3 takeaways from Raiders’ victory over Jets

Three takeaways from the Raiders’ 16-12 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium:

1. Find a way

The Raiders offense struggled as expected against an exceptional Jets defense, particularly in the passing game, but the defense and special teams kept them hanging around long enough to make a play and win the game.

Aidan O’Connell floated a ball to the end zone, and Michael Mayer came down with the first touchdown of his NFL career for the Raiders’ first lead.

It held up, and they claimed their second consecutive win in another example of playing complementary football.

The Jets (4-5) had several chances to open a larger lead, but the defense buckled down in the red zone and kept limiting them to field goals.

Then there were the contributions on special teams, which have become a staple for the Raiders (5-5).

Daniel Carlson made all three field-goal attempts, and DeAndre Carter had a 32-yard punt return to set up a game-tying field goal in the third quarter just after AJ Cole had flipped the field with a 63-yard punt.

The defense basically sealed the game with a late interception by Robert Spillane, who has a team-high three, but still had to knock down a desperation pass in the end zone by Zach Wilson on the final play.

2. Worth the wait

Jacobs nearly had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season last week only to be denied on his final carry when he lost 2 yards.

He didn’t have to wait long to officially reach the mark.

Jacobs had 116 yards on 27 carries against the Jets, including a season-long 40-yard burst. He didn’t have a run of more than 24 yards before Sunday.

The success came despite a reworked offensive line that was made necessary by the absence of standout left tackle Kolton Miller, who has a shoulder injury and missed just the fourth game of his career.

Jermaine Eluemunor moved from right tackle to the left side, and Thayer Munford returned from an injury to man the right side.

It wasn’t always pretty, but it worked.

3. Learning curve

When Antonio Pierce was named interim coach almost two weeks ago, he acknowledged there would be growing pains.

There are so many things on the mind of a head coach during the game, and anyone taking on the role for the first time is going to have to go through a process of managing all those responsibilities.

Pierce was fairly fortunate in his debut, as he didn’t have many decisions to make in a blowout victory.

There were a couple of hiccups Sunday.

Pierce threw a challenge flag on a Jets interception in the first quarter. It did appear that Jordan Whitehead might have briefly lost control of the ball as he went to the ground and the crowd got worked up by a replay shown on the scoreboard.

That prompted Pierce to drop his red flag on the field. But there was a problem.

Coaches are not allowed to challenge turnovers or touchdowns because they are automatically reviewed. The mental lapse cost the Raiders a timeout.

That’s probably not all on Pierce. There has to be communication in the headset letting Pierce know to let the process play out and not to make that error.

There was another questionable decision in the third quarter when the Raiders made a stop on third down to force what should have been a punt, but there was a penalty on the play against the Jets.

Pierce initially decided to accept the penalty, then called the referee over to discuss his options. He still elected to accept the penalty and give the Jets another chance. While the Jets were unlikely to gain the yardage for a first down and did not, too many things can go wrong, such as a penalty or coverage breakdown.

Pierce made a good choice to go for a fourth-and-1 from inside his territory midway through the fourth quarter instead of punting with a 16-12 lead. It was an easy choice based on the math of the situation, but one many coaches are too nervous to make.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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