NFL

Gruden exit inspired Raiders to victory against Broncos, says Carr

By Sports Desk October 18, 2021

Jon Gruden's resignation as head coach was used as a catalyst to inspire the Las Vegas Raiders to victory over the Denver Broncos, according to quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders were rocked last week when Gruden stepped down after an investigation revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst.

Gruden apologised for any hurt caused by the messages, which are alleged to have contained racist, homophobic and sexist content.

A tumultuous week for the Raiders ended on a positive note, though, thanks to a 34-24 win over the Broncos on Sunday as they snapped a two-game losing run and improved to 4-2. 

Carr starred in Rich Bisaccia's first game as interim head coach, throwing 341 yards and two touchdowns in completing 18 of 27 passes.

The 30-year-old's passer rating of 134.4 was his highest in almost three years and came at the perfect time for his side. 

"We needed a win bad this week," he said. "Sometimes when you get punched in the gut, it's hard to bounce back. But we were able to do it.

"If anything, what's happened the this heightened our intensity, it heightened our focus. 

"More now than ever, we had to step up and be a voice. There will be a time for all the emotions, but now is not the time. 

"It sucks not hugging 'Gru' after a game like that. Some of the plays we ran, he would have been so fired up, but it is what it is and we need to move forward. 

"For those three hours, it's definitely easier to just focus on football."

Carr's fourth 300-plus passing yard game of the season is the second-most ever of any Raiders player after six games after Rich Gannon, who had five at this stage in 2002.

The Raiders forced four turnovers in defense and committed zero turnovers of their own – the first time that has happened since the 1988 season against the Kansas City Chiefs.

For Bisaccia, it marked a first win in what was his first game as a head coach at any level.

"The best part for me was to be able to get on the grass," he said after the triumph at Empower Field at Mile High. "The worst part for me was figuring out the headset! 

"Once you get on the field and the game goes, a lot of my responsibilities were the same. It's emotional for everybody, right? 

"I think they did a good job. It's a bunch of grown men, handling their emotions throughout the week, putting them in perspective when it was time to go play the game. 

"It's a job for all of us. They seemed to do a really good job with it. We'll see what goes on."

Related items

  • Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history

    Erik ten Hag lauded Ajax's "outstanding achievement" after the high-flying Dutch giants capped their group-stage campaign with more Champions League history.

    Ajax made it six wins from six games in Group C following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over fellow last-16 bound outfit Sporting CP in Amsterdam.

    With the triumph, Ajax became the first Dutch team to win all six of their games in a single Champions League group-stage campaign.

    Ajax also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Ten Hag's men have swept all before them in Europe this season and the Manchester United-linked head coach hailed Ajax.

    "To win one match in the [UEFA] Champions League is difficult enough, but to win six in a row is an outstanding achievement," Ten Hag said.

    "The intensity was good throughout the match this evening. You saw that in the pressure we put on them which led to the second goal by Antony."

    Sebastien Haller broke a Champions League record held by Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland when he gave Ajax the lead against Sporting, matching another feat previously only ever achieved by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Haller took his tally this term to 10 goals in six appearances – making him the quickest player to reach double figures in a Champions League career after Haaland had previously managed to so in seven matches.

    Ivory coast international Haller also became the first player to score in each of his opening six games in the competition.

    Haller is only the second player in Champions League history to score in all six matches of a single group stage after Ronaldo in 2017-18, while the former West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt forward is only the second Ajax player to score 10-plus goals in a single season of the premier club competition following Soren Lerby in 1979-80.

    "There is no secret [to our success]. It’s just a matter of working hard, together. The coach tells us everything we should know. And then we just try to stay focused," Haller told UEFA.com.

    "Of course I didn't expect it [to score ten times in six matches], especially in my first games. The only thing you want to do is perform well, and be in the flow of the game. Ten goals was not in my dreams. So I can be happy and proud today."

    Haller added: "The way we train every day, the way we think; we always want to play well and perform. Even at the end of the game you could see that.

    "We're really happy with the energy and focus we put into the game, and we just hope that the next game will be the same."

  • Ancelotti realistic about Real Madrid's Champions League chances Ancelotti realistic about Real Madrid's Champions League chances

    Carlo Ancelotti is not getting carried away over Real Madrid's Champions League prospects despite Tuesday's 2-0 win at home to Inter sealing top spot in Group D.

    Madrid just needed to avoid a defeat to go through to the knockout phase as group winners, but they ultimately battled to a commendable victory over the Italian champions.

    Toni Kroos netted a glorious first-half opener, before a similarly satisfying Marco Asensio curler wrapped up the win 11 minutes from time.

    As such, Madrid will – theoretically – get a kinder draw than runners-up Inter in the last 16, potentially setting them up nicely to reach the quarter-finals.

    Los Blancos went as far as the last four in 2020-21 following back-to-back round-of-16 eliminations, though Ancelotti is not making any sweeping statements regarding their chances of going deeper into the competition this time around.

    He told reporters: "We have the quality to win LaLiga and the quality to compete in the Champions League.

    "There are no teams with the quality [guaranteed] to win the Champions League, just to compete.

    "There are more intense teams, others with more quality. We are not an intense team in the defensive aspect, but we have a lot of quality, a lot of experience and a lot of commitment."

    Luka Modric made his 100th Champions League appearance on Tuesday, becoming only the ninth player to reach that landmark while at Madrid. Eight of those games came during his time at Tottenham.

    Modric turned in a typically controlling display and completed the full 90 minutes, which was somewhat surprising given the important nature of Sunday's clash with Atletico Madrid.

    There had been calls prior to the weekend win over Real Sociedad for Ancelotti to rotate his midfield more, yet Modric is heading into the derby having played 90 minutes both against La Real and Inter.

    The Croatian is not concerned, however.

    "I feel very good," the 36-year-old told Movistar. "I think you don't have to look at the years, you have to look at what you do on the field. The years are less and less noticeable because players' careers are prolonged.

    "I feel very good, and I feel like I am younger than 30!"

  • Atletico always find new ways to excite me after 10 years – Simeone savours do-or-die victory Atletico always find new ways to excite me after 10 years – Simeone savours do-or-die victory

    Diego Simeone said Atletico Madrid always find new ways to excite him as the Colchoneros boss savoured the team's dramatic progress to the Champions League last 16.

    Atletico prevailed in Tuesday's do-or-die battle away to Porto on matchday six, defeating the Portuguese hosts 3-1 to book their spot in the knockout phase.

    Simeone's Atletico required a victory and hoped Milan failed to beat Liverpool elsewhere in Group B, and the stars aligned for the stuttering LaLiga champions.

    Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa and Rodrigo de Paul scored to earn Atletico victory in a match that saw three players sent off – Yannick Carrasco received his marching orders, while Porto duo Wendell and Marchesin were also dismissed amid chaotic scenes as three goals were scored after the 90th minute.

    Simeone, who has guided Atletico to two LaLiga titles and a pair of Champions League runners-up appearances during his decade-long tenure in the Spanish capital, could not contain his emotions.

    "I've been at this club for 10 years and the team always ends up exciting me in new ways," Atletico head coach Simeone said.

    "The difficulties, the fact that we didn't have three of our four centre-backs, but there are players with few minutes who are still so important to us. Today it was [Sime] Vrsaljko’s turn, we knew he could do his job. [Geoffrey] Kondogbia is the same.

    "The whole team got involved in the game, gave everything, put their hearts into it. We have a goalkeeper who delivered in moments of difficulty. In the second half, if they had scored from that chance, they win.

    "Today was a beautiful day, a great day. The boys from the youth team made it through and I wanted to as well. They gave us the ambition of wanting to make it through. We are going to remember this as one of the classic Champions League matches of our lifetime, against a great team in a tough game. We're similar.

    "The game had everything – sendings off, chances. Football, how beautiful."

    Porto against Atletico was the first ever Champions League game to see as many as three goals scored in the 90th minute (including stoppage time), while the fixture was the first in the premier club competition to have as many as three red cards since 2013.

    Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak said: "It's been an incredible night. I'm very happy with the victory, for the team and the fans. I'm sure many people didn't believe in us but it's in matches like these where we show what a team we really are and that we are such a strong group.

    "You have to keep your head up when you lose and, when things don't go your way, you have to keep playing as if your life depends on it. We can't be at our best throughout the season but you have to keep on going.

    "There's no limit to what we can do and when we have to dig our heels in we do it. I wish we didn't have to suffer so much but this is football: it's not always easy."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.