raiders’ pro-personnel director, were talking at length about the Gruden news. Mayock, who is white, said he wanted to understand Joseph’s perspective as a black man.
“I just said: ‘DJ, I can’t put myself in your shoes. Help me,'” he said.
By Sunday, the change, however, appeared seamless from the outside. The offense scored on his first two drives, which included a 48-yard strike from Carr to receiver Henry Rugs III. It was the Raiders’ first touchdown in the first quarter of this season.
Olsson, who took over play-calling duties from Gruden, quickly diversified play-calling with offense. Carr finished with 341 yards and two touchdowns, completing nearly 67 percent of his passes without interception. Running back Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake scored fast touchdowns. (Drake also caught a touchdown pass.)
At times, Denver looked like a newly staffed team. Coach Vic Fangio threw two challenge flags – an out-of-bounds touchdown catch by Noah Fant and a 40-yard catch by the Rugs – that were retained. Teddy Bridgewater, the Travelman quarterback, misfired receiver Cortland Sutton on deep shots and was sacked five times while finishing with 334 yards and three touchdowns.
“There are always crazy things going on, especially with the Raiders, but these guys that we have in this building are resilient,” said defensive end Max Crosby, who posted three sacks. “Everyone’s talking about: ‘Oh, what are the Raiders going to do? Is the season over?’ We heard it all.”
Bridgewater connected with a 14-yard touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter, bringing the score to 31-17. On the next drive, a holding penalty supported the attackers near their end field, potentially allocating the Broncos prime field position. But Carr passed a 51-yard pass to Brian Edwards, a ball he caught over his shoulder near the edge. This allowed Las Vegas to kick a 30-yard field goal, making the difference 34-17.