Raiders head coach Jon Gruden elected to punt on a fourth-and-eight from the Bengals 33-yard-line with two minutes to play in Sunday’s game and he told reporters after the 17-10 win that he made that choice because he believed in his defense.
It didn’t take long for the defense to pay back that trust. Maxx Crosby sacked Ryan Finley on first down and Trayvon Mullen picked off a pass on second down to seal the victory.
The sack was the fourth of the game for Crosby, who came into the game with 2.5 sacks and a handful of near misses that left Gruden feeling confident that a day like this was coming for the 2019 fourth-round pick.
“We’ve been talking a lot about the factor grade here,” Gruden said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Finally someone will count the sacks and write a nice story about him. He’s been near the quarterback. He’s been hitting the quarterback. He’s been batting balls down from the quarterback and today, he got to the quarterback. . . . He’s gotten stronger, he’s gotten better and he’s got a great future here.”
Sunday’s win was the Raiders’ third straight and it moved their record to 5-1 when playing in Oakland. They’ll be on the road against the Jets next Sunday and more of the same from Crosby would help them continue their push for a playoff spot.