Raiders defense fared well in first game under Pagano

Oakland Raiders defensive end Denico Autry (96) celebrates after sacking Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Whether it was the change in defensive play-callers, the opportunity to face Paxton Lynch or a matter of just making some plays, the Oakland Raiders are coming off their best defensive performance of the season.

The Raiders had a season-high five sacks, recorded their first interception of the season and limited Denver to 5 for 14 on third down as new play-caller John Pagano’s goal to simplify the defense after taking over from Ken Norton Jr. showed signs of paying dividends.

“The first element is taking the thinking out of the game,” Pagano said Thursday. “We don’t want guys sitting there reading. React to what you see and go. You slow a guy down if a ball is snapped and in that process he’s thinking and looking and he doesn’t know how to react.”

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