Raiders roll past Giants 30-6 to give Antonio Pierce a win in his debut as interim coach

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The smell of cigar smoke wafted beyond the locker room door, and there was no doubt the Raiders were at long last enjoying themselves.

Several players lit up after Las Vegas’ 30-6 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, the latest sign that times have indeed changed following a week of major upheaval.

Josh Jacobs rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, rookie Aidan O’Connell passed for 209 yards and Antonio Pierce won in his debut as Las Vegas’ interim coach.

Maxx Crosby had three of the Raiders’ eight sacks. Las Vegas held the Giants to 275 yards in the Raiders’ largest margin of victory since beating the Denver Broncos 37-12 on Nov. 15, 2020. The Raiders scored nearly as many points in one day on the Giants’ vaunted defense than it allowed in the three previous games combined (34).

“We talked about pride and poise and getting back to being ourselves,” Pierce said. “Everything that’s going on is in front of us, not behind us. The team effort you saw today is what we displayed in practice Thursday and Friday.”.

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Giants quarterback Daniel Jones left one play into the second quarter with a right knee injury. He’ll undergo an MRI on Monday. Tommy DeVito played the rest of the game and passed for 175 yards and a touchdown. Saquon Barkley rushed for 90 yards on 16 carries.

This was the Raiders’ first game since coach Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi and general manager Dave Ziegler were fired early in the week and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was benched.

The result couldn’t have gone much better for the Raiders, who led 24-0 by halftime, which tied for their sixth-largest advantage when not allowing a point.

“It’s a hard situation what happened this week, but I think the guys felt relieved and happy and super joyful that we could perform like this,” O’Connell said. “So it was definitely rocking in the locker room.”.

The team played tight under McDaniels’ rigid control, but there was a noticeable ease in the locker room this week under Pierce, the former Giants linebacker. The question was whether that would translate on the field.

It did, and from the beginning when Las Vegas went down the field and scored on a 17-yard jet sweep by wide receiver Jakobi Meyers.

By halftime, the Raiders (4-5) already had scored a season high in points and Jacobs had already rushed for a season-best 86 yards. Las Vegas’ previous high was 21 points three weeks ago against the New England Patriots, with the final two coming on a safety. The Raiders’ offense ended a nine-game skid without scoring at least 20 points.

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Jacobs, who last season led the NFL in rushing, nearly ended a 13-game streak without a 100-yard performance. He was at 101 yards before losing 3 yards on his final carry.

“The vibe and the energy is just electric right now,” Jacobs said. “This is the most connected I feel like we’ve been as a unit.”.

O’Connell was given the start this week over the ineffective Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer, and Pierce said it would be his job going forward. The QB commonly referred to as AOC completed 16 of 25 passes.

For the Giants, the game couldn’t have gone much worse. They entered last in the league in total, scoring and passing offense.

New York’s offense still hasn’t scored a touchdown in the first quarter, and it didn’t reach the end zone in this game until early in the fourth quarter and then after trailing 27-0.

At 2-7, the Giants already have as many losses as all of last season when they went 9-7-1 and made the playoffs.

“Definitely sucks, but got to be a pro about it,” Barkley said. “Can’t make no excuses. Still got a long season ahead of us, obviously. I’m not happy that we’re 2-7 and with everything that’s going on right now. Get on a flight, rest up, get ready for next week.”.

Interceptions by Amik Robertson and Nate Hobbs led to the final 10 points of the half for the Raiders to all but end any doubt about the outcome. Las Vegas outgained New York 240-108 in the opening 30 minutes.

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“I see what we do when we play cohesive defense on the line and the back seven and everybody don’t quit,” Hobbs said. “If we communicate, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with. I feel like the top 10 in the league for sure.”.

INJURIES.

Raiders RT Thayer Munford (neck) and LBs Divine Deablo (ankle) and Luke Masterson (concussion) did not play. … Las Vegas CB Marcus Peters left with a knee injury. … Giants OTs Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and Evan Neal (ankle) returned after missing time. Thomas hadn’t played since the season opener, and Neal missed the previous two games. Neal, however, left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. … New York CB Adoree’ Jackson suffered a concussion.

UP NEXT.

Giants: The second of a three-game road trip continues against the NFC East-rival Dallas Cowboys next Sunday.

Raiders: Another New York team visits when the Jets arrive for the Sunday night game.

AP NFL: https://apnews.Com/hub/nfl.

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