For two Bengals, one player and one coach, Sunday's 33-13 win over the Raiders was extra sweet in their return to Oakland.
The most obvious was Hue Jackson. After leading the Raiders to an 8-8 record and finishing one game away from the playoffs in 2011, Jackson was unceremoniously fired before rejoining the Bengals in 2012 and then eventually becoming the Bengals' offensive coordinator in 2014. He called a masterful game on Sunday as the Raiders had no answers for Cincinnati's offense as they built a 33-0 lead going into the fourth quarter.
It was a very satisfying win for Jackson, partly because his unit performed so well, and partly because he got a win over a franchise with as much tradition and history as the Raiders have.
"It’s satisfying to win. Obviously, like I said before, this place will always be special to me because of Al Davis," Jackson said. "Coach Davis was tremendous to me, and gave me an opportunity with this organization. But at the end of the day, I work for the Bengals, and it’s always good to come on the road and win, especially when we haven’t won here. So our guys took care of business, it was a team win.
"There were some emotions there, no question. I’ve experienced a lot of blood, sweat, and tears here in the past. So I remember a lot of the good times and a lot of great people here. The fans were great today, and the players were great today that I knew, so that was really important to me too. At the end of the day, it’s a great, great day to be a Bengal. That’s what it’s truly all about."
While getting a win in Oakland was nice, Sunday was a great showing for the offense after they struggled in the second half of last season. Over the final nine games of the 2014 season, Cincinnati scored more than 30 points just once, so seeing them have 33 through three quarters against the Raiders shows this unit is already significantly better than how they finished off the 2014 season.
However, this was also a great performance for the defense, including defensive tackle Pat Sims. After spending two years with the Raiders, Sims rejoined the Bengals this offseason and was solid in Sunday's win that saw Cincinnati hold Oakland to 63 yards rushing.
Sims was part of that effort, and making a triumphant return to Oakland, his biggest play came on a key 4th-and-1 stop in the first half where Sims helped stuff Latavius Murray on the play:
Raiders went for it on 4th and one from their own 45. Bengals football. https://t.co/ywMWjT1lWv— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) September 13, 2015
Following that stop, Jeremy Hill scored his second touchdown six plays later to give Cincinnati a commanding 17-0 lead. Between that stop and Jackson's gameplan, this was a great day for former Raiders to be Bengals.