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Raiders look like a new team after Josh McDaniels gets fired, shoots down Giants

If you have a team meeting and air your grievances about your head coach, and that coach gets fired shortly afterwards, you better be ready to play on Sunday.

The Las Vegas Raiders looked rejuvenated just days after Josh McDaniels was fired.

The Raiders have cleaned house. They fired their head coach and general manager Dave Ziegler and benched quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, one of the few times you’ll find a team making midseason changes at the three most important spots in a franchise. It worked, for at least a week.

Las Vegas destroyed the New York Giants 30-6. The game was never competitive. The Raiders looked like a team hoping its recently fired and unpopular coach was watching at home.

The Raiders players and reportedly even coaches destroyed McDaniels in what will go down as an infamous team meeting. Their performance on Sunday was a direct message to their fired coach.

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Davante Adams (17) during the team's win over the Giants.  (AP Photo/John Locher)

Raiders are playing very well against Giants

Players who had terrible seasons at McDaniels turned things around. Josh Jacobs had two touchdowns in the first half. Hunter Renfrow, completely forgotten after McDaniels was hired, reemerged with a pair of catches. Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who was passed over by McDaniels a few weeks ago for a start for over-the-hill veteran Brian Hoyer, was very sharp. The Raiders looked like a completely different team.

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A lot of that has to do with the Giants, who are having a terrible follow-up to Brian Daboll’s first season as head coach. It didn’t help that Daniel Jones left the game with a knee injury and Tommy DeVito had to replace him. It’s hard to believe that last week the Giants watched DeVito pass minus-1 yards passing after starting the game midway through the second quarter, put Tyrod Taylor on injured reserve and still didn’t add a better backup option, but that’s What happened.

The Jones injury doesn’t explain why the Giants’ defense was torched. Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell was 9 of 10 for 135 yards in the first half. Jacobs had 85 yards rushing in the first half. He hadn’t scored more than 77 points in a full game all season before Sunday.

The Raiders had not scored more than 21 points in a game all season before Sunday. At halftime they had 24 points. That reflects poorly on the Giants. It’s probably more of an indictment of McDaniels.

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Antonio Pierce takes the first victory

In 2021, the Raiders turned to Rich Bisaccia as their interim coach after firing Jon Gruden under controversial circumstances. Bisaccia led the Raiders to the playoffs. Instead of seeing if he could continue that momentum, Raiders owner Mark Davis needed a brighter, shinier toy and made the horrible decision to hire McDaniels.

That has to be on Davis’ mind as he watches interim coach Antonio Pierce spend the second half of the season. Who knows where the Raiders season will go, but it’s a job interview for Pierce.

The Raiders continued to roll in the second half against the Giants. They took a 27-point lead, and Fox said it was their largest lead in a game since Week 2 of the 2017 season. DeVito eventually completed a pair of passes and the Giants scored to ruin the Raiders’ shutout. But it was still the most dominant performance the Raiders have put together in a long time. It probably wasn’t a coincidence that it happened right after they got rid of a coach who lost the locker room, just as he did during his first stint as head coach with the Denver Broncos more than a decade ago.

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The Raiders are 4-5. It will be difficult for them to make the playoffs, but not impossible. Either way, it looks like they’ll have a lot more fun for the rest of the season.

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