Playing in cold weather has not been kind to the Raiders in recent years.
They came into Sunday’s game in Cleveland with 11 straight losses in games that kicked off with the temperature below 50 degrees and that’s where the thermometer fell on a brisk first day of November. It was also rainy and windy to create conditions that quarterback Derek Carr called “the worst weather I have ever played in.”
Carr said he’s “been in some locker rooms” where teams beat themselves because of such challenges, but didn’t feel that in the Raiders locker room. Carr said the feeling was that “nothing was stopping us” and head coach Jon Gruden thinks it is because the team didn’t try to ignore the blustery weather.
“We actually made a big deal out of the weather,” Gruden said, via Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We knew the weather was going to be really harsh. We kept talking about how we struggled on the road in bad weather last season against the Jets and Chiefs. We kind of enjoyed it. I think our guys looked forward to the challenge of the weather more than anything. You can’t imagine it. I can’t even explain the wind. It was against everybody today.”
The approach turned out to be the right one. The Raiders took the lead early in the fourth quarter with a Hunter Renfrow touchdown catch that capped a nearly nine-minute drive and then tacked on the final points of a 16-6 win after another long drive resulted in a field goal.
Las Vegas has road games against the Jets and Broncos in the final five weeks of the season, so they may encounter more chilly weather before the year is out. That should be a less daunting task after Sunday’s performance.