Fearless Raiders Prove They Have the Winning Mentality Required of a Contender

Fourteen years removed from their last playoff appearance and 33 years removed from their last championship, the Oakland Raiders have for quite some time been trying their damnedest to recapture the franchise's glory days.

You may recall that in those days, the Raiders were mean, intimidating and unconventional. And one immortalized phrase from late owner Al Davis truly encapsulated the team's blunt spirit.

"Just win, baby."

This season, with blooming third-year quarterback Derek Carr, second-year stud wide receiver Amari Cooper, stellar young running back Latavius Murray, a balanced and talented offensive line and an exciting defense led by front-seven stars Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, the Raiders are finally in a position to just win, baby.

And in their season opener Sunday in New Orleans, it was that against-the-grain, fearless Al Davis mentality that drove them to a Week 1 victory for the first time in half a decade.

In one of the most hostile road environments in football, the Raiders came back from a 24-10 second-half deficit to beat the Saints, 35-34. They scored touchdowns on each of their three fourth-quarter drives. And most importantly, when essentially presented with the choice of tying or winning the game in the final minute, head coach Jack Del Rio invoked those three words.

Del Rio might not have literally screamed, "Just win, baby" from the Oakland sideline after Raiders receiver Seth Roberts scored to cut New Orleans' lead to one point with 47 seconds on the clock. But by electing to put the game on the line with a two-point conversion attempt rather than settling for a PAT try that likely would have tied the game, Del Rio undoubtedly earned props from the many ghosts of Raiders past.

Of course, the call could have backfired. And had veteran receiver Michael Crabtree failed to pull in a fade from Carr in the left corner of the end zone, the Raiders would have lost b...

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