The slogan "Just Win, Baby" has taken on added significance for the Las Vegas Raiders after ugly incidents involving former coach Jon Gruden and former first-round pick Henry Ruggs.
All the Raiders have right now to hang their hats on is their winning record. But they fell to 5-3 on Sunday in 23-16 loss to the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
As usual, Raiders fans came out in droves for the road game and at times out-shouted the home fans. But Las Vegas made key mistakes on the field to suffer its first loss in three games under interim coach Rich Bisaccia.
Gruden resigned on Oct. 11, four days after racist, misogynistic and anti-gay emails he sent over a seven-year span surfaced.
Gruden coached a 20-9 loss to Chicago the day before he quit. He was replaced by special teams coordinator Bisaccia.
On Tuesday, the team released wide receiver Ruggs, who is facing four felony charges after a fiery crash that left a 23-year-old woman and her dog dead.
According to Las Vegas authorities, Ruggs was traveling 156 miles per hour seconds before the crash and had a blood alcohol level twice Nevada’s legal limit. The incident occurred at 3:39 a.m. on Tuesday.
"We’ve all been emotionally impacted by what happened in that particular situation," Bisaccia said before adding that he didn’t think it affected how the Raiders performed.
"I thought you saw it on the field," he said. "We didn’t see any issues with their emotions, or any issues with their resilience or any issues with their effort or any issues with their attitude or their poise or with the way the represented their team today. I thought that was all good."
Giants safety Xavier McKinney, who was teammates with Ruggs at Alabama, said after the game: "It’s an unfortunate event that’s going on right now. My prayers are up for him and his family and the person who passed and their family, too. I don’t really have much comment on it further than that."
Las Vegas owner Mark Davis and quarterback David Carr both appeared to be holding back tears earlier this week when they spoke about the incident.
Said Carr: "We’re dealing with a lot of things this year, that’s for sure. A lot of guys said, ‘What a crazy year.’ I heard that a couple times. I heard, ‘Goodness, man, can we please? Nothing more.’ Not for our own sake, but for the sake of everyone else, for everyone involved."
But there was more. On Friday, it was revealed that cornerback Damon Arnette is being sued by a woman who claims she was injured by him in an October 2020 hit-and-run crash. Arnette, who is on injured reserve, is contesting the lawsuit.
Carr threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a 41-yard touchdown by McKinney, and fumbled on the Raiders’ final drive to seal the defeat.
At least that’s only about football.
"We moved the heck out of the ball," Carr said. "We had things that we wanted and you just can’t turn the ball over. You can’t throw interceptions. That’s why we lost the game. Honestly, at the end of the day, we just need to be better as players. Coaches did a great job, all of those things. I’ve got to be better. This one’s on me."